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Book Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People

Juvaughn Mahabeer
Juvaughn MahabeerPublished on May 19, 2022
“Carnegie changed my life.”– Warren Buffet

1. The Author’s backstory.

Dale Carnegie was born on a farm in Maryville, Missouri, and he grew up southeast of Maryville in a place called Bedison. As a young man, he would help on the farm before and after school.

He also enjoyed speaking in public and joined his high school's debate team. Later he attended State Teacher's College in Warrensburg, graduating in 1908. Donna Dale was his only child, which he had from his second marriage.

He passed away from Hodgkin's disease on November 1, 1955, at his home in Forest Hills, New York.

2. Why did the author write the book? 

The author started to teach a workshop on developing social skills at his local community center due to a need he saw in his community.

One day a reporter visited one of his classes and told him that his content was excellent and that he should consider formulating it into a book; thus, the idea of this book came into being.

3. What is the Author's thesis?

The author's thesis is developing better relationships, by first developing oneself. 

4. What is the Author's purpose?

I believed the author's purpose was to give his readers the 'How to’ to build stronger relationships.

5. What were two arguments the Author used in defense of his thesis?


Chapter two in the book describes the idea that people crave a feeling of importance in their lives and that this feeling is so strong within all of us that some people actually go insane if they are deprived of it.

He made this point by suggesting that as we listen intently to others and then give people that feeling of importance, they will grow to adore us.


Chapter four talks about listening and how it is a skill that few in this world master. But to those who master it, it opens up a world of opportunity in building relations and influencing people.

This argument, I thought, was the most well-handled because he gave many personal experiences from his life that added to his point.

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6. What was the Author's conclusion?

The author didn't give a conclusion. The last chapter of the book just gave ideas on making people happy to do what you want them to do.

I would say, though, that an overarching theme among all the chapters was the idea of giving people a sense of importance, and by doing so, they would come to like you.

For example, if a cashier is helping you, genuinely compliment her on something you think she is doing very well.

This will foster goodwill and appreciation, which will create a good feeling whenever they think back to you and that experience.

7. What is my conclusion about the book? 

I can hardly imagine a better book out there that can lay out the specifics of human nature as well as this book has.

The principles in this book cannot be internalized and become part of our natures overnight. It will require much revisiting and constant practice to develop mastery over them.


I gathered many great lessons, some of which were:

(1) How to quell an argument.

(2) How to change the heart of someone who was offended or dissatisfied with a service that you rendered.

(3) How to make people cooperate with you.

(4) How to help others see things from your perspective.

(5) How to grab the attention of people you are trying to persuade.

This book has all you need to make the best first impression with those you are meeting for the first time.


A strength was that when he shared a topic, he reinforced the idea with many stories, either from his past or from the past of noteworthy people.

The stories kept me from becoming bored while reading and the scientific side of my brain wanted to practice what I was learning because of the many real-world references.

Another strength of this book was that the arguments stuck with the thesis right through till the end.

Often I think books introduce themselves to give a certain content, but there would be multiple tangents from the main thesis throughout. This book I found, however, did not stray.

Each argument was also quite clear, which was good because it didn't leave room for alternate interpretations.


The only weakness that I found was that the book ended without giving a summary of the most effective ideas in the form of a conclusion.


I believe the intended audience for this book is everyone, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity.

He shared universal ways to gain, grow, and improve relationships that would apply to a large portion of the population.


The book's overall readability was good; it didn't feel like reading a school textbook.

The many stories kept me engaged throughout the chapters, making it easier for me to get into the state of flow. Chapters would be over before I knew it.

I thought his writing style and the layout of the book were very effective in keeping my attention and making me want to practice the ideas afterward.

This book was quite effective in getting me on the path to improving my social relations.


By reading this book, I am 50% more likely to approach and talk to someone new.

When I continued to reread sections, my motivation continued to increase towards building social and professional relationships.

Thus, I found myself being happy when I came in contact with someone new to now practice the things that I had just learned.

For these reasons and many more, it continues to sell millions of copies worldwide each year and is described as a 'Timeless Classic.'

I would give this book a rating of 4.5/5.

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