Paul's Reviews > How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
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Jul 10, 14

Utter dreck! Anyone who thinks this book offers important wise advice on friendship is an idiot.

Dale Carnegie was nothing but a huckstering sophist, and a very repulsive one at that. For those of you who may not know, Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People is a handbook on how to exploit friendship for the sake of financial and political gain. Now fans of this book (why such people are allowed to read, much less vote, I do not know) will say this book helped them overcome their shyness and make real friendships. But Dale Carnegie is not interested in real friendship. His only concern is to exploit friendship for financial and political gain. One need not be Einstein to know this. One need only read all the garish claims on the back of the book (I have an earlier edition than the one usually found in bookstores today) such as, say, "Increase your earning power" "(Carnegie's book will) [m]ake you a better salesman, a better executive." If the book were really about true friendship, as its many lobotomized fans insist, then one would expect the blurbs to claim that the book will make the reader a better friend, not a better salesman. A true friend cares about his friends, but a salesman cares about his profit, and if friendship come between him and his profit, then so much for friendship. Dale Carnegie's groupies are utterly oblivious to his promotion of such shameless exploitation, which is as obvious as a communal bedpan.

And they are also utterly oblivious to historical facts. Had they some historical knowledge, then these sycophants-in-training surely would have read Dale Carnegie's pilpul with slightly less pollyannish gullibility. For instance, if they knew anything about the Age of the Robber Barons, they might have found Dale Carnegie's depiction of Andrew Carnegie as a man truly concerned for the lot of his fellow man a bit hard to stomach.

Sure, Andrew Carnegie smiled a lot and presented a friendly appearance to the press and public, and that was enough for Dale. Dale--like all other sophists, politicians, and prostitutes--cared only for appearances, but underneath the accommodating demeanor of Andrew Carnegie was a heart as hard as the steel his factories forged. Andrew Carnegie would publicly declare his support for rights of the worker and yet let his Manager Frick hire Pinkerton Guards to massacre the union workers. Andrew Carnegie would snatch good PR with his various philanthropies but also poured much of his money into the American Eugenics Movement which managed to get laws passed all over this country that mandated the sterilization of cripples like me. American Eugenics also had a profound influence upon German Eugenics, an influence which one can see documented in the minutes of The Nuremberg Trials. I hope even Carnegie groupies are not that ignorant not to know that influence, however nice, pleasant, and smiling it may be, is bad when it leads to genocide.

Yet, I suspect those who swear by this book will continue to have nothing but admiration for Dale Carnegie, whose sycophantic adulation for the ruthless rich who killed off unionized workers and funded the genocide of the weak should offend, repel, and disgust anyone with even a modicum of human thought and decency. Carnegie fans are idiots.
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Comments (showing 1-43 of 43) (43 new)

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Darren Well said mate! It's kind of scary how many people hold this book in such esteem. What's that? do I hear the multitudes bleating? :-)

Susan Howson Certainly the old version (I have one too) totally blindly worships Lincoln and Carnegie and Franklin and whomever else. American heroes were surely a thing in the 1930s. So was sexism, which was the hardest obstacle for me to get over the first time I read the book. And I definitely agree that it's not truly about winning real friends, but as a practical guide to dealing with difficult people in your everyday life, it's extremely useful. Also, it's important to note that this was written during a time when the most valuable information out there was how to make money so that your family could eat. Just because the chosen title implies that it's more touchy feely, doesn't mean the book pretends to be that way. It's about succeeding in business and not treading water, at least that's the way I read it.

Hopefully no one still believes that Lincoln was infallible, Carnegie was totally concerned with the poor, and women will produce better pot roast if you smile at them before you leave for work.

message 3: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul If Carnegie were so concerned about the poor, he would have not have suggested that the rich can avert strikes simply with smiles.

John Because being a salesman means you worship the devil and eat babies. Its a sin to turn a profit, business is evil, success is selfish, poverty and starvation are a moral ideal! Its self evident! Anyone who disagrees is worse than Hitler!

message 5: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Business is not in itself evil, neither is being a salesman. What is evil is to say, as Dale Carnegie pretty much does, is that everything, even friendship, is a business and the province of salesmanship. With Carnegie even all human relationships become commodities. It's the totalitarianism of commerce, in which the human being has to sell himself always and everywhere, and, yes, that is indeed evil. Dale Carnegie can go fuck himself.

John All relationships ARE business. Good relationships are a trade of value for value, for mutual profit. Bad ones are based on the premise that someone must lose. That the salesman is screwing over the customer, or vice versa. What makes for bad or good personal relationships also makes for bad or good business relationships respectively.

message 7: by Paul (last edited Aug 15, 2012 01:44PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul All relationships are business, even the relationship between, say, a mother and a child. The mother is nurturing an investment, after all, in the hopes of a big pay-off when the child grows up. But what if the child is a cripple, eh? Cripples usually don't promise big pay-offs, right? Well, then I guess it is in the mother's self-interest to kill him according to your twisted, Randian logic. You, sir, are a repulsive piece of shit. Go get something that works quick like, say, the Ebola Virus and die. Short of that, you can go fuck yourself.

John the pay off is that she loves the child regardless, Paul. She values the childs life. The pay off isnt monetary. Sorry If I hurt your Chomsky worshipping feelings.

message 9: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul She loves the child regardless? Regardless of what? Regardless of whether that love is in her self-interest or no, right? Well, that's unlike any business deal, isn't it? One does not, for instance, purchase a share of stock to love it regardless whether it makes you or breaks you. You have just contradicted yourself. Not only are you a repulsive piece of shit, you are a clueless idiot as well. By the way, I do not appreciate a repulsive piece of shit like you addressing me by my first name. It is "Mr. Rhodes" to you, sir. Got that? I hope so.

message 10: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John Mr. Rhodes,
While I still vehemently disagree with your assessment of this book, and indeed much of your apparent political philosophy, you are justified in being extremely angry at me for the way I started this conversation. I was feeling vindictive, and very upset that someone so strongly disliked Mr. Carnegie's work, so I foolishly gave into the hate and decided to troll your post. I regret this decision, as I have obviously incurred the wrath of someone with serious debating chops and deeply held beliefs. If you will forgive me my pathetic immaturity, I would like to continue this debate in a more civilized manner. If not, than I will simply stop commenting on your post altogether.

Mr. Nuttall

message 11: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Fine, Mr. Nutall. And I shall from hereon refrain from hurling scatological invective at you and enjoining you to do perverse acts upon yourself. Deal? If so, then proceed.

message 12: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John deal. however, I must go to sleep, and shall resume in the morning. Have a good night.

message 13: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John On the topic of the Book in question: It provides advice and techniques by which to more effectively communicate with other people, as well as how to make said interactions more pleasant. Yes these techniques can be used to manipulate and exploit people, but they are equally effective in convincing, educating, and helping them.

The author states early on that he had written the book intending it for the latter and that the former would more often than not hurt one's chances for promotion and success. Maybe the book has failed in that mission, and created an army of sycophants and puppet masters, but I doubt it. There are better books for those topics, that state such intent right on the cover (see The Prince or The 48 Laws of Power).

Your thoughts?

message 14: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John I was not aware that Andrew Carnegie was really that brutal. I will read up more on that and his fellow industrialists. I had heard that there were serious fights between the labor and the companies, but i was not aware that they hired mercenaries.

Cristea Half wit

message 16: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul If you gave this book five stars, you have no wit at all.

message 17: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Mr. Nuttall, I apologize for the lateness of this response. Carnegie constantly says that this method should be used sincerely and not for cynical manipulation. Therefore, for Dale Carnegie what distinguishes the virtuous use of his method from the vicious is sincerity. One must be sincerely interested in what one's interlocutor has to say, one must sincerely make him feel important, etc. Without sincerity Carnegie's method collapses into nothing but unctuous flattery. But sincerity prevents this. Okay, so, the question is then: What does Dale Carnegie mean by sincerity? He gives us a big clue as to what he means in his notorious chapter on the importance of the smile.

Everyone really likes a smile. So, smiling is indispensable to winning friends and gaining influence. But no one likes an insincere grin. In fact, he says, people resent it. Therefore, if the smile is going to do all that it can do, it is crucial that it be sincere. But what if you just don't feel like smiling, Carnegie asks? His answer? Force yourself to smile, and because your smile must be sincere, you must also force sincerity as well. It should be obvious that what Carnegie understands as sincerity is nothing more than what most people would regard as good acting. Acting is, of course, a species of manipulation.

It is, therefore, really difficult to understand Carnegie's distinction between the virtuous use of his method and cynical manipulation as anything but illusory. For, obviously, if the virtuous use need only appear virtuous by an actor's skill, it is as much a result of manipulation as the vicious use of Carnegie's method. My critique of Carnegie stands.

message 18: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John Very well. Thank you for taking the time to respond, I do appreciate it.

message 19: by André (last edited Nov 03, 2012 03:36PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

André @ paul + john
I do appreciate controversial opinions as discussed here.

I would like to add my 2 cents. What carnegie is saying is that your communication does have an effect on the other side. You cannot not communicate. If you want to sincerely be an asshole to other people, be it. But be ready for an likewise reaction. Carnegie emphasizes our creative part in any relationship. As you sow, so you shall reap. Period.

You always manipulate other people, but be aware of the ambiguity of the word "manipulation" !
Manipulation itself is neither good nor bad, it just means that you are influencing, that you are creating.
People who accept their responsibility (their power of their response[-bility]) Can use communication as an uplifting process to create beautiful and appreciative relationships. In my humble opinion that is what I interpret in the message of Carnegie: You alway influence others, but how will you ? with construcitve or destructive words, acts and thoughts ?

Just look how John used Carnegies principle of apology to bring about peace in this discussion. Is it nothing worth ?

In communication not only what is said , but how it is received is important.

And concerning that so-called sincerity :
Acting involves the part of pretending. But that very point makes the difference. If you pretend to be appreciative and interested in the other person, people will recognize, because your actions are incongruent. The difference between sincere and insincere appreciation etc. is that you are convinced that you do create relationships. Yes, sometimes you feel lets say angry because of the other person, and acting all nice whilst being angry is such an incongruent behaviour. But Carnegie never said anything like "pretend to be appreciative while not" he said : Be sincerely appreciative, that means in thought, word, feeling and deed.

But I do agree the book is not free of criticism. I do not like that caregie calls his book a manual to win friends. By nature it is rather a guide to be a good salesperson. That is one point of big misunderstanding Carnegie is evoking. Because in his examples people almost always want to make money or profit. That's not what friendships and family are about, but his overstressing of sale could lead the reader to that , as far as I am concerned, false premise.

But then,
People who don't consider the thought, that a salesperson, representative or what ever wants to sell you something are a bit naive in my terms. So why not advising salespeople to sell friendly, instead of assy ?

I rather buy from someone who is sympathetic as from someone who is trying to be over-convincing. Do you not ?

message 20: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Oh, yes, I prefer it when the clerk ringing me up is friendly precisely because I'd rather not think that the only reason he is having anything to do with me is because I am giving him money. Carnegie's sophistry allows us to forget the uglier realities of Capitalism. Indeed, Carnegiesm is the philosophy of pimps.

message 21: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul And while Carnegie never said, "You should pretend to be appreciative even though you are not," he does indeed counsel a forced smile when you do not feel like smiling. So, yes, Dale Carnegie does, in fact, counsel the use of pretense in human relations. Carnegie is a disgusting sophist, and you, sir, should be ashamed for having defended such demonstrable garbage.

message 22: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Und, bitte, wir sind einander fremd. Daher ist es nicht am Platz für Sie mich bei meinem Vornamen anzureden. Ich bitte Sie also, wenn Sie mich anreden wünschen, nur meinen Nachnamen zu benutzen. Ich bedanke mich.

André You sir, are logged in as Paul, neither do I know you forename nor your last name. I just called you by the nickname you chose other people to see. No more no less.
Don't be upset that people interact with those information about you you give them.

My post was a matter-of-fact post and should be unterstood that way, I never talked about Capitalism or my position to it, that is just you interpretation.

There is nothing I should, especially not being ashamed because of your misinterpretation of my words.

But it is your right to think that way and because i think my words are spoken clearly you will understand them if you would like to - or not.

As far as I can evaluate, I disagree with your points and your world view atteched to it. I think we should end the discussion here before it gets clouded with too much personal idiology and involvment.

message 24: by Paul (last edited Nov 18, 2013 09:49AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul You have read this thread, Sir, and in this thread I stated my surname and made it clear that I wish to be addressed by it.

I never claimed that you said anything about Capitalism.

I rebutted your claim that Carnegie does not advocate the use of pretense. You have failed to provide a counter-argument to support your claim and refute mine, but, then again, you are defending Carnegie, the man who has open disdain for argument. Disdain for argument is contempt for the human intellect, and there is a name for this. It is idiocy. You, Sir, are defending idiocy. No wonder you have no counter-argument.

message 25: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul And, by the way, my full name is clearly readable atop my review. So, if you do not know my last name, you simply cannot read that well.

message 26: by Rizki (new)

Rizki Hakim I read carnegie's book once, as well as David lieberman's. I have to agree to Mr. Paul that I, too, feel disgust about principles in winning human's heart. That experience subconsciously alters my behavior so that I will not be inclined into manipulating everyone, and my attitude so that I loathe every attempt, even the slightest, of manipulation. I recall having a class in senior high school advising us to be proactive, smiling, etc. totally rubbish and made me want to puke. For those who love it, maybe we are on the different boat; just like Republicans and Democrats.

So, Mr. Paul, is there any book you recommend to satiate our appetite of sincerity, truth, and love ?

message 27: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Pride and Prejudice, King Lear, Crime and Punishment

message 28: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul The book is basically about how to manipulate others. Carnegie's warnings that his methods should be used sincerely are hollow when what he means by sincerity is nothing more than acting, which is a form of deception, which is the exact opposite of sincerity.

message 29: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul You're an idiot.

Regina Your name calling makes you what you are arguing against. It's really not necessary; and I say that in the gentlest manner because it has been a fault of mine. It is also one of things the book warns against. If you want your ideas to be most persuasive don't name call. It won't win you friend figuratively or literally.

message 31: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Carnegie's book is a denunciation of argument. Argument is the soul of reason. Therefore, by denouncing argument, Carnegie denounces reason as well. If you want to denounce that which distinguishes you from a total and complete idiot, then fine, but then you've made yourself an idiot and therefore deserve to be called one.

message 32: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Also, I don't want an idiot like you to be my friend. Anyone who takes Dale Carnegie seriously on the matter of friendship does not understand what friendship really is, anyway.

Lauren Sorry to chime in with a comment totally worthless to the argument at hand, but this made me laugh so very hard "And I shall from hereon refrain from hurling scatological invective at you and enjoining you to do perverse acts upon yourself. " Absolutely made my day.

Maxim A lot of different opinions in here. Why would any human being dzcriticize others, even judge them, condemning to be idiots, only because others think differently. This is the root of all our problems on the globe.

You're free people and can choose between expressing yourselves and your point of view with criticism and condemns or without, amicably, not blaming-criticizing-condemning with much better changes to be heard and understood.

But yet you choose the first, destructive way of expressing yourselves. Maybe it's hight time we changed it.

message 35: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Please, learn how to spell properly. Please.

Maxim I'm Russian. But at least I can speak your language. Why wouldn't respect this fact?

Maxim Paul. I did it for you. I've fixed my spelling. I'm sorry for inconveniences. Was watching a TV show. Here is it:

"A lot of different opinions in here. Why would any human being criticize others, even judge them, condemn to be idiots, only because others think differently. This is the root of all our problems on the globe.

You're a free person and can choose between expressing yourself and your point of view with criticism and condemnation or without, amicably, not blaming-criticizing-condemning with much better chances to be heard and understood.

Yet you choose the first, destructive way of expressing yourself. Maybe it's hight time we changed it."

message 38: by Timo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Timo Reichert I'm sorry for you Paul. It seems that you actually didn't read it at all.

I don't want to get into a discussion with you. So i make this short. From your reviews and book I get that you're religious, catholic to be specific. I think this is one of the worst religions. Why? Because people stop thinking for them selves and seek help only through praying and shit. Also, the church fleeced humanity in the past. "Pray for your sins, pay gold and you will be forgotten"

Still, you may say that the church still does good stuff for people and you're right.

Now you may ask yourself, why am I pointing that out for you? Well, it's easy. As much as you can use carnages methods for manipulating people, it can also be used for good and for which it was supposed to be for: how to win friends.

Let me give you one quick example. One of the most annoying things which always happen with some people is that they always interrupt my talking. I actually did that too in the past, but since I know how annoying it is, I can control it.

message 39: by Timo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Timo Reichert and btw Paul, wanna know what I think? Actually, I don't care if you want to know.

I think, you envy people who use the methods of carnegie, because you can't bring yourself to be nice to people. You're a bitter grumply old men who get's pissed of because people call you by your nickname PAUL, because there is no other name on your page. Good Job!

Also, you insult people, who are trying to discuss nicely with you, and call them idiot. When they are making another step towards you, by fixing their grammar mistakes, you ignore them. Good job, Paul. That's NOT how you make friends.

message 40: by Paul (last edited Sep 20, 2014 06:46PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul A method that employs fabricated sincerity is called acting. It can be put to good uses. On stage and on screen. That's it. Everywhere else it's simply deceit.

If you need Carnegie to tell you that interrupting is rude, well, yeah, there is no nice way to say this, you're an idiot.

message 41: by Timo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Timo Reichert Paul wrote: "A method that employs fabricated sincerity is called acting. It can be put to good uses. On stage and on screen. That's it. Everywhere else it's simply deceit.

If you need Carnegie to tell you..."

You like to call other people idiots, eh?


message 42: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Well, if you act like one...

message 43: by Timo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Timo Reichert Paul wrote: "Well, if you act like one..." If you link noticing and calling you out for being a d*ck to other people, then maybe I'm an Idiot in your world.

Also, you don't know me or any other guy who rated this book good. Still you're prejudiced about us. That's actually very sad.

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