HN Books @HNBooksMonth

The best books of Hacker News.

Hacker News Comments on
How to Win Friends & Influence People

Dale Carnegie · 20 HN comments
HN Books has aggregated all Hacker News stories and comments that mention "How to Win Friends & Influence People" by Dale Carnegie.
View on Amazon [↗]
HN Books may receive an affiliate commission when you make purchases on sites after clicking through links on this page.
Amazon Summary
You can go after the job you want—and get it! You can take the job you have—and improve it! You can take any situation—and make it work for you! Dale Carnegie’s rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, How to Win Friends & Influence People will teach you: -Six ways to make people like you -Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking -Nine ways to change people without arousing resentment And much more! Achieve your maximum potential—a must-read for the twenty-first century with more than 15 million copies sold!
HN Books Rankings
  • Ranked #27 all time · view

Hacker News Stories and Comments

All the comments and stories posted to Hacker News that reference this book.
The absolute best advice I’ve ever read comes from the book: How to win friends and influence people [0]

The title is dorky, and suggests a topic that’s completely unrelated to OPs original question. But the answers are in there, written brilliantly, and is especially effective for people who like to

>> ...launch into a logical argument with them right there and then.

Personally, that book changed how I’ve approached such situations dramatically. I can not recommend this book strongly enough.


I also heartily recommend that book: it is fantastic.

But in regards to “negative comments” one challenge is what to do when faced with a situation where you sincerely believe something is harmful if not strongly countered?

For example yesterday on HN there was a post about online dating, and a number of comments espoused an idea I viscerally believe is actively harmful: that you should strive for some idea of “good communication skills” that facilitate reading strangers’ body language in public and determining how to make an advance for dating.

Now, I really believe this is harmful advice: it leads to actually hurting people in the form of perpetuating social norms that bother people in public and put them in unwanted, uncomfortable positions, and cause impressionable readers to believe this is not just OK, but even healthy.

In a case like this, I am still at a loss of how to apply the sincere listening and positivity approaches of How To Win Friends... because there’s an overriding moral implication that the statements have to be visibly refuted and challenged, not to “win an argument” not to persuade the original author, but to leave a visible marker for impressionable readers about the serious danger embedded in what’s written, to spell it out clearly and not leave it to chance interpretations.

> that you should strive

I think that terms like "should" or "ought" are toxic. I can try to express ideas in an objective way with limited assumption, starting with how I present the ideas. Typically, I have found the substitution of "I think" puts my thoughts in perspective. This has led to a few times where arguments felt genuinely fruitful.

That is an extreme view. It means all types of advocacy are toxic.
That is demonstrably incorrect. My first post advocates for benefits that might be found in a discussion without using specific verbiage.
That seems like a semantic distinction only. Extolling the benefits of something is not advocacy, at least not how I understand the term advocacy. Advocacy means representing a normative view of what ought to be the case, and suggesting that others should take certain actions. It necessarily requires an aspect of asserting a moral stance about the rightness or wrongness of adopting or failing to adopt certain actions.
> That seems like a semantic distinction only.

The semantics matter because of subjective interpretation. "I think" and "should" and "the majority of subgroup x" are not usually correlated to be the same thing, even though they seem like "semantics". The first is clear (why do you think that?, is rarely asked), the second undefined (should doesn't have a qualification) and the third subject to investigation (based on what evidence?).

I have found that morality is less often an influential factor (spaces vs tabs, fight) than the words like "should" and "ought" are used. YMMV

Fundamentally being a manager is been more about building relationships than code. It's a very different role than a software developer, which generally has a tangible output.

You will likely need to beef up communication skills. Get better at writing short but punchy emails, writing actionable meeting notes, know how to build PowerPoint decks that tell a good story, and can talk confidently in front of a crowd. Communication skills will help you further your agenda by getting others, especially non-technical folks, to align with you.

You need to focus more on your reputation in the company. This means being visible to other teams, taking as many opportunities as you can to meet new people in your organization, and ensuring that you get credited for the wins you bring about. (It also helps to just be more presentable, take this as an opportunity to class up your wardrobe. "Treat every day like it's a potential first date and you'll be fine," was the advice I got with my first manager position -- it was more criticism for wearing shorts and a soccer jersey like I had when I was a dev.)

You need to figure out who your key stakeholders are (it's not always as clear as just following your org chart), and understand the priorities of your company. Actively trying to understand other departments' KPIs will go a long way.

You need to figure out how to work with the people on your team. Determine who the high performers are, what they want, and how to keep them happy. Also have a game plan for correcting behavior you don't like.

If your company offers training in negotiation, even if you can grab some time with a successful sales person, try and take them up on that. Your ability to hire talent, give performance reviews, and haggling over scope with other teams will all benefit.

As a manager you'll likely have a bit more stress as you're acting as a shit shield for your team, and are ultimately on the hook for delivering a lot more. Finding ways to de-stress are key. Make sure you have a good gym routine, set up time to regularly speak with your shrink or career coach, and make sure you're taking the time to do whatever it is you need to do to stay healthy and energized.

This is far from a complete list, but here are 3 books that I think are good books I'd recommend for anyone moving into a leadership role.

* The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded: Michael D. Watkins: 8601200550153: Books ||

* What They Teach You at Harvard Business School: My Two Years Inside the Cauldron of Capitalism: By (author) Philip Delves Broughton: 9780141046488: Books ||

* How to Win Friends & Influence People: Dale Carnegie: 8937485909400: Books ||

I often find that if I'm having trouble conveying a point in writing, it's because I don't understand the needs of my audience and the story arc of the information I'm conveying in the context of that audience.

You want to create an urgent need in the reader for whatever it is you're trying to convey. What problem are they facing? How can you position them as the hero that will solve that problem, and how will they use your product, information, or point of view to become the hero of their own story.

It seems that you're feeling that your points are being understood or acknowledged, despite the fact that you know you have important information to convey.

We all want to be heard and to be valuable contributors, and I'll share that I've personally found the best way to be heard is to listen. By framing the presentation of your information in terms of your audience's problems and needs, you allow them relax. You haven't just heard their point, you're addressing it.

Now you can use the shared momentum of their attention and needs to guide them towards the solution you're proposing.

When done well, you'll make people feel profoundly heard and that you are empowering them solve their own problems, using ideas or suggestions they might have otherwise rejected if presented as simple fact or advice.

If you'd like to learn more, I'd recommend two fantastic books on the topic:

Despite their titles (and apparent focus on marketing), these books are both about empathy, listening, and finding ways to convey information that resonate deeply with your listeners.

How to Win Friends and Influence People should be required reading, and studied prior to graduating high school. I reread it once every year, and I still dig out gems that help in day to day life.
"How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie - It's a classic in that genre.

Charisma on Command channel for social skills.

Personally I also really like a lot of the talks from Tony Robbins when it comes to emotional intelligence and personal psychology. I listen to them on youtube while I'm cleaning fairly often. He can be a bit over the top and rambly for some people though and I do disagree with some things. But it's a good starting point on what to think about.

I would second this point, and add these skills can be learned. Here's a great book:
How to Win Friends & Influence People

This is a classic book that you can finish in one night. If you don't like reading there's an audiobook version as well. It's also recommended by pg and yc

Ill add to that this: Lifetime Conversation Guide by Van Fleet. Crammed with many times more techniques plus examples of using them in various situations. Also illustrates personal goals and benefits each helps with before the technique so you can prioritize the reading. Motivation, too, of course. Probably a few bucks used by now.
I highly recommend this reading this book. If you read it 5 years ago, I highly recommend re-reading it--the insights you have when you get reminded of things will surprise you.

I also recommend the book Difficult Conversations by the same folks who wrote Getting to Yes. It lays out a good model for better predicting what impact the things you say might have on other people.

Difficult Conversations is great. Two other really good books are Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg, and Crucial Conversations by Patterson, et al.
I like "re-reading" the audiobook occasionally while doing other things (cooking, driving). I find my interactions improve right after a re-reading.

Well worth the time and cost.

Whatever you feel about the article, Let me recommend this book to ALL engineers. The title is kind of bad, but the book has made me a much better team lead.

Well I don't have a MBA :D, but I do have a masters degree of a similar orientation (Masters in engineering management). I can only recommend the ones I have read and found of value:

[1] Crossing the chasm (Marketing related)

[2] Peopleware (HR related)

[3] How to win friends and influence people (HR related)

[4] The Goal (Business related)

[5] Critical chain (Project management related)

[6] Who moved my cheese (Change management related)

and any of the lean / agile businessy books for ex.

[7] The lean startup

These might not be viewed as traditional MBA material, but my course featured some of these along with more traditional academic books on subjects like financial management, people management, operations etc. I can provide these textbooks to you as well if you like.

*Amazon links just for convenience, no affiliation.








This sounds like a lot of the great advice in How to Win Friends and Influence People [1]

I read that book yearly, and learn something every time.



"Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours"

This is what I was thinking when I read this post - pretty much anything you read online about marketing seems to just be stuff that was already said 80 years ago in that book.
Read the book by Dale Carnegie ( Joining events on can be helpful too.
I've red it. It's made of behavioral patterns for sellers mostly, I think you will not get any real friend following the teachings of that book.

Meetup events are a much better way.

When you find yourself following the advice in the book without trying or thinking about it is when you have met potential friends, I think.
I tried the advice in the book, it's fine for superficial connections with people only. It mostly tells you to never contradict people to be more "likeable". It's OK for a first contact with people for sure, but not for establishing a real connection.
To the OP, if you do not have time to read or if you are not sure whether it is worth reading, you can read the summary at

First impression is very important when you are meeting anyone. One of the most important takeaways from the book is "be genuinely interested in other people".

I've written another summary, focused only on a few points, but a bit more flesh, not just bullet points:
These are great books for starting off with the why and how of sales:

Daniel Pink - To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

Dale Carnegie - How to Win Friends & Influence People

As you understand the macro details of sales, the more micro things (tactics, strategies, best practices) are probably best served by specific industry or specific aspects of sales. For example:

I also really like Jason Lemkin and his SaaStr blog: Loads of SaaS sales practices on there.

As Dale Carnegie said:

"Even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15% of one's [financial] success is due one's technical knowledge and about 85% is due to skill in human engineering, to personality and the ability to lead people."

In this sense a few books about mastering that 85%:

I'm not sure about your specific situation, but it helps if you focus the conversations on them instead of you.

Be genuinely interested in other people and they will like you. Respect their opinions even if you disagree.

Your are in a great position. You have a stable source of income and a prestigious job title for the modern times.

You already kind of seem to know the solution: Work on your social skills.

Read this

Sign up for internet dating and go on dates with strangers. You will soon discover everyone is awkward and it is all okay.

Or go to tech meetups. Ask people about themselves and just listen to what people have to say. People love to talk about themselves and you can learn a lot about them and yourself.

It will be hard It will be awkward It will feel really strange at first

But being really good at connecting with other people is vital to getting the jobs you want. Having hard skills is important too, but you seem to already have those.

Good luck.

Jan 17, 2014 · gfaqz on No More Mr. Nice Guy
I just read this book a few months ago, It was fantastic. After No More Mr. Nice Guy I highly recommend Models and How to win friends and influence people is a great self help book too

I've read these three books (Nice Guy then Friends and then Models) over the past few months and they have really taught me how to build up my confidence.

You are only a loser if you think so yourself, but don't worry. You are a winner! Like stated out, it comes out clear that you have a great set of professional experiences so getting yourself a decent job should not be a problem in my opinion.

I recently started reading How to win friends and influence people[1], by Dale Carnegie and already after 4 chapters it has changed how I think about how I interact with people. Get yourself a copy of this book and read it.


Jul 09, 2013 · pvnick on Fuck Yes or No
Mark Manson has written a lot of really valuable advice, including IMO the only dating book you should ever read [1]. He rejects the pickup culture in favor of a more intimate, human approach towards building emotional connections and improving oneself. He's the only mainstream dating coach pushing Dale Carnegie's work [2]. Mark's also big on the anti-pornography, anti-masturbation trend that's gaining mainstream attention [3]. I highly recommend reading his stuff for anybody who's looking to improve themselves, both in dating and in general.




Edit: it looks like this was on the front page, but the HN is only for programming topics crowd seems to have flagged it into oblivion

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business -

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living -

How to Win Friends & Influence People -

I am currently reading The Power of Habit. Great book indeed.
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is a life changing book. If I never read it, I probably would have jumped off a bridge with all the stress of product launches and public failures that are inevitable as an entrepreneur.
About a year ago I starting becoming incredibly interested in making ideas spread. I decided to read books on how to present myself and my ideas in a way that builds my own credibility, trustworthiness, and helps people to take on my ideas.

If you are interested in these things, I highly recommend Made to Stick by the Heath Brothers [1]. It focuses on the SUCCESs framework:

S - Short

U - Unexpected

C - Credible

C - Concrete

E - Emotional

S - Stories

They elaborate in excellent detail on each of these ideas and the acronym that they coined is a perfect example.

In terms of building your own credibility, I suggest reading How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. [2] This book is instrumental in understanding the basic concepts that can have a material impact on your life. I think that Autobiography of Ben Franklin [3] teaches a few key lessons in the use of diffidence that harmonizes well with Carnegie's ideas.




HN Books is an independent project and is not operated by Y Combinator or
~ yaj@
;laksdfhjdhksalkfj more things ~ Privacy Policy ~
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.