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How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking (Part 2 of 12)

This is the eleventh post in a multi-part series where I share the highlights of the sections/subsections of the book How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

Previous: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it

How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

Principle 2: Show respect for the other person’s opinions; never say, “You’re wrong”

  • You may hurl logic at someone, but you will not alter their opinions because you’ve hurt their feelings.
  • Never start out by saying you’re going to prove something to someone. “I’m smarter than you are; I’m going to tell you a thing or two and make you change your mind.”
  • Prove something subtly so that no one feels that you are doing it.
  • Quit telling people that they’re wrong. Isn’t it better to begin by saying, “Well I thought otherwise. I may be wrong, and frequently am, and if I am wrong I want to be put right. Let’s examine the facts.”
  • Admitting you may be wrong will inspire your opponent to be just as fair and open and broad-minded as you are. That will get him thinking that he, too, may be wrong.


  • If you’re inclined to tell people they’re wrong, see James Harvey Robinson’s The Mind in the Making.
    • It’s not the ideas that are dear to us, but our self-esteem that is threatened.
    • The little word “my” is the most important one in human affairs (e.g., my dinner, my house, my god).
    • We like to continue to believe what we’ve been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast on any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to it.
  • Very rarely do we permit ourselves to understand how the other person thinks about the statement.
  • See confirmation bias: “…tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses while giving disproportionately less attention to information that contradicts it.”
  • Ask questions in a very friendly and cooperative spirit about why someone is doing something wrong rather than telling him he’s doing it wrong.
  • This advice is not new, Jesus said it, and King Akhtoi — be diplomatic, it will help you gain your point.

Up Next

If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.


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