TO WIN FRIENDS…
AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE!
As a young man,
he threw himself across the bed in his hotel room and wept
in despair. He had no money, no friends, and no hope. At
the young age of twenty-two, his only thoughts were of
suicide. He would later say that’s when the thought came…“There
must be others like me!” So began the career of Dale
that day, Carnegie realized there were countless others who
were lost and alone with no idea how to do better. He
decided to devote his life to answering the question of how
it is we win friends and influence people. He traveled to
the New York City Library and read every single book about
psychology, sociology, human behavior, and sales. He stayed
two months. At the end of that time, he said he knew no
more than he did when he came in - but Carnegie persisted.
He kept looking for answers.
In addition to interviewing countless successful people
and learning how they became so, Carnegie taught classes at
the New York YMCA on public speaking and developing
self-confidence through improving interpersonal skills.
While the interviews certainly gave him information,
teaching the subject taught him even more. Remember
that old line about “We teach what we need to learn?” Never
more true than in Carnegie’s case. Carnegie stumbled onto
deep and powerful truths in our dealings with others. He
wrote them in his signature work, How To Win
Friends and Influence People. If you haven’t read it,
go buy it. Even though written in 1936, like all great
literature, it’s timeless. Might change your life…it is one
of the books that certainly changed mine. Here are his
recommendations to win friends…
Become genuinely interested in other people.
Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and
most important sound in any language.
Be a good listener. Encourage other people to talk
Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
Make the other person feel important and do it
simplistic? For most my early years, I would have certainly
thought so. But now I see the difference between people who
do the things on that list and those who do not. There is a
world of difference. Most times you can recognize the ones
who do ‘cause they drive a really nice car and are doing
well in life. They are happier, make more money, and
experience higher life satisfaction. After all, how many
people do you really like who do the opposite…
Only interest is in
Frown all the time.
Always forget your name and
Only talk about what they are
Make you feel inferior.
Does all that sound
like somebody you really want to sit around the fire with?
What’s all that got to do with you and me? Here’s the
kicker…we all have to live in the world and we all have to
make a living. We’re all selling something. From the rope
horse trainer to the classroom teacher, we are all selling
something. If you do those things on Carnegie’s list,
people want to deal with you. That’s it. Carnegie put
words on paper that show us what people are hungry
for…communion, connection, genuineness, and sincerity.
Some criticized Carnegie saying he just discovered a
way to con people out of their money. I disagree. I think
he discovered a way to win friends and influence people to
learn how to do what he was talking about. That’s what we
all want. To do better. Here’s an example of how not to…
I wanted a new cowboy hat. When I arrived at the chain
western store (who had 1,000 hats) the manager was studying
the computer. After sitting there a full two minutes, he
raises his eyebrows, without looking at me, says, “Help
“I want to buy a hat.”
“What kind of hat?” Didn’t ask me my name, didn’t get
up and shake my hand, didn’t tell me his name, and still
hasn’t looked at me.
“I brought two pictures of hats I like. My budget is
$300 to $500, and I want to see if you can make this
quarter-horse crease for me?”
“Nope,” he said, without looking at the pictures.
“Nope, we don’t have hats with a quarter-horse crease.”
“Can’t you do one from a hat that hasn’t been creased?”
“Nope,” and he goes back to his computer.
Hold that thought - then consider this example of how
I called Standard Hat Works in Waco, Texas. Lenny
answers his own phone.
“Hello, this is Lenny and I can help you.”
“Hi, Lenny, I’m Michael and I want to buy a hat with a
“Nice to meet you on the phone, Michael, and you have
come to the right place. I can fix you a hat.” Then he
“This is Friday and I’m swamped. I’m usually off on
Sunday and Monday, but I appreciate you calling and if you
and your wife want to drive to Waco, I’ll come in on either
Sunday or Monday and we will get you the hat you want –
whatever’s best for you.”
Does it come as a big shock to you that Standard Hat
Works in Waco, Texas sells thousands of hats? I gave Lenny
my money ‘cause he does those things on Carnegie’s list.
Lenny’s hat store does really well, and I’ll bet you
anything Mr. Computer Cowboy over at the chain western store
is seriously complaining about how bad the economy is these
Next time somebody tells you it’s the Japanese,
Chinese, or Koreans destroying the economy, remember… it’s
not them. It’s us.