3 rules from Dale Carnegie for dealing with people

This is mostly a transcript of a short presentation I gave in San Diego in September. Many people told me, it really made big impact on them so I decided to share it here on my blog.


Dale Carnegie is an american writer, lecturer and developer of different famous courses about self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. He is also the author of “How to win friends and influence people” – a massive bestseller first published almost 80 years ago that remains popular today.

Most of the things he wrote about back then are still valid today and improving the way we interact with other people means we would be better in both our personal and our professional lives. In this post I’m going to share 3 of his rules with you.

Benjamin Franklin, tactless in his youth, became so diplomatic, so adroit at handling people, that he was made American Ambassador to France. The secret of his success? “I will speak ill of no man,” he said, ” … and speak all the good I know of everybody.” And he’s right. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

Instead of wasting our time in getting better at condemning and demotivating people, it’s much better to try to UNDERSTAND them. To try and figure out WHY they do what they do. That’s A LOT more profitable and intriguing than criticism. Which leads us to our first rule…

1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.

Sigmund Freud said that everything you and I do springs from two motives: the sex urge and the desire to be great. John Dewey, one of America’s most profound philosophers, phrased it a bit differently. Dr. Dewey said that the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important.” This desire made Rockefeller amass millions that he never spent! And this same desire made the richest family in your town build a house far too large for its requirements. This desire makes you want to wear the latest styles, drive the latest cars, and talk about your brilliant children.

If you tell me how you get your feeling of importance, I’ll tell you what you are. That determines your character. That is the most significant thing about you.

Emerson said: “Every man I meet is my superior in some way, In that, I learn of him.”

If that was true of Emerson, isn’t it likely to be a thousand times more true of you and me? Let’s cease thinking of our accomplishments, our wants. Let’s try to figure out the other person’s good points. Then forget flattery. Give honest, sincere appreciation. Rule number two – be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise:

2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.

When Dale was five years old, his father bought him a little yellow-haired pup for fifty cents. He was the light and joy of his childhood. Every afternoon about four-thirty, he would sit in the front yard with his beautiful eyes staring steadfastly at the path, and as soon as he heard Dale’s voice or saw him swinging my dinner bag, Tippy was off like a shot, racing breathlessly up the hill to greet him with leaps of joy and barks of sheer ecstasy. Tippy was his constant companion for five years. Then one tragic night Tippy was killed within ten feet of Dale’s head, killed by a lightning. Tippy’s death was the tragedy of his boyhood.

Tippy never read a book on psychology. He didn’t need to. He knew by some divine instinct that you can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Let me repeat that. You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Which bring us to rule number 3…

3. Become genuinely interested in other people.

So my challenge to you is to try and pick at least one of the rules to keep in mind during your next interaction with strangers and enjoy the benefits!

P.S. A bonus quote from Dale:

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

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