How To Win Friends And Influence People is the 1936 best seller that sparked the self-improvement book revolution and continues to enjoy wide readership by successful people because of the insights it has to offer. The thing is about self-improvement books—they’re very easily summarised into point form most of the time. So that you can digest a whole book, in fact several whole books in this one short article. And, so that you waste even less time and can get on with being a productive, successful, loving and charismatic person, we’ve removed any points from these books that overlap. The books that we have summarised are: How To Win Friends And Influence People, The Art Of War, Self-Improvement 101 and Mindful Relationships.

How To Win Friends And Influence People (Dale Carnegie, 1936) summary

This book promises to increase your popularity, clarity of thought, power, earning power and amiability. Here are the main points:

How to handle people:

  1. Don’t criticise, condemn or complain. This doesn’t work well in getting them to do what you want.
  2. Give honest appreciation.
  3. Arouse a want in others.

How to make people like you:

  1. Be genuinely interested in others.
  2. Smile.
  3. Use their name. It is the sweetest word to a any person’s ear.
  4. Encourage others to talk about themselves and listen attentively.
  5. Talk about the other person’s interests.
  6. Make them feel important.

How to make people agree with you:

  1. The only way to win an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Respect other’s opinions. Never say “You’re wrong”.
  3. If you’re wrong, admit it immediately and apologetically.
  4. Begin in a friendly manner.
  5. Start by asking questions to which the other person will say yes.
  6. Let them talk more and quite a lot.
  7. Make them feel that it is their idea, not yours.
  8. Earnestly try to see from their perspective.
  9. Express sympathy with their ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives that they try to uphold. E.g. if they are manly, convince them that it would be courageous to do so.
  11. Dramatise your ideas. Make them interesting, emotion-stirring.
  12. Challenge people.

How to be a leader (without causing offence or resentment):

  1. Begin with praise and expressions of appreciation.
  2. Point out mistakes subtly, indirectly and privately.
  3. Note your own mistakes before noting another’s
  4. Substitute orders for suggestions and questions.
  5. Don’t insult a person’s pride and dignity.
  6. Praise every improvement.
  7. Give a person a reputation to live up to.
  8. An easily correctable fault is more motivating than a momentous goal.
  9. Frame your desires in terms of theirs. Make them happy to do what you suggest.

How to have a happier home life:

  1. Don’t nag.
  2. Don’t be controlling.
  3. Don’t criticise.
  4. Give heartfelt appreciation.
  5. Pay attention to the little things.
  6. Be polite.
  7. Read a good book on the sexual side of marriage.

The Art Of War (Sun Tzu, 5th Century)

A book on the theory of winning a military battle that has been inexhaustibly applied to business, politics and other areas.

  1. Calculate your chances of victory accurately before making a decision.
  2. Win decisive battles quickly in order to limit the costs of the conflict. Try to win as quickly as possible.
  3. Strength is in unity, not numbers.
  4. Defend existing gains until winning future gains can be mustered.
  5. Attack the enemy’s weaknesses at any point in time. You must attack them swiftly before the weakness is amended.
  6. Avoid direct conflict if possible.
  7. Be flexible in defence.
  8. Deception is the essence of all warfare.
  9. Don’t act out of anger or tradition, but out of tactics
  10. The central idea: “Your your enemy and know yourself”

Self Improvement 101 (John Maxwell, 2009)

A widely acclaimed collection of tips on how to grow and reach your full potential.

  1. You have to give up something in order to gain something. You must accept the price you pay for growth.
  2. You must accept change. This is a fundamental part of growth.
  3. Failure should be embraced as a learning opportunity.
  4. Growth is a decision that you must consciously make and abide by.
  5. Choose your path in life to grow towards consciously.
  6. Start towards it right now.
  7. Self-develop, not self-fulfil.
  8. Stay hungry for more growth.
  9. Be ‘teachable’.
  10. Apply what you learn.
  11. Learning is a lifelong pursuit.
  12. Don’t let pride get in the way of learning something. Humbly accept that you do not know everything already.
  13. Listen more than you talk.
  14. Ask questions even if it will expose your ignorance.
  15. Don’t get defensive when criticised.

Mindful Relationships (Dr Richard Chambers & Margie Ulbrick, 2016)

Applying ‘mindfulness’ (awareness of oneself, others and environment) to relationships. An application of positive psychology (the psychology of a fulfilling life) to romantic relationships.

  1. This book works best when both you and your partner read it.
  2. Mindfulness involves not focussing on anything, especially a problem or situation in life, but letting your thoughts flow freely over what is in the present.
  3. Be aware of your partner as a person, not just an object of desire, of company, of financial gain, etc.
  4. Don’t argue; if you can’t discuss, agree to have some alone time.
  5. Don’t dwell on issues and arguments when alone, don’t try to resolve the problem in your head. Reason rarely gets it out if you are emotional about it. Just try to do something else and divert your attention.
  6. Be mindful all the time if you want to be more mindful when you most need it (i.e. in bed).
  7. Set times when you are committed to your partner and not distracted by the possibility of work. Be mindful of your quality time in these times on your calendar.
  8. Practice meditation for 5min+ per day if possible. This has numerous scientifically-proven benefits including relaxation and it greatly assists in everyday mindfulness.

Concluding Remarks

That was a long list of things to remember, so I recommend printing this list out, sticking it on the fridge and referring to it frequently. Also, for more info on each point, I recommend reading the actual books. They are well worth it and elaborate extensively on each of these 70 life-changing insights.

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