Set-Up: During our “Last Friday” advisory meetings this week, we finally had a chance to consider the summer reading: Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Challenge: I’m curious about what you see as valuable/useful about Carnegie’s ideas and examples.

  • Pick at least 1 idea from the text.
  • Explain how it may be relevant to your current and future life.

Length: 5+ sentences.

Note: For anyone in Mr. Long’s advisory, feel free to comment on the Skype video chat we had Friday morning with Megan Hustad, the author of How to Be Useful: A Beginner’s Guide to Not Hating Work. I’d love to hear what you thought before the weekend is over.

BTW: I’m hoping to ‘bring’ her to class in the coming weeks to talk about the writing/editing process, so your responses might give the rest of my 10th graders a hint of what she’s about and why it was worth talking with her today. Oh, and here’s the link to her blog, in case you’re curious (wink, wink; nudge, nudge).



  1. I thought it was kind of funny on Friday — I used several of Mr. Carnegie’s principles during the club fair, and I didn’t even realize it until after we’d started the discussions!

    I was talking to some friends, encouraging them to join Chinese club. These friends are people who don’t exactly lunge for the spotlight, so to make them feel more comfortable about being in the club, I told them that they didn’t have to act in the play we’ll put on later (and that it’s lots of fun helping make the props and set), they don’t even have to know how to speak Chinese (and there are several kids in it already who don’t), and all they have to be is someone who likes the food and the culture of China (I also told them that we have awesome cookies and brownies and Chinese food at every meeting, which is true). As Mr. Carnegie would say, I talked about things “in terms of their own interests.” It’s good to be in clubs, so it felt right to encourage them to join. And several of them actually did!

    If you’re reading this, you friends I encouraged, I’m so happy you’ll be with me in Chinese club! There are other friends in it, so we’ll all be together, and I really do think it’s a fun club.

  2. I completely disagree with Dale Carnegie’s idea that you should let a host believe that they are correct if you are a guest at a social event.

    Carnegie uses an example of when he was at a dinner party and the host had believed that a quote from Shakespeare was from the Bible. Naturally, Carnegie corrected him which was followed by an argument over the matter. A friend of Carnegie’s then took the side of the host even though he knew Carnegie was correct.

    I believed this was stupid because by letting the host believe he was correct, he now will continue to stress that he is right in every future conversation that he uses that quote in. After reading this I thought of other possible ways that Carnegie could have handled this situation. Another one of Carnegie’s ideas then came to my head; let the person save their face. Carnegie could have corrected the host without humiliating him in front of the other guests.

    None of these ideas really have any relevance to my life currently because they seem to only work on old people and 6-year-olds. If I were to go to my big brother and say “I understand that you strongly feel that you are correct, but I have to disagree” then he might just tackle me.

    However, I do think that these ideas could work in business situations when I get older.

  3. Principle 1 ”don’t criticize, condemn or complain”, was the idea that I can relate to my current life. Carnegie says “instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them”, and figure out their reasoning; Coming across this way more beneficial to you and everyone else.

    I often find myself complaining when things don’t go my way. After the discussion on Friday I decided to try not to complain as much. So when I got in my moms car after school and she told me we had to drive to downtown Dallas for a meeting and I had to come along, my first reaction was to start complaining and to try and get out of it. But I stopped myself, I thought to myself why should I complain and make the whole drive to Dallas a long and bitter time, when I could make this an enjoyable time that I could spend with my mom.

    And turns out it wasn’t so bad after all. From now on I plan to try and not complain when things don’t go my way.

  4. I really like that part where you win an argument by getting someone to say yes over and over again to a set of logic points before getting them to agree with your point. I think this a great way to win/resolve a conflict without making the other person feel bad or remain unpersuaded. Now I haven’t used this particular principle in my life so far, but when the need arises I will. I think it will be helpful in the future.

    Another principle that I liked was simply “smile”. I have used this principle. I found that I am now alot more happier because I smile more. Before I would frown or hold a stern face and rarely smile and I was miserable. I am pretty amazed how something as simple as baring my teeth made me feel good about everything.

  5. One of the ideas that stuck with me was the advice to smile.

    I had been acting out this “rule” already but it impacted me through surprise. I was very surprised that this would be one of the principles because it just seems like such an obvious thing. I understand why it was mentioned because when I smile at people, I receive different reactions. Either they smile back, they look very surprised and smile back pleased, or they look me as if I’m crazy.

    When I asked my mother why some people ignore you or look at you strangely, she told me that things are much different than when she was young. She told me when she was my age everyone smiled and greeted strangers, today everyone stays to themselves. I personally enjoy smiling at people and while it may bother some people, it may put others in a better mood.

  6. Probably the principle that stuck with me the most was that their name is the sweetest thing you can tell that person in any language. By learning someones name right off the bat, your chances of becoming friends with that person will skyrocket. I imagine that this principle is used by bussiness people quite alot. It is probably useful to them so that they can make successful bussiness ventures with leaders of other companies. Out of all the principles, this one will be universally true for a good long while.

  7. The principle of always talking about the other person seemed like a very intelligent way to guarantee that the other person would enjoy a conversation. In school it is a smart way to start talking with another student or a teacher. In buisness it will make entertaining clients and bosses much easier. The idea that everyone just wants to talk about themself is so simple, and yet so true. The principle will be relevent and usefull in school, work, and beyond.

  8. One idea that I liked in the book was Principle 4, “Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.” It’s an idea that relates to most people because everyone wants to be listened to when something bad happens. Whenever someone has an awful day, it always helps to listen to their problems.

    I used this technique about a week ago when one of my friends had a really difficult day. She had failed a test and was worried about her overall grade in that class. It made her feel a lot better when I just listened to her. Letting her talk about herself and her day was a good solution, instead of asking her questions or nagging her. It didn’t solve her problem, but I was able to help her and be a good friend in her time of need.

  9. Like student 5 one idea that stuck with me was to always smile. When you smile at someone they will usually smile back and you have also probably made their day a little bit brighter. Also have you ever tried to get a point across with out smiling at least once? It’s not that easy because when you don’t smile it usually looks like you don’t really care or believe in what you are speaking about. When you are trying to make new friends or if you are forced to mingle with strangers a smile makes you approachable and easier to talk to. Since all of us at some point in our lives will be trying to sell a point and trying to make a friend a smile is a useful tool and something that should not be forgotten.

  10. The principle that I’ve thought about the most after the skype chat with Megan Hustad was, “Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.”

    Although it has just popped up into my mind the last few days, I’ve still thought about it beforehand and it has played a role in my everyday life. I’ve let this happen a lot and now that I understand it even better, it makes me feel better. I let a lot of my friends do the talking about themselves and now that I know more about them then I can bring it up in other conversations and they realize I’ve remembered. I am more than sure though that this will play a large role later in life when I start to meet more people and I am interested in others and hoping to get to know them.

    *Personally I really liked being able to get to know Megan and having the ability to understand more about what she thinks and what it took to write her book really makes me much more interested. :)*


    Mr. Long: You guys were great with Megan, BTW. Can’t tell you how impressed I was before — when we were brainstorming — and after when you guys were talking to her directly. Thanks!

  11. What this book mainly tries to say is that kindness and flattery is a very easy way to win people over. You won’t get anywhere insulting the person you are in an argument with. The book tries to give you different ways to be kind. Through this kindness you end up having a much more likable personality than a rude person. All of the principles in the book reveal other ways to be viewed as pleasant and friendly

  12. One principle in the book I liked a lot was “Begin in a friendly way.” If you follow this principle you are promised a great friendship. If all you do is act in a friendly matter why would anybody turn down your friendship? Everybody wants to be around a person who is happy and treats other people how they want to be treated. When you meet someone for the first time, make a good impression and try your best to begin in a friendly way.

  13. The principle that I think is the most important is “Be[ing] a good listener.” By listening to a person talk you make them feel special. When the person begins to feel special they are happier and are more willing to like or help you. If you want to gain ideas for work or school, or you need to understand what is wanted or required, it is important for you to be able to listen well. Listening is a useful skill in many places from your home to the work place.

  14. The concept smile is one that I can relate to. I naturally smile and sometimes say hello at anyone who greets me or smiles at me whether I am having a bad day or not. Sometimes I will be caught off guard because I was in the middle of thinking of something and will look surprised before I smile back at them. If I am not thinking hard about anything, then I would usually smile with anyone who I come in eye contact with. I think smiling at someone who is having a bad day will brighten their day at least a little. I know if someone smiles and says hi to me when I am having a bad day, it will get my mind off of whatever I was thinking about for at least a little bit and feel a bit better.

    Carnegie’s principle about someone’s name being the sweetest thing you can tell that person in any language does not include me. I completely understand if someone cannot remember my name and I am not offended. This is probably because I struggle remembering names myself and going to schools that are the size of ours and smaller probably does not help. However, there are apparently a lot of people who are not like me and would like to have their names remembered. It would probably help me in business if I remembered people’s names so the people/person who I am dealing with would like me more and therefore would probably have a better chance of them wanting to work with me.

  15. During the summer I volunteer at Camp Crucis, an Episcopal Church camp. There are many weeks that are specifically held for certain groups of children. I was a councelor during a session called multicultural. It’s a week for different cultures and usually some underprivileged children are allowed to come for free.

    Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” states that a key skill is to be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves.

    Since some of the underprivileged kids may have tough situations at home we as councelors have to be prepared to be able to retain any information that would give us an idea that anything illegal is going on in the child’s family life. If a child says anything of this sort the best thing to do is listen and make sure they keep talking, for the child’s best interest.

  16. I thought that the book was very interesting. It had a lot of historical references that were very interesting, and the book was very well thought out.

    I must admit, however, I do not completely agree with Mr. Carnegie’s notion that it is not always best to correct a host at a party. I believe that you should correct someone if they are wrong. For if you don’t, then that person could say it to a group of people, been told that he/she was wrong, and then laughed at for being wrong. You see if you had corrected that person earlier, then that person wouldn’t have been wrong about his/hers statement and ridiculed at for the rest of the night, or how ever long the event is. But, that is just my personal perspective on it.

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