How to Win Friends and Influence People: The Legacy of Dale Carnegie

November 10, 2018
James Whittaker
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“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”

Dale Carnegie

The two most defining self-help books of the last century are, arguably, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Remarkably, they were released within one year of each other: Carnegie’s in 1936 and Hill’s in 1937. Both dominate ‘best book’ lists and continue to forge lasting legacies around the world, guiding innovators and changemakers from generation to generation.

These two books reinforce the timeless principles of success, complementing each other with practical tips and strategies that can be applied by anyone, irrespective of circumstances, such as:

  • Creating a positive mental attitude
  • Developing ownership over your thoughts and actions
  • Persisting in the face of adversity
  • Converting knowledge to practical means
  • Making the decision to win
  • Learning from failure
  • Harnessing the power of others
  • Being happy with yourself, rather than material possessions; and
  • Modelling the success of those who have achieved what you desire.

Carnegie understood, better than most, how powerful the knowledge of high performers strategies can be in one’s own self-development. Through thousands of hours of purposeful practice, he became a revered orator and began teaching others how they could learn people skills that would create enormous success in business. His lessons catapulted aimless but ambitious people into titans of industry.

Two crucial components of his philosophy were that:

  1. Technical prowess alone is no match for exemplary social and people skills, and
  2. Life’s greatest gifts come from being genuinely interested in other people.

Many of those I interviewed for Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy noted that Carnegie’s book was the other guiding blueprint in their life. Even legendary investor Warren Buffett once stated:

“In my office, you will not see the degree I have from the University of Nebraska, or the master’s degree I have from Columbia University, but you’ll see the certificate I got from the Dale Carnegie course.”

Despite passing away in 1955, Dale Carnegie is regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on personal development, leadership and communication. On 24 November, Carnegie would’ve been 130 years old—you can enjoy some of his most famous quotes below.

May his legacy live on through the ongoing pursuit of our potential and thinking the best of others.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

In case you missed it: ‘The Greatest Lessons and Best Quotes from Napoleon Hill.’

50 famous quotes by Dale Carnegie

  • The royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.
  • Action breeds confidence and courage.
  • If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don’t want to be.
  • An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.
  • Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.
  • Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.
  • All people have fears, but the brave put down their fears and go forward—sometimes to death, but always to victory.
  • If you want to keep happiness, you have to share it.
  • Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
  • Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, for your character is what you are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
  • Cooperate with the inevitable.
  • There is only one way to get the best of an argument—and that is to avoid it.
  • Develop success from failure. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
  • When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.
  • Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.
  • Rule number one: Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
  • Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it. That is the quickest and surest way to conquer fear.
  • Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.
  • Forget yourself; do things for others.
  • Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.
  • Even God doesn’t propose to judge a person until their last days. Why should you and I?
  • Fear is the result of a lack of confidence. A lack of confidence is the result of not knowing what you can do. A lack of knowing what you can do is caused by a lack of experience. A lack of experience is caused by a lack of doing something new.
  • Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.
  • If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done.
  • If you can be kind and considerate for one day, then you can be for another. It won’t cost you a penny in the world. Begin today.
  • Keep busy. It’s the cheapest kind of medicine there is.
  • Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness.
  • It isn’t what you have, who you are, where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.
  • Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.
  • If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
  • Our thoughts make us what we are.
  • People like people who help them like themselves.
  • Start with questions to which the other person will answer ‘Yes.’”
  • People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
  • Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  • Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say ‘You’re wrong.’
  • Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.
  • Take a chance! All life is a chance. The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.
  • Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.
  • The only way to influence the other fellow is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.
  • The successful person will profit from their mistakes and try again in a different way.
  • You can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry.
  • Three-fourths of the people you will meet tomorrow are hungering and thirsting for sympathy. Give it to them and they will love you.
  • Today is our most precious possession. It is our only sure possession.
  • We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.
  • When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: Power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness.
  • You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.
  • You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.
  • Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
  • Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied.
  • Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
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