How to win friends and influence people?

The first time I read the excellent work of how to win friends and influence people by Dale Harbison Carnegie was through a yellowish paperback book owned by now father-in-law. The lessons learned served me well as I embarked on my graduate study. Later, I bought the same book in bilinguals while I stayed in Beijing Hotel in an unforgettable summer.

While I was in Boston, a possibly INTJ friend kindly shared his perspective that the most difficult things to learn is human being. For choosing a major in my tertiary education, I chose STEM (science, technology, engineering and medicine/mathematics) because they are relatively and arguably the least subjective to evaluate in terms of results and contributions.

Later on, I realized that there are many aspects of STEM that are subjected to human factors. For example, the anonymous peer review for publications and funding, while allows freedom for the reviewers to voice up their concerns relatively free, can be unfair to the reviewed.

For established principles, theories, concepts and procedures of STEM, if the answer is A, it will be always A. However, as the fields of STEM evolve, there will always be better ways of doing things.

As I grow older, I discover that I am highly interested to make contributions to humanity with my capacity, not to merely make a living. However, human beings are very complex. If you are nice to them, some of them may take advantages of you or hurt you, regardless if you have prayed that you encounter only nice and considerate people like you.

Perhaps, people who are demanding, rude, hurt us and make our life difficult, cross our life so that we can learn and grow as we continue living a meaningful life.

A beautiful piece of advice that I learned from the Do It Anyway prayer via Mother Teresa and by Dr. Kent M. Keith includes: “People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.”

Be kind with a protective shield. Some people who take advantages of others, have no sense of boundaries. If you are young (associated with lack of experience), old (associated with dementia), lonely, ambitious (ambition can obscure the big picture), kind, empathetic or aspire to contribute to the betterment of others, you can be a more prominent target of exploitation. Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is [1].

Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda

To deal with aggressive people, if necessary, use phrases such as “I’ll get back to you…” or “Let me think about it…” to buy yourself time. Keep a healthy distance, and avoid engagement unless you absolutely have to. In serious situations, set consequences to compel cooperation.

Be thick face for things that matter. Others have no business telling us what we can or cannot achieve because while others may know the odds, they do not know us 100%. Believe in ourselves.

“Don’t take anything personally. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” ~ Miguel Angel Ruiz

The best revenge is living a meaningful, healthy, successful life. We must define our own success.

At work, we must remember to respect others and be professional. Do not reveal too much private selves, because unfortunately many work places still practice zero-sum games, hence it is better to be careful and professional. See: 20150922 lesson.

The best way to earn respect is by being respectful. We earn respect by listening, acknowledging feelings and treating everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you“.

While we will face difficult people, it is important for us not to be difficult people ourselves. Sometimes, we do not realize it. Kind-hearted people without tact may bring harms to others too, so it is important to be tactful and diplomatic.

In a nutshell:

  1. Smile
  2. Remember names and other important details
  3. Do not criticize
  4. Do not complain
  5. Do not argue
  6. Respect others’ opinion: do not say “you are wrong”
  7. Be a good listener: (i) let others talk (ii) encourage others to talk about themselves
  8. Be sympathetic.
  9. Yes, Yes. Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
  10. Give sincere appreciation + praise ~ make others feel important
  11. Let the other person save face.
  12. Care
  13. Arouse in the other person an eager want.
  14. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  15. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
  16. Throw down a challenge.



# the email of this post



[1] grep “20161124 lesson pte” ref2016*/*txt


  1. […] Tonight (20150923), I feel a little hurt because a young man whom I just helped in the morning, complained a minor thing regarding my help. I do not have the obligation to help him, but I did so because he appeared to salvage his irresponsibility (of forgetting his tool of work) by seeking my help. I do not expect gratitude, yet he returns me a complain. It makes me feel unsafe to help him in the future. Again, this is a lesson for me to be kind with a protective shield. […]


  2. […] joys and regrets of those whom we admire. Sometimes, we cannot ask them directly for the sake of being diplomatic or because they have passed away. However, inspiring living things always leave marks. Read between […]


  3. […] Be diplomatic and tactful to win friends and influence people. […]


  4. […] Mother Teresa, for her compassion/agape love and Do It Anyway prayer. […]


  5. […] respond well to both constructive and non-constructive criticisms. […]


  6. […] How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie […]


  7. […] practice how to win friends and influence people. Learn how to persuade so that others think that the ideas (to be nice to us) are […]


  8. […] Do not criticize, do not complain, do not argue […]


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