How to win friends and influence people in the digital age is one of the best books that will help you to grow to be extremely influential. Anyone who is willing to read a bit between the lines can see that there is power in Carnegie's insights, a power that can be used to advance yourself regardless of what your aims are. In that sense, Carnegie's book can come across as something far more sinister than '48 Laws of Power,' and furthermore far more actionable. So, here is the full summary of Dale Carnegie's, "How to win friends and influence people in the digital age"
Part 1 - How to Influence People
Principle 1 - Don't criticise, condemn or complain
Carnegie gives several examples of criminals and rotten politicians who, when faced with criticism or complaints, would start justifying their actions or complain that what they did was completely out of their control.
The Alpha male, as a leader, wants people to do his own bidding, and unless a tactical constructive criticism will help him achieve his goal, he refrains from criticism; he knows that for the most part, criticism will just trigger off defensive shields and actually obstruct his influnce over his underlings.
Principle 2 - Give honest and sincere appreciation
Carnegie then gives several examples, where a well-timed compliment or a sincere attitude of gratitude towards someone helped influence their behaviour. He claims that everyone wants to feel important, and then gives several examples where a person's behaviour became more subservient simply because they felt important. He gives an example of a shit-test given to a man by his wife that was solved by a short, unexpected appreciation of her; He gives an example of a lazy employee who eventually became hard working through the use of strategic praise; He also gives examples of several famous businessmen whose main ability was inspiring people to be proudly working long hard slave-like hours for the sake of the company.
Principle 3 - Arouse in the other person an eager want
In this chapter Carnegie explains that in order to get people to do what you want, you have to give them something that they think they want.
As a metaphor, Carnegie says that when you go fishing, you want the fish to bite the hook; they will not do that unless there are worms on the hook. To hook people you need to think along the same lines. But it is necessary to bait the hook to suit the fish. Carnegie gives several examples where conflicts where resolved by the one party reframing the solution as a win-win for both parties involved.
This involves some thought as to what the other person wants, which means putting your own wants on pause for a moment or two. Furthermore, people will often be willing to do something for you when you ask for it indirectly by framing the solution into a win for them. For example, an employee may get a job he wants by placing emphasis on the benefits to the company concerned of his employment, and by downplaying his own need for a job.
Part 2 - How to Make Friends
Principle 1 - Become genuinely interested in other people
Carnegie gives several examples of how people gained success by knowing other people. The key to knowing people is ask them stupid questions about them to indicate some level of interest in who they are as human beings.
If you move from the 'I' mentality in conversations, where everything revolves around what you want, and move to the 'Tell me about yourself' mode, you are more likely to build real, helpful relationships. You don't have to suck up to people, simply being courteous, getting to know people's names, and inquiring into one or two small things in their lives is enough.
Principle 2 - Smile
Carnegie gives a rhetorical argument to say that acting happy makes you happy, and that happy people attract people to them like a magnet. Carnegie claims that happiness breeds success. When you smile, and make someone else happy, they will tend to be more closer to you because you make them feel a certain way.
I'm not going into detail into what Carnegie says, but rather I'd like to point out some of the more modern research into this field:
Subjects that are asked to engage in positive affect (eg smiling) are reported to score better on happiness/well-being scores
Patients receiving botox injections and thus cannot smile are reported to experience lower scores on happiness/well-being
Patients with paralysing spine injuries to the extent that they cannot express happiness in their body language also report lower scores
Basically, there is reasonably good evidence that happiness causes happy behaviour, and vice-versa. You can make yourself happy by acting happy.
Principle 3 - Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
Carnegie gives several examples where remembering a person's name or giving a person's name recognition helped someone out with a goal. The Alpha male remembers everyone's name, because he never knows who might be useful to him in the long run.
Principle 4 - Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Carnegie suggests that you are not half as interesting as you think you are, because people in general are too self-absorbed, and
sometimes it's better to just indulge their self-absorption.
The Alpha male, when it suits him, indulges others by listening to their rambles.
Principle 5 - Talk in terms of the other person's interests
Carnegie gives several examples where people went indirect in getting what they want. They rambled on to build interest and eventually their marks gave them what they would never have received if they had asked directly.
Principle 6 - Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely
The key phrase in this chapter relates to how everyone is better than you in some aspect: whether it's something they know, access to something you want, etc.
Part 3 - How To Win People To Your Way Of Thinking
Principle 1 - You can't win an argument
"... I have listened to, engaged in, and watched the effect of thousands of arguments. As a result of all this, I have come to the conclusion that there is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument - and that is to avoid it... Nine times out of ten, an argument ends with the contestants more firmly convinced than ever that he is absolutely right... A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." - Carnegie
Carnegie gives several examples where by refusing to engage an opponent in argument can actually get you what you want.
The Alpha male is too busy winning to waste time on winning arguments. He knows that winning and winning an argument are two different things and if conceding an argument will get him what he wants, then why not?
Principle 2 - Show respect for the other person's opinion. Never say, "You're wrong."
The gist of this chapter is captured in these quotes:
"Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
And things unknown proposed as things forgot."
"Be wiser than other people if you can, but do not tell them so."
"Our first reaction to most of other people's statements is to evaluate or judge rather than understand."
Carnegie presents examples and reasoning to show that if you are trying to prove someone wrong, you only arouse opposition to your ideas. It's often easier to initially concede, get the other person to say 'yes' to a point you two both agree with, and then take it from there. The effect is disarming, and once the other's feelings are released then they are more reasonable to a matter that they may have been angry about.
Carnegie gives a verbal set-piece for diffusing any argument: "I may be wrong, I frequently am. But let's examine the facts..."
The Alpha male is too busy winning to be bothered about winning arguments. He knows that the average person wants to be full of himself. The Alpha male, in trying to win an argument, will happily deploy 'I may be wrong, I frequently am. But let's examine the facts...' because he knows that winning the overall struggle is more important than some petty argument. He uses the line 'I may be wrong, I frequently am. But let's examine the facts...' as a way of establishing common ground, getting the other person to say yes, and can sometimes bring the other person to his own views by guiding the other person's reasoning, as opposed to ramming his opinions down his opponents ears!
Principle 3 - If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
Carnegie gives several examples where potentially disastrous mishaps were emotionally defused by people admitting their mistakes.
The Alpha male is too busy winning the war to be bothered by the outcomes of minor battles. Furthermore, his pride comes from the things he stands for and the dreams he is aspiring too, not from petty day-to-day victories. If the Alpha male makes a mistake, he's not going to stubbornly refuse to admit it; for the sake of the goal, he will admit the mistake, rectify it, learn from it, and come out far stronger than those who always avoid admitting a mistake.
Principle 4 - Begin in a friendly way
Carnegie gives several examples of conflicts that were resolved by someone starting off by being friendly and agreeable.
The Alpha male knows that some fights he will win through diplomacy, and other through aggression. He knows that opening with aggression will remove the possibility of diplomacy. Therefore the Alpha male always opens an argument by being diplomatic, and if that fails, he then moves on to aggression. In other words, he first goes indirect, and if that fails, he goes direct (please compare this Principle 5 of Part 2 above).
Principle 5 - Get the other person saying 'Yes, yes' immediately
This chapter is a remix of Principle 5 of Part 2 (Talk in terms of the other person's interests).
Basically Carnegie argues that it's better to start an argument by talking about what both parties agree on. Once their is common ground, it's easier to find a mutually amicable solution. Basically, try to throw a question at your opponent to which your opponent must say 'Yes' to. For example, if you have an unhappy client, first start off by identifying the clients needs by asking simple questions that you know the client will say 'yes' to. This builds rapport. Once your opponent says no, psychologically he'll erect a barrier that will prevent you from winning.
The Alpha male softens his target by getting his target to confirm something obvious or by bringing him in onto common ground. This indirect approach will never lose a potential victory, and the Alpha male can always switch to a direct aggressive method when necessary.
Principle 6 - Let the other person do a great deal of the talking
Carnegie reiterates Principle 4 of Part 2 (Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.) However, this time around he puts slight emphasis on getting to know other peoples wants and needs. You will not know what other people want from you as a friend or a supplier or a service providor or as a leader if you are not willing from time to time to let people ramble on.
The Alpha male does not just assume he knows his enemy. He keeps his secrets to himself while letting others spill theirs into his ears.
Principle 7 - Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers
This is somewhat a logical continuation of the previous principle. Carnegie suggests the following: To get someone to do something you want, plant the idea casually in his head, and eventually he'll think it was his idea in the first place and do it. Basically sometimes the key to controlling people is to hand over the glory to them.
"The reason why rivers and seas receive the homage of a hundred streams is that they keep below them."
The Alpha male controls his superiors by letting the glory shine on them. As his superiors rise, he rises with them. The Alpha male understands that sometimes he needs to trade glory and recognition for power.
Principle 8 - Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view
Carnegie explains how difficult it is to win an argument if you do not understand the reasons why your opponent is taking the contrary view.
The Alpha male understands the value of Rapport. He cannot build rapport without putting himself in his opponent's shoes, without asking his opponent his reasons for opposition, without synching with his thoughts. Once the rapport is built, he can sometimes win arguments through charm only. If charm fails, then the big guns can always be pulled out later.
Principle 9 - Be sympathetic with the other person's ideals and desires
This chapter builds on the themes raised up to this point in the book.
Carnegie claims that you can stop any argument by saying, "I don't blame you for feeling as you do. If I were you, I would probably feel just the same." Allegedly, most people are craving for some sympathy - give them some sympathy, and they will struggle to continue being hostile towards you. You need to be above fools who want to argue for the sake of arguing. It is also fun hacking people into liking you, and more fruitful than condascending to argue with them. Carnegie also gives an example of President Taft giving a woman a polite smackdown after she tried to manipulate her political connections to get her underqualified son a job.
The Alpha male has at this point two set-pieces for diffusing arguements:
"I may be wrong, I frequently am. But let's examine the facts..."
"I don't blame you for feeling as you do. If I were you, I'd probably feel the same way..."
Principle 10 - Appeal to the nobler motives
When no information can be secured about your opponent, the only sound basis on which to proceed is to assume that he or she is sincere, honest, truthful and willing and anxious to do the right thing. People are for the most part honest and want to discharge their obligations. The exceptions to the rule are comparatively few, and most individuals will react favourably if you appeal to their honesty, uprightness, and fairness.
The Alpha male will sometimes hustle by appealing to his opponent's nobler side. People want to feel that they're good people, and may be willing to pay for the priviledge of feeling that way, whether it be by paying you or acquiescing to you.
Principle 11 - Dramatize your ideas
"Merely stating the truth isn't enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship."
The Alpha male knows that a good idea is useless without good marketing.
Principle 12 - Throw down a challenge
'The way to get things done is to stimulate competition... in the desire to excel... I have never found that pay and pay alone would bring together or hold good people. I think it was the game itself... This is what every successful person loves: the game. The chance for self-expression. The chance to prove his or her worth, to excel,
to win... The desire for a feeling of importance.'
Carnegie discusses how 'people of spirit' respond to the desire to be excellent. These kinds of people respond best to a challenge.
The Alpha male calibrates his approach to those under him according to their way of thinking. When he recognises someone to whom money nor avoidance of punishment is an incentive, he will consider appealing to every person's innate desire to be recognised for excellence.
Part 4 - Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment.
Principle 1 - If you must find fault, begin with praise and honest appreciation
'A barber must lather before he shaves... Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work with Novocaine...'
Carnegie discusses several historical examples of diplomatic criticism that were first framed in face-saving praise. This got the criticiser what he wanted without any hard feeling on the part of the criticised party.
The Alpha male has a kingly manner. He recognises both good and ill in his subjects. His praise for his subject's good points paves the way for his kingly commands.
Principle 2 - How to Criticize: Call Attention to People's Mistakes Indirectly
Carnegie suggests that your criticism should be indirect. He doesn't explain himself very clearly in this chapter, though. In fact, the whole book from this point on feels like Carnegie running out of steam.
Carnegie suggests that with criticism, substitute all your 'but's with 'and's. The reasoning is simple enough: from the previous chapter, we know that we should begin praise. Therefore, the temptation would be to follow this pattern: Praise... but... criticism. Eg. Roosh, you are a great writer, but you need to stop hating on feminists all the time.
The pattern you should follow is: Praise... and... criticism. Eg. Roosh, you are a great writer, and I think you would be able to make awesome write-ups of a wide ariety of topics, not just on feminism!
The Alpha male, when faced with the need to criticise, will go indirect (although he always reserves the right to go direct should the indirect method fail). He first oftens up his target with praise, then says 'and,' then phrases his criticism to encourage the behaviour he would like to see from his underling/colleague/boss.
Principle 3 - Talk about your own mistakes before criticising the other person
Carnegie seems to struggle to explain himself here, but the gist of this chapter is that in order to build rapport with the person you are criticising, talk about your own istakes that are related to the issues you are criticising. A typical sentence of this type would start off with, "When I was your age, I too struggled with..." or "When I was at your level of experience, I too thought that..." This softens up your target, builds rapport, and gives them a clear growth pathway.
When the Alpha Male identifies patterns of behaviour or work errors in his underlings, will soften up his target by saying, "When I was in your position, I too had problems with..."
Principle 4 - Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
Carnegie suggests that no one likes to take orders, and that indirectly giving an order by phrasing your order as a question is a better way of doing things. For example, "Move your car!" can be changed to, "Don't you think your car might obstruct traffic if you leave it there?" Carnegie gives examples where by going direct with orders, resentment was stirred.
The Alpha male knows that by starting with a direct order, he will potentially earn resentment in those that would have gladly obeyed him if he had gone indirect. He knows that he can always come down with an iron fist should the indirect method fail, but he can never go indirect with someone once he has gone direct.
Principle 5: Let the other person save face
'Even if we are right and the other person is definitely wrong, we only destroy ego by causing someone to lose face. We have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what you think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.'
Carnegie gives a few examples to show that being hard or insulting to someone, even when they are in the wrong, brings no benefit to either party; Whereas even a slight bit of positive or polite sentiment can bring about a better working relationship between the two parties. Examples given: Fire a person politely and considerately, in case you might need to hire him again in future; First rule out inexperience and other confounding factors before you call someone stupid or lazy.
The Alpha Male is too busy winning the game of life to waste time pushing other people down into losing.
Principle 6 - Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement
Carnegie starts off by mentioning that the best proffessional animal trainers train their animals exclusively through positive reinforcement, by rewarding the specific behaviour they want. Carnegie then explains that people also respond to positive reinforcement, and that praise can thus be used to make people's abilities 'blossom under encouragement.'
The Alpha male treats underlings (and his bosses) the same way he treats his pets - by rewarding those behaviours in others which are of most utility to himself.
Principle 7 - Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
Carnegie suggests that you will get out of people what you expect out of them. If you consistently suggest to someone that they are capable of excellence, that person will end up striving to excellence. A good example that Carnegie gives: "Bill, you are a fine mechanic. We've had a number of compliments about the work you've done. Yet of late, your work has not been up to your old standards. Because you have been an outstanding mechanic in the past, let's jointly find some way to correct the problem."
The Alpha male recognises brainwashing as a tool in his arsenal. Just as people can be brainwashed by advertising to buy stupid products, just as men can be brainwashed that women are special, even so someone that may be a stupid fool of a worker can be brainwashed into believing he can achieve something - and then ends up being a more useful worker.
Principle 8 - Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
This chapter is a remix of of principle 6 - Praise the slightest improvement, with a special emphasis of avoiding criticism and encouraging learning in those who are attempting to master a new skill. Carnegie gives examples where people give up on learning something new because they are shot down, and how the same people end up mastering their subject when encouraged to do so, and when the challenges are simplified.
The Alpha male does not tear people down. The Alpha male pays it forward.
Principle 9 - Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest
This chapter begins with a remix of principle 7 of part 2 - 'Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.' Carnegie then explains how trivial rewards can improve the productivity of your workers. "Napoleon created the Legion of Honor and distributed 15,000 crosses to his soldiers and made eighteen of his generals "Marshals of France" and called his troops the "Grand Army." Napoleon was criticised for giving 'toys' to war-hardened veterans, and Napoleon replied, "Men are ruled by toys." The technique of giving titles and authority worked for Napoleon and it will work for you."
Like the wise father ruling his household, the Alpha male distributes trinkets to his children as a sign of recognition.
Carnegie then gives off on a tangent with a check list on how to accomplish the goal of 'Making the other person happy about what you suggest.
1: Do not promise anything you cannot deliver, but promise some benefits to the person you are targeting
2: Define exactly what the other person needs to do
3: Have empathy, be aware of what your target wants
4: Explain the benefits to your target, of doing what you suggest
5: Explain how these benefits match your targets wants
6: Make your request in a form that will convey to your target that it's your target who will benefit
Carnegie then gives an important caveat, applicable to everything up to that point in the book:
It is naive to believe you will always get a favourable reaction from other person when you use these approaches, but experience has shown that you are more likely to change attitudes when using these principles. And even if you only improve your success rate by 10%, that still makes you a 10% more effective leader
Part 5 - Letters that Produced Miraculous Results
Carnegie talks about how to open a letter. This was probably a far more important skill in his day, but probably will still be useful in our age of emails.
Basically, Carnegie advocates an elderly opener. Always ask for help, like a confused old person who needs a strong young hand to help him out. For networking, ask for business advice: "I'm here to ask you a favour, can you spare me a minute? I've come to ask you what you think about..." When travelling, use this opener: "I wonderif you would mind helping me out of a little difficulty. Won't you please tell me how to get to
such-and-such place?" Whenever you're not sure what opener to use, use this opener: "I wonder if you'll help me out of a little difficulty?"
Wether for business or pleasure, the Alpha male is a master of the elderly opener.
Part 6 - Seven Rules for Making Your Home Life Happier
In this part, Carnegie gives advice on how to have a happy marriage. I will not summarise it in detail, because the advice given is more appropriate for a marriage market where there is an artificial shortage of men due to world war one. The rules are also basic and self explanatory:
Rule 1 - don't nag
Rule 2 - don't try to change your partner
Rule 3 - don't criticise
Rule 4 - give honest appreciation
Rule 5 - pay little attentions
Rule 6 - be courteous
Rule 7 - read a good book on the sexual side of marriage
Carnegie then gives some rules specific for husbands on how to treat a wife. These rules are quite beta so I will not go into them - they probably worked well in his day and age, but I doubt advice such as, "Give her money to spend as she chooses" would be of any benefit in modern long term relationships.
That said, the advice he gives to wives and how to treat their husbands can serve as a useful checklist in what qualities to look for if you are considering marriage:
- Does she give you complete freedim in your business affairs, and does she refrain from criticising your associates, your secretary, and the hours you keep?
- Does she try her best to make your home interesting and attractive?
- Does she vary the household menu so the you never quite know what to expect when you sit down for dinner?
- Does she have an intelligent grasp of your business so that she can discuss it with you helpfully?
- Can she meet financial reverses bravel, cheefully, without citicising you for your mistakes or comparing you unfavourably with more successful men?