How to Win Friends and Influence People | Study Guide

Dale Carnegie

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How to Win Friends and Influence People | Quotes


Let's realize that criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home.

Part 1, Chapter 1

Carnegie points out the futility of criticizing others because people rarely believe they are incorrect or doing anything wrong. Instead such people are likely to return fire, finding fault with their critics rather than heeding the criticism.


The difference between appreciation and flattery? ... One is sincere and the other insincere.

Part 1, Chapter 2

The author suggests that people crave appreciation, and the reader will benefit by showing generous appreciation to others. However, he cautions, people can see through insincere flattery. Therefore, any praise or compliment given should be true and should come from the heart.


How can I tie up what I want to what he wants?

Part 1, Chapter 3

In an anecdote Carnegie paraphrases a father who can't get his young son to eat. Instead of trying to cajole or force the boy, the man realizes he must make the boy want to eat. He then explains to the boy that eating will help him grow big and strong, thus motivating his son to eat on his own. The story illustrates Carnegie's principle that to make a person do something, you must make them want to do it.


To think rightly is to create ... We become like that on which our hearts are fixed.

Part 2, Chapter 2

As Carnegie discusses the pursuit of happiness, he emphasizes the importance of maintaining a positive attitude. Thoughts create reality, he says, so in focusing on positive actions, results, and personality traits (rather than on possible negative outcomes or faults), people are more likely to create the happy life they want.


Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound.

Part 2, Chapter 3

One of the most overlooked ways to make a person like you, says Carnegie, is simply to learn their name. A person's name is intimately tied up with their identity and ego, and by using their name, you acknowledge the importance of their individual existence. Carnegie also notes that it is simply good manners to learn people's names.


An interesting conversationalist? Why, I had said hardly anything at all ... I had listened intently.

Part 2, Chapter 4

In the context of an anecdote about a conversation with a botanist who talked nonstop, Carnegie asserts one of the easiest ways to become a "good conversationalist" is to stop talking and listen instead. People love to talk about their own interests more than any other subject, he says, so they will enjoy themselves when you listen attentively. Even if you say very little, they will think the conversation is excellent.


I appointed myself as an unsolicited and unwelcome committee of one to correct him.

Part 3, Chapter 1

Carnegie discusses his own mistake in trying to correct another guest during casual conversation at a formal, celebratory banquet. The matter was nothing more than an unimportant bit of trivia, yet Carnegie wanted to show off his knowledge. In hindsight he realizes it was neither the time nor the place to a pick a fight, and he had no good reason for doing so.


You can't win an argument.

Part 3, Chapter 1

Carnegie advises readers to avoid arguments whenever possible because they usually leave at least one party unhappy. Instead he advises finding points of agreement with the other person to build rapport.


There's magic ... in such phrases as: 'I may be wrong. I frequently am.'

Part 3, Chapter 2

Carnegie reminds readers that no person is right all the time. Arguments can be smoothed over by taking a humble stance.


Your opinions have a slap in them for everyone who differs with you.

Part 3, Chapter 2

In an anecdote Carnegie paraphrases an older friend of Benjamin Franklin, relating how the man censured Franklin for his arrogance. Franklin was skilled at winning arguments, Carnegie says, but he was also losing friends. He changed his argumentative ways, though, and became a highly respected diplomat. The moral of the story, Carnegie implies, is that you needn't be rude to get your point across.


A barber lathers a man before he shaves him.

Part 4, Chapter 1

In this chapter Carnegie advises the reader to compliment people before mentioning their mistakes. Much as lather makes a shave smoother, beginning a conversation with sincere praise of the person at fault can help make the situation less tense or painful.


Calling attention to ... mistakes indirectly works wonders with sensitive people who may resent ... direct criticism.

Part 4, Chapter 2

The author calls for tact when pointing out another person's mistakes, especially if that person is sensitive to criticism. Rather than confront the person directly, says Carnegie, it is better to approach the situation indirectly to avoid embarrassing the recipient of the criticism.


Letting one save face! How important, how vitally important that is!

Part 4, Chapter 5

Carnegie emphasizes that to maintain good relations, no one should embarrass a person in front of others. Too often, says the author, people criticize without considering the other person's feelings or sense of pride. He urges readers to be more considerate and to try to understand the other person's point of view.


Always make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Part 4, Chapter 9

People won't always be enthusiastic about assigned tasks or obligations. A good way to handle such a situation is by helping them see the benefits to themselves of doing the task. Then they will more readily, or even willingly, do what needs to be done.


Leadership gravitates to the person who can talk.

A Shortcut to Distinction

In this short biography, writer Lowell Thomas illustrates how Carnegie helped thousands of people through his courses in public speaking. Carnegie was a living example of someone who became a leader through his ability to speak eloquently and helped many others follow in his footsteps to greater success.

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