Review: “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

Book Review
Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Reviewer: Bobby Powers

My Thoughts: 10 of 10
This book deserves a place of prominence on the shelf of every aspiring leader. Carnegie is a master of communication who can teach you how to inspire your co-workers with grace and positive speech. This book completely redefined the way I look at leadership, and Carnegie’s writing has had a similar impact on numerous friends of mine as well. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better book on leadership and communication skills.

Eminem How to Win Friends

Takeaways from the Book

Praise > Criticism

  • “Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.”
  • Lincoln “had learned by bitter experience that sharp criticisms and rebukes almost invariably end in futility.”
  • “I will speak ill of no man…and speak all the good I know of everybody.” -Benjamin Franklin
  • “Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do.”
  • “I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.” -Charles Schwab
  • “In our interpersonal relations we should never forget that all our associates are human beings and hunger for appreciation. It is the legal tender that all souls enjoy.”

Leading with Influence

  • “The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”
  • “Tomorrow you may want to persuade somebody to do something. Before you speak, pause and ask yourself: ‘How can I make this person want to do it?’”
  • “When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”

The Power of Listening and Showing Interest in Others

  • “If you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.”
  • “We are interested in others when they are interested in us.” -Publilius Syrus
  • “It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”
  • “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” -Henry Ford
  • “You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
  • “To know all is to forgive all.”
  • “I judge people by their own principles—not by my own.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “You deserve very little credit for being what you are—and remember, the people who come to you irritated, bigoted, unreasoning, deserve very little discredit for being what they are.”

Impressive Acts of Leadership

  • “Charles Schwab was passing through one of his steel mills one day at noon when he came across some of his employees smoking. Immediately above their heads was a sign that said ‘No Smoking.’ Did Schwab point to the sign and say, ‘Can’t you read?’ Oh, no not Schwab. He walked over to the men, handed each one a cigar, and said, ‘I’ll appreciate it, boys, if you will smoke these on the outside.’ They knew that he knew that they had broken a rule—and they admired him because he said nothing about it and gave them a little present and made them feel important. Couldn’t keep from loving a man like that, could you?”
  • “General Robert E. Lee once spoke to the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, in the most glowing terms about a certain officer under his command. Another officer in attendance was astonished. ‘General,’ he said, ‘do you not know that the man of whom you speak so highly is one of your bitterest enemies who misses no opportunity to malign you?’ ‘Yes,’ replied General Lee, ‘but the president asked my opinion of him; he did not ask for his opinion of me.’
  • “The reason why rivers and seas receive the homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them. Thus they are able to reign over all the mountain streams. So the sage, wishing to be above men, putteth himself below them; wishing to be before them, he putteth himself behind them. Thus, though his place be above men, they do not feel his weight; though his place be before them, they do not count it an injury.” -Lao-tse

Michael Scott Fear or Love

Other Insights

  • “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Leadership gravitates to the person who can talk.”
  • “When two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary.”
  • “About 15 percent of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering—to personality and the ability to lead people.”
  • “It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.”
  • “All men have fears, but the brave put down their fears and go forward, sometimes to death, but always to victory.” -Motto of the King’s Guard in Ancient Greece
  • “Why prove to a man he is wrong? Is that going to make him like you? Why not let him save his face? He didn’t ask for your opinion. He didn’t want it. Why argue with him? Always avoid the acute angle.”
  • “A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.” -Carlyle
  • “Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable; it often stimulates the creativity of the persons whom you ask. People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.”

Carnegie’s Instructions on How to Lead

  • Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  • Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  • Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  • Ask questions instead of giving orders.
  • Let the other person save face.
  • Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.
  • Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  • Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  • Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Think you’d like this book? Purchase it from Amazon:

Other books you may enjoy:
Crucial Conversations from Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen

Other notable books by the author:
The Art of Public Speaking
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

Review: “Made to Stick”

Book Review
Book: Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Reviewer: Bobby Powers

My Thoughts: 10 of 10
This is arguably the best business book I’ve ever read. Chip and Dan Heath provide powerful stories, relevant examples, and instructional workshops that teach how to craft better messages for your audience. It’s one of the best books out there for marketers, teachers, and just about anyone who wants to get an idea into the minds of others. 

Takeaways from the Book


  • “If you have to tell someone the same thing ten times, the idea probably wasn’t very well designed. No urban legend has to be repeated ten times.”
  • “A successful defense lawyer says, ‘If you argue ten points, even if each is a good point, when they get back to the jury room they won’t remember any.’ To strip down an idea to its core, we must be masters of exclusion. We must relentlessly prioritize…Proverbs are the ideal. We must create ideas that are both simple and profound.”
  • “When you say three things, you say nothing. When your remote control has fifty buttons, you can’t change the channel anymore.”
  • “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • “People are tempted to tell you everything, with perfect accuracy right up front, when they should be giving you just enough info to be useful, then a little more, then a little more.”
  • “Analogies make it possible to understand a compact message because they invoke concepts that you already know.”



  • “We can engage people’s curiosity over a long period of time by systematically ‘opening gaps’ in their knowledge—and then filling those gaps.”
  • “Mysteries are powerful because they create a need for closure.”
  • “If you want your ideas to be stickier, you’ve got to break someone’s guessing machine and then fix it.”
  • Gap Theory = “The goal is not to summarize; it’s to make you care about knowing something, and then to tell you what you want to know.”


  • “Mission statements, synergies, strategies, visions—they are often ambiguous to the point of being meaningless. Naturally sticky ideas are full of concrete images…because our brains are wired to remember concrete data.”
  • “Abstraction makes it harder to understand an idea and to remember it. It also makes it harder to coordinate our activities with others, who may interpret the abstraction in very different ways.”
  • “Concreteness is a way of mobilizing and focusing your brain.” (Example: Name as many white things as possible in 15 seconds. Okay, great. How big is your list? Now try the test again, but name as many white things as possible that are located in a refrigerator. Easier, right? That concreteness helps your brain narrow in on a smaller, more manageable assignment.)


  • “The takeaway is that it can be the honesty and trustworthiness of our sources, not their status, that allows them to act as authorities. Sometimes antiauthorities are even better than authorities.” (Example: A lifelong smoker with emphysema can be a powerful “antiauthority” for a non-smoking campaign.)
  • “The use of vivid details is one way to create internal credibility—to weave sources of credibility into the idea itself. Another way is to use statistics…Statistics are rarely meaningful in and of themselves. Statistics will, and should, almost always be used to illustrate a relationship. It’s more important for people to remember the relationship than the number.”


  • “Research shows that people are more likely to make a charitable gift to a single needy individual than to an entire impoverished region. We are hired to feel things for people, not for abstractions.”
  • “The goal of making messages ‘emotional’ is to make people care. Feelings inspire people to act.”
  • “[John] Caples says companies often emphasize features when they should be emphasizing benefits. ‘The most frequent reason for unsuccessful advertising is advertisers who are so full of their own accomplishments (the world’s best seed!) that they forget to tell us why we should buy (the world’s best lawn!).’


  • “Mental practice alone—sitting quietly, without moving, and picturing yourself performing a task successfully from start to finish—improves performance significantly…Overall, mental practice alone produced about two thirds of the benefits of actual physical practice.”
  • Three basic plots compose the majority of amazing stories: 1) The Challenge Plot 2) The Connection Plot 3) The Creativity Plot
  • “The problem is that when you hit listeners between the eyes they respond by fighting back. The way you deliver a message to them is a cue to how they should react. If you make an argument, you’re implicitly asking them to evaluate your argument—judge it, debate it, criticize it—and then argue back, at least in their minds. But with a story, Denning argues, you engage the audience—you are involving people with the idea, asking them to participate with you.”
  • “Stories focus people on potential solutions. Telling stories with visible goals and barriers shifts the audience into a problem-solving mode.”


The Enemy: The “Curse of Knowledge”

  • “Once you know something, it’s hard to imagine not knowing it. And that, in turn, makes it harder for you to communicate clearly to a novice.”
  • “One of the worst things about knowing a lot, or having access to a lot of information, is that we’re tempted to share it all.”
  • “When a CEO urges her team to ‘unlock shareholder value,’ that challenge means something vivid to her. As in the Tappers and Listeners game, there’s a song playing in her head that the employees can’t hear. What does ‘unlocking shareholder value’ mean for how I treat this particular customer? What does being the ‘highest-quality producer’ mean for my negotiation with this difficult vendor?”

Think you’d like this book? Purchase it from Amazon:

Other books you may enjoy:
Contagious by Jonah Berger
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Other notable books by the authors:
Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard