Tips to win friends

In the 1970s and ’80s, I read (or at least dipped into) almost every non-fiction book on the best-seller list. And the best-seller list was the first thing I read in Sunday’s paper.
At that time, the list was populated with self-help books—and I ran my life by their suggestions.
Today, I rarely look at the best-seller list. I have the impression that most of the books on it have political themes or give advice on how to make love relationships work. At any rate, the titles rarely draw me in.
As a result, I was pleasantly surprised to see an old classic on this week’s list–a self-help book–“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, which was first published in 1936 and revised in 1981.
“How to Win Friends and Influence People” has sold more than 15 million copies and is popular around the world.
Oddly, though, I’ve never read the book until now. As a young woman, I had the impression that it was superficial and manipulative.
But there must be something genuine about a book that 15 million people find helpful.
Carnegie’s story is an amazing one! Born in 1888, Dale Carnagey was a poor Missouri farm boy—a boy who wanted to get ahead very badly. His hard work and natural talent made it possible.
As a young boy, he had a talent for reciting. And later when he was able to go to college, he practised reciting to his horse as he rode to and from classes each day.
That speaking talent contributed much to his fame, as did his well-known book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” The book was an immediate success and made $125,000 within a few months–a lot of money in 1936.
Always quick to see an opportunity, Dale had changed his name to Carnegie before he published this book, in the hope that some of Andrew Carnegie’s glory would rub off on him. And to take advantage of his new name, he rented Carnegie Hall and spoke to a packed house.
He became such a good motivational speaker that when he died in 1955, The New York Times wrote, “Carnegie found that a silver tongue could be more useful than a silver spoon in winning wealth and fame.”
Contrary to my early perceptions of the book, it turns out that “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is neither superficial nor manipulative.
The book has sound ideas about how to create a satisfying life. Whether you’re a CEO or an ordinary person, the principles are the same.
Everybody wants to be liked, and Carnegie lists six ways to make people like you. Follow these principles and “you’ll be welcome anywhere,” he promises.
1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
2. Smile.
3. Remember people’s names.
4. Be a good listener.
5. Talk about the other person’s interests.
6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely. Always be sincere!
We all know those principles instinctively, but sometimes we forget. It really just comes down to the “Golden Rule”–treat others as you would have them treat you.
Try it this week and enjoy the feeling of being “welcome anywhere.”
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

Posted in Uncategorized