As I was writing this summary of How To Win Friends and Influence People, I made a note of all the great Dale Carnegie quotes from the book.

Dale Carnegie’s work still resonates to this day because he had understanding how people really worked. His books are about acknowledging human nature, then working with it, not against it.

Here are 10 of the best Dale Carnegie quotes:

#1 On the reality of human nature:

When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.

#2 On the importance of dealing with emotions:

If a man’s heart is rankling with discord and ill feeling toward you, you can’t win him to your way of thinking with all the logic in Christendom.

#3 Recognizing how our egos affect our relationships:

The unvarnished truth is that almost all the people you meet feel themselves superior to you in some way, and a sure way to their hearts is to let them realize in some subtle way that you recognize their importance, and recognize it sincerely.

#4 Why needing to “be right” is often a waste of time:

Better give your path to a dog than be bitten by him in contesting for the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the bite.

#5 On the importance of alignment (and the futility of nagging):

The only way to influence people is to talk in terms of what the other person wants.

#6 On the softening effect of compliments:

Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work with Novocain . The patient still gets a drilling, but the Novocain is pain-killing.

#7 The impact of reputations:

Praise the traits you want the other person to develop. Give them an expectation to live up to. Show them the reputation they should strive to keep.

#8 On our need for acknowledgement and validation:

Sympathy: the human species universally craves. The child eagerly displays his injury; or even inflicts a cut or bruise.

#9 Seek to change behavior, not reasoning:

Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will , we can indirectly regulate the feeling , which is not.

#10 Matching the bait to the animal:

Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?” Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?

Summary: See human nature for what it is, then work with it, not against it

As I was reading Dale Carnegie’s work, I could see that he was a first principles thinker.

Carnegie built his teachings off a base understanding of human nature, seeing it for what it is without judgment, then acting accordingly.

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