Book Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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Based on some of the research that I’ve done on book review “etiquette”, books reviewed should be fairly recent and this is far from it. This book was originally written in 1936 and its been edited since. It’s sold over 16 million copies and remains popular still today. I probably shouldn’t start asking for forgiveness for reviewing such an oldie because I anticipate that its probably going to happen again.


What’s it about?

There are no illusion in this book’s title, not like Twilight where you read the blur to get an idea, its a guide on how to have good relationships with people. It provides advice on how to handle people, how to get them to like you, how to change them to your way of thinking and how to change them without being resented for it.

What I like about it?

I like that it address an issue that is often underrated. In his introduction he explains that a survey was conducted in a typical town in USA and the results of the survey showed that adults were interested in health and second thing was other people – how to understand and get along with people. Its interesting to know what people’s priorities were back then, I haven’t done a survey but I wouldn’t think that people in this century value people skills as they should. People skills are often overshadowed by IQ, background, qualifications etc.

Its easy to read and its practical in terms of the advice that’s given.

It offers a great deal of insight about human nature, what makes people tick and why. Its one of those books that after reading a chapter, you think, “oh, maybe that’s why I haven’t been team leader.” or “Perhaps that’s why I’m single?”.

What I don’t like about it?

Its not the type of book that you read but rather one that you study and re-study. So you don’t snuggle up to a book like this and finish it in a day otherwise you’re going to miss a lot of nuggets and insights. You read a chapter, you meditate and come back tomorrow.

The author comes across as an idealist or naive – be nice, be nice, be nice and you’ll get your way. Even after applying this advice some people won’t like you, be changed or think the way you want them to.¬†If you’re negotiating with your boss about your salary or with an investor about equity, I wouldn’t advise that you be “nice” because you’re probably dealing with shrewd individuals who are only looking at the bottom line.

Should an entrepreneur read it?

From an entrepreneurial¬†perspective, it is a worth reading. I’m a firm believer that “People Do Business with People They Like” and knowing when to apply the book’s principles will help you to deal with customers, employees, suppliers and other major relationship.


Nthulane Makgato

Founder and Director

Red Case

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