5 Ways to Win Friends and Influence People, 2017 Version

Apply to be a client
October 11, 2017

5 Ways to Win Friends and Influence People, 2017 Version

It’s hard to believe that “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, first published in 1936, remains one of the world’s most popular books. It’s sold over 30 million copies and was named #19 on Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential books in 2011. More recently in TIME magazine, Richard Stengel penned a powerful piece on public flattery and, borrowing a page from Carnegie’s book, how to make people feel important by flattering them sincerely.

But, Stengel says, “Carnegie knew that once you can fake sincerity, there is nothing holding you back.” Over the years, this has given rise to what the former TIME magazine managing editor describes as “far too much undeserving public praise.” Have you ever watched “American Idol” or “The Voice” on TV? Both of these shows are driven by a panel of celebrity judges backed by an extremely supportive audience. Instead of offering a professional critique of a contestant’s performance, judges give platitudes designed to whip up audience frenzy.

Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. Remember, when properly directed, flattery can “get you everywhere,” at least according to Mae West. Indeed, Stengel agrees, “Small flatteries are part of the mortar that holds society together.” The key to using flattery successfully is make it personal. Everyone from Plutarch to Mark Twain offers advice on how to do this.


Here are five shoot-from-the-hip ways that you can use sincere flattery to win friends and influence people right now:


  1. Praise the beautiful for their intelligence, and the intelligent for their beauty. This was Casanova’s credo, and it is the silver bullet of seduction.
  2. Flatter people behind their back. First, you’ll never be suspected of being a slimy little weasel. Second, it’s actually more effective. When the flatteree hears you’ve said she is “brilliant,” she will think much kindlier of you.
  3. Don’t be afraid to flatter people whom you think already get enough flattery. If they get a lot of flattery, they need a lot of flattery. And they can always use more. It’s a renewable resource, and heck, it’s free.
  4. Mix a little bitter with the sweet. Including a tiny bit of criticism with the praise makes the flattery seem more authentic. For example, “I thought there was one slow movement in the first act, but other than that, it was better than Hamlet.”
  5. Never offer a compliment and ask a favor at the same time. When you charge for praise, you make the receiver wary.


Flatter your inner Casanova (or Mae West) by following Stahancyk, Kent & Hook on Twitter, Instagram @skhlaw, LinkedIn, and Facebook.