How to Win Friends and Influence People Book Review

Simplicity: 9/10

Books filled with Jargon, or authors who use complex words trying to impress the reader with their vocabulary does not bode well with me. If I’m reading a book, I want to be able to understand the concepts without having to google a word every two sentences. This book does not do that. You’ll be able to understand the vast majority if not all of the book without issue.

Readability: 8.5/10

Is it enjoyable reading this book? Yes. It’s fast paced, there are many examples and applications which Dale Carnegie does a brilliant job of illustrating. I would roughly estimate 2-3 examples/stories per page, so with around 200 pages you’re getting 400 examples to learn from.  You’re not stuck reading one story for pages on end. You read, learn and you’re onto the next lesson. There’s also a lot of references to historical figures such as Socrates, Shakespeare, and Buddha. A few of the most wisest people this earth has been graced with. Wisdom is timeless, you see the same philosophies pop up of how to be happy and successful throughout time.

Now since the book was published in the 1930’s, some of the concepts you could say are a little outdated, or some of the concepts need to be taught through a more modern application or perspective. Nonetheless the book is timeless where the principles taught in the book can still be applied today and in the future. The book is re-readable as you won’t be able to remember everything. The concepts also do need to be refreshed in your mind once in a while. Furthermore after trying to apply the concepts, you might come back with a new perspective or learn something new from the experience and go back to this book to see where else you can can improve.

Length: 9/10

The book is only 206 pages, which you could get through in 2 weeks, if you read a minimum of 15 pages a day. Reading 15 pages would only take up ten to thirty minutes of your time depending on how fast you read. Not a huge time commitment. Stop browsing social media for ten minutes and read instead, done.

You want to get out of that mental rut, acquire new visions, and discover new ambitions. Then this book is for you. The reason being is that opportunities are limited until you learn how to effectively communicate with people.

No one is magically born with the ability socialize. We learn from our mistakes and then adjust accordingly. Of course there are a couple of naturals out there who just pick it up right away. However there is always room for improvement on how you are as a person, leader and friend.

Dale Carnegie the author of this book failed the first dozen times he spoke publicly too.

This book breaks it down into sections and principles. The first section is Fundamental techniques in dealing with people. I’m going to share my thoughts on the principles and how they’re more guidelines than strict rules you must follow on a daily basis. I’m only going to mention the first 2, the rest you’re going to have to read the book to find out.

Principle #1: Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.

This seems simple enough on paper, but in reality stopping all 3 let alone 1 is really tough to do. It’s like resisting the urge to pet that cute little dog that walks by. You just have to do it.

First we have a story of one of the greatest presidents in The United States of America’s history: Abraham Lincoln.


Lincoln went on to become one of the most loved Presidents ever, and also being the reason slavery was abolished. To be fair I think anyone of us would follow principle #1 if we got challenged to a duel to the death though.

But the same principle applies. If you have something bad to say, just don’t say it. It can only come back to haunt you, or give people an ill impression of you. Constructive Criticism is a great tool, talking bad about someone with the intention to hurt their reputation is not.

To stop complaining is impossible, some people just need to vent and that’s fine. Sometimes your significant other just wants release their anger about life and have you listen to them. That’s fine.

The main point is to try not to waste words on things that ultimately don’t matter. Complain, but then try to find a solution. Criticize, but criticize with good intentions and respectfully.

I mean if I were to get challenged to a duel to defend my honour and most importantly my life, I would be very grateful to get through that affair unscathed. We would all be a little more grateful and a little less hateful.

The main lesson is being respectful and watching what you say to other people in terms of how it can negatively impact them is always a good skill to practice. You won’t necessarily get challenged to a duel, but somewhere down the line you could be going for a job, and something you did 3 years ago could come back to haunt you. You never know.

Principle #2: Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation

Example from the book:

“A member of one of our classes told of a request made by his wife. She and a group of other women in her church were involved in a self-improvement program. She asked her husband to help her by listing six things he believed she could do to help her become a better wife. He reported to the class: “I was surprised by such a request. Frankly, it would have been easy for me to list six things I would like to change about her – my heavens, she could have listed a thousand things she would like to change about me – but I didn’t. I said to her, ‘Let me think about it and give you an answer in the morning.’ The next morning I got up very early and called the florist and had them send six red roses to my wife with a note saying: ‘I can’t think of six things I would like to change about you. I love you the way you are.’ ”

Just a brilliant example of true love, and what honest appreciation can do for someone.  The wife was in tears, and just a simple act of genuine love and sincerity sparked it.

It’s like when your parents friends come over when you were a kid and just called you handsome or beautiful. It was insincere, and you didn’t really feel too good about it.

Principle #2 Example #2:

“A man with 314 employees joined of these courses. For years he had driven and criticized and condemned his employees without stint or discretion. Kindness, words of appreciation and encouragement were aliens to his lips. After studying the principles discussed in this book, this employer sharply altered his enthusiasm, a new spirit of teamwork. Three hundred and fourteen enemies have been turned into 314 friends. As he proudly said in a speech before the class: “When I used to walk through my establishment, no one greeted me. My employees actually looked the other way when they saw me approaching. But now they are all my friends and even the janitor calls me by my first name. ”

Obviously this didn’t happen overnight, but this is a great example of what self awareness can do to someone. Having an open and learning mindset enabled this boss to be aware of his shortcomings and improve upon them. You are never too old to learn something new.

I highly recommend this book, please read it and do yourself a favour.

You can get it on amazon here