The question of how to make friends and influence people is one of the most vital and popular topics which we as human beings have explored over time. Aristotle famously wrote that ‘man is a political animal,’ that we are always acting with certain desires and ends in mind, and trying to achieve what he described as a level of ‘excellence’ or ‘virtue’ in our lives.
Some philosophers, such as the notorious Niccolo Machiavelli, have argued that the second half of that equation – the power to influence people – is the more important of the two, as Machiavelli himself famously argued in The Prince that it is better to be feared but respected rather than loved but vulnerable.
Others, such as Immanuel Kant, have argued precisely the opposite, that no person should be used as simply a means to an end, or for the sake of greater power and influence.
The English poet John Donne famously and nobly wrote that ‘No man is an island…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.’
So what is the balance between friendship and influence? Do they always have to be separate? How can we navigate the in’s and out’s of human interaction to achieve the degree of personal and professional success for which we strive?
In 1936 Dale Carnegie, published one of the more popular 20th century guides on the subject for mass consumption, titled How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Whether you are a sensitive, Donne – esque wallflower looking to reach out and find new friends, or a more Machiavellian climber of the corporate ladder looking to get ahead and gain power, Carnegie’s book can help provide you with some helpful tips.
The book How to Win Friends and Influence People has gone through different editions since it was first published all the way back in 1936; we’ll be using a mix of the original 1936 text as well as other editions which followed.
In some instances, we’ll touch on the additions and omissions between editions, and speculate as to why these changes might’ve been made, and what they could mean for you as you strive towards interpersonal success.
Finally, we’ll suggest some ways in which you might build off of Carnegie’s ideas for the 21st century – a sort of guide to how to Make Friends and Influencing People 2.0.
So, without further ado, here is a quick guide to Dale Carnegie’s ideas on How to Make Friends and Influence People, and how you can apply them in your everyday life…