Ways to Make People
DO THIS AND YOU’LL BE
Why read this book to find out how to win friends? Why
not study the technique of the greatest winner of friends
the world has ever known? Who is he? You may meet
him tomorrow coming down the street. When you get
within ten feet of him, he will begin to wag his tail. If
you stop and pat him, he will almost jump out of his skin
to show you how much he likes you. And you know that
behind this show of affection on his part, there are no
ulterior motives: he doesn’t want to sell you any real
estate, and he doesn’t want to marry you.
Did you ever stop to think that a dog is the only animal
that doesn’t have to work for a living? A hen has to lay
eggs, a cow has to give milk, and a canary has to sing.
But a dog makes his living by giving you nothing but
When I was five years old, my father bought a little
yellow-haired pup for fifty cents. He was the light and
joy of my childhood. Every afternoon about four-thirty,
he would sit in the front yard with his beautiful eyes
staring steadfastly at the path, and as soon as he heard
my voice or saw me swinging my dinner pail through
the buck brush, he was off like a shot, racing breathlessly
up the hill to greet me with leaps of joy and barks of
Tippy was my constant companion for five years. Then
one tragic night - I shall never forget it - he was killed
within ten feet of my head, killed by lightning. Tippy’s
death was the tragedy of my boyhood.
You never read a book on psychology, Tippy. You
didn’t need to. You knew by some divine instinct that
you can make more friends in two months by becoming
genuinely interested in other people than you can in two
years by trying to get other people interested in you. Let
me repeat that. You can make more friends in two
months by becoming interested in other people than you
can in two years by trying to get other people interested
Yet I know and you know people who blunder through
life trying to wigwag other people into becoming interested
Of course, it doesn’t work. People are not interested
in you. They are not interested in me. They are interested
in themselves - morning, noon and after dinner.
The New York Telephone Company made a detailed
study of telephone conversations to find out which word
is the most frequently used. You have guessed it: it is
the personal pronoun “I.” “I.” I.” It was used 3,900
times in 500 telephone conversations. "I.” “I.” “I.” "I.”
When you see a group photograph that you are in,
whose picture do you look for first?
If we merely try to impress people and get people
interested in us, we will never have many true, sincere
friends. Friends, real friends, are not made that way.
Napoleon tried it, and in his last meeting with Josephine
he said: “Josephine, I have been as fortunate as
any man ever was on this earth; and yet, at this hour, you
are the only person in the world on whom I can rely.”
And historians doubt whether he could rely even on
Alfred Adler, the famous Viennese psychologist, wrote
a book entitled What Life Should Mean to You. In that
book he says: “It is the individual who is not interested
in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life
and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from
among such individuals that all human failures spring.”
You may read scores of erudite tomes on psychology
without coming across a statement more significant for
you and for me. Adler’s statement is so rich with meaning
that I am going to repeat it in italics:
It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow
men who has the greatest difjculties in life and provides
the greutest injury to others. It is from among such individuals
that all human failures spring.
I once took a course in short-story writing at New York
University, and during that course the editor of a leading
magazine talked to our class.
He said he could pick up
any one of the dozens of stories that drifted across his
desk every day and after reading a few paragraphs he
could feel whether or not the author liked people. “If
the author doesn’t like people,” he said, “people won’t
like his or her stories.”
This hard-boiled editor stopped twice in the course of
his talk on fiction writing and apologized for preaching
a sermon. “I am telling you,” he said, “the same things
your preacher would tell you, but remember, you have
to be interested in people if you want to be a successful
writer of stories.”
If that is true of writing fiction, you can be sure it is
true of dealing with people face-to-face.
I spent an evening in the dressing room of
Thurston the last time he appeared on
Thurston was the acknowledged dean of magicians. For forty
years he had traveled all over the world, time and again,
creating illusions, mystifying audiences, and making
people gasp with astonishment. More than 60 million
people had paid admission to his show, and he had made
almost $2 million in profit.
I asked Mr. Thurston to tell me the secret of his success.
His schooling certainly had nothing to do with it,
for he ran away from home as a small boy, became a
hobo, rode in boxcars, slept in haystacks, begged his
food from door to door, and learned to read by looking
out of boxcars at signs along the railway.
Did he have a superior knowledge of magic? No, he
told me hundreds of books had been written about legerdemain
and scores of people knew as much about it as
he did. But he had two things that the others didn’t have.
First, he had the ability to put his personality across the
footlights. He was a master showman. He knew human
nature. Everything he did, every gesture, every intonation
of his voice, every lifting of an eyebrow had been
carefully rehearsed in advance, and his actions were
timed to split seconds. But, in addition to that, Thurston
had a genuine interest in people. He told me that many
magicians would look at the audience and say to themselves,
“Well, there is a bunch of suckers out there, a
bunch of hicks; I’ll fool them all right.”
method was totally different. He told me that every time
he went on stage he said to himself: “I am grateful because
these people come to see me, They make it possible
for me to make my living in a very agreeable way.
I’m going to give them the very best I possibly can.”
He declared he never stepped in front of the footlights
without first saying to himself over and over: “I love my
audience. I love my audience.” Ridiculous? Absurd?
You are privileged to think anything you like. I
merely passing it on to you without comment as a recipe
used by one of the most famous magicians of all time.
George Dyke of North Warren, Pennsylvania, was
forced to retire from his service station business after
thirty years when a new highway was constructed over
the site of his station. It wasn’t long before the idle days
of retirement began to bore him, so he started filling in
his time trying to play music on his old fiddle. Soon he
was traveling the area to listen to music and talk with
many of the accomplished fiddlers. In his humble and
friendly way he became generally interested in learning
the background and interests of every musician he met.
Although he was not a great fiddler himself, he made
many friends in this pursuit. He attended competitions
and soon became known to the country music fans in the
eastern part of the United States as “Uncle George, the
Fiddle Scraper from Kinzua County.” When we heard
Uncle George, he was seventy-two and enjoying every
minute of his life. By having a sustained interest in other
people, he created a new life for himself at a time when
most people consider their productive years over.
That, too, was one of the secrets of Theodore Roosevelt’s
astonishing popularity. Even his servants loved
him. His valet, James E. Amos, wrote a book about him
entitled Theodore Roosevelt, Hero to His Valet. In that
book Amos relates this illuminating incident:
My wife one time asked the President about a bobwhite.
She had never seen one and he described it to her fully.
Sometime later, the telephone at our cottage rang. [Amos
and his wife lived in a little cottage on the Roosevelt estate
at Oyster Bay.] My wife answered it and it was Mr. Roosevelt
He had called her, he said, to tell her that there
was a bobwhite outside her window and that if she would
look out she might see it. Little things like that were so
characteristic of him. Whenever he went by our cottage,
even though we were out of sight, we would hear him call
out: “Oo-oo-oo, Annie?” or “Oo-oo-oo, James!” It was just a
friendly greeting as he went by.
How could employees keep from liking a man like
that? How could anyone keep from liking him?
Roosevelt called at the White House one day when
the President and Mrs. Taft were away. His honest liking
for humble people was shown by the fact that he
greeted all the old White House servants by name, even
the scullery maids.
“When he saw Alice, the kitchen maid,” writes Archie
Butt, “he asked her if she still made corn bread. Alice
told him that she sometimes made it for the servants, but
no one ate it upstairs.
"‘They show bad taste,’ Roosevelt boomed, ‘and I’ll
tell the President so when I see him.’
“Alice brought a piece to him on a plate, and he went
over to the office eating it as he went and greeting gardeners
and laborers as he passed.
“He addressed each person just as he had addressed
them in the past. Ike Hoover, who had been head usher
at the White House for forty years, said with tears in his
eyes: ‘It is the only happy day we had in nearly two
years, and not one of us would exchange it for a hundred-dollar
The same concern for the seemingly unimportant people
helped sales representative Edward M. Sykes, Jr., of
Chatham, New Jersey, retain an account. “Many years
ago,” he reported, “I called on customers for Johnson
and Johnson in the Massachusetts area. One account was
a drug store in Hingham. Whenever I went into this
store I would always talk to the soda clerk and sales
clerk for a few minutes before talking to the owner to
obtain his order. One day I went up to the owner of the
store, and he told me to leave as he was not interested in
buying J&J products anymore because he felt they were
concentrating their activities on food and discount stores
to the detriment of the small drugstore.
I left with my
tail between my legs and drove around the town for several
hours. Finally, I decided to go back and try at least
to explain our position to the owner of the store.
“When I returned I walked in and as usual said hello
to the soda clerk and sales clerk. When I walked up to
the owner, he smiled at me and welcomed me back. He
then gave me double the usual order, I looked at him
with surprise and asked him what had happened since
my visit only a few hours earlier. He pointed to the
young man at the soda fountain and said that after I had
left, the boy had come over and said that I was one of the
few salespeople that called on the store that even bothered
to say hello to him and to the others in the store. He
told the owner that if any salesperson deserved his business,
it was I. The owner agreed and remained a loyal
customer. I never forgot that to be genuinely interested
in other people is a most important quality for a sales-person
to possess - for any person, for that matter.”
I have discovered from personal experience that one
can win the attention and time and cooperation of even
the most sought-after people by becoming genuinely interested
in them. Let me illustrate.
Years ago I conducted a course in fiction writing at the
Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, and we wanted
such distinguished and busy authors as Kathleen Norris,
Fannie Hurst, Ida Tarbell, Albert Payson Terhune and
Rupert Hughes to come to Brooklyn and give us the
benefit of their experiences. So we wrote them, saying
we admired their work and were deeply interested in
getting their advice and learning the secrets of their success.
Each of these letters was signed by about a hundred
and fifty students. We said we realized that these authors
were busy - too busy to prepare a lecture. So we enclosed
a list of questions for them to answer about themselves
and their methods of work. They liked that. Who
wouldn’t like it? So they left their homes and traveled to
Brooklyn to give us a helping hand.
By using the same method, I persuaded Leslie M.
Shaw, secretary of the treasury in Theodore Roosevelt’s
cabinet; George W. Wickersham, attorney general in
Taft’s cabinet; William Jennings Bryan; Franklin D.
Roosevelt and many other prominent men to come to
talk to the students of my courses in public speaking.
All of us, be we workers in a factory, clerks in an office
or even a king upon his throne - all of us like people
who admire us. Take the German Kaiser, for example. At
the close of World War I he was probably the most savagely
and universally despised man on this earth. Even
his own nation turned against him when he fled over
into Holland to save his neck. The hatred against him
was so intense that millions of people would have loved
to tear him limb from limb or burn him at the stake. In
the midst of all this forest fire of fury, one little boy wrote
the Kaiser a simple, sincere letter glowing with kindliness
and admiration. This little boy said that no matter
what the others thought, he would always love Wilhelm
as his Emperor. The Kaiser was deeply touched by his
letter and invited the little boy to come to see him. The
boy came, so did his mother - and the Kaiser married
her. That little boy didn’t need to read a book on how to
win friends and influence people. He knew how instinctively.
If we want to make friends, let’s put ourselves out to
do things for other people - things that require time, energy,
unselfishness and thoughtfulness. When the Duke
of Windsor was Prince of Wales, he was scheduled to
tour South America, and before he started out on that
tour he spent months studying Spanish so that he could
make public talks in the language of the country; and
the South Americans loved him for it.
For years I made it a point to find out the birthdays of
my friends. How? Although I haven’t the foggiest bit of
faith in astrology, I began by asking the other party
whether he believed the date of one’s birth has anything
to do with character and disposition. I then asked him or
her to tell me the month and day of birth. If he or she
said November 24, for example, I kept repeating to myself,
“November 24, November 24.” The minute my
friend’s back was turned, I wrote down the name and
birthday and later would transfer it to a birthday book.
At the beginning of each year, I had these birthday dates
scheduled in my calendar pad so that they came to my
attention automatically. When the natal day arrived,
there was my letter or telegram.
What a hit it made! I was frequently the only person on
earth who remembered.
If we want to make friends, let’s greet people with
animation and enthusiasm. When somebody calls you on
the telephone use the same psychology. Say “Hello” in
tones that bespeak how pleased YOU are to have the person
call. Many companies train their telephone operators
to greet all callers in a tone of voice that radiates
interest and enthusiasm. The caller feels the company is
concerned about them. Let’s remember that when we
answer the telephone tomorrow.
Showing a genuine interest in others not only wins
friends for you, but may develop in its customers a loyalty
to your company. In an issue of the publication of
the National Bank of North America of New York, the
following letter from Madeline Rosedale, a depositor,
* Eagle, publication of the Natirmal Bank of North America, h-ew York,
March 31, 1978.
“I would like you to know how much I appreciate
your staff. Everyone is so courteous, polite and helpful.
What a pleasure it is, after waiting on a long line, to have
the teller greet you pleasantly.
“Last year my mother was hospitalized for five
months. Frequently I went to Marie Petrucello, a teller.
She was concerned about my mother and inquired about
Is there any doubt that Mrs. Rosedale will continue to
use this bank?
Charles R. Walters, of one of the large banks in New
York City, was assigned to prepare a confidential report
on a certain corporation. He knew of only one person
who possessed the facts he needed so urgently. As Mr.
Walters was ushered into the president’s office, a young
woman stuck her head through a door and told the president
that she didn’t have any stamps for him that day.
"I am collecting stamps for my twelve-year-old son,”
the president explained to Mr. Walters.
Mr. Walters stated his mission and began asking questions.
The president was vague, general, nebulous. He
didn’t want to talk, and apparently nothing could persuade
him to talk. The interview was brief and barren.
“Frankly, I didn’t know what to do,” Mr. Walters said
as he related the story to the class. “Then I remembered
what his secretary had said to him - stamps, twelve-year old
son. . . And I also recalled that the foreign department
of our bank collected stamps - stamps taken
from letters pouring in from every continent washed by
the seven seas.
“The next afternoon I called on this man and sent in
word that I had some stamps for his boy. Was I ushered
in with enthusiasm? Yes sir, He couldn’t have shaken
my hand with more enthusiasm if he had been running
for Congress. He radiated smiles and good will. ‘My
George will love this one,’ he kept saying as he fondled
the stamps. ‘And look at this! This is a treasure.’
“We spent half an hour talking stamps and looking at
a picture of his boy, and he then devoted more than an
hour of his time to giving me every bit of information I
wanted - without my even suggesting that he do it. He
told me all he knew, and then called in his subordinates
and questioned them. He telephoned some of his associates.
He loaded me down with facts, figures, reports
and correspondence. In the parlance of newspaper reporters,
I had a scoop.”
Here is another illustration:
C. M. Knaphle, Jr., of Philadelphia had tried for years
to sell fuel to a large chain-store organization. But the
chain-store company continued to purchase its fuel from
an out-of-town dealer and haul it right past the door of
Knaphle’s office. Mr, Knaphle made a speech one night
before one of my classes, pouring out his hot wrath
upon chain stores, branding them as a curse to the
I suggested that he try different tactics. To put it
briefly, this is what happened. We staged a debate between
members of the course on whether the spread of
the chain store is doing the country more harm than
Knaphle, at my suggestion, took the negative side; he
agreed to defend the chain stores, and then went straight
to an executive of the chain-store organization that he
despised and said: “I am not here to try to sell fuel. I
have come to ask you to do me a favor.” He then told
about his debate and said, “I have come to you for help
because I can’t think of anyone else who would be more
capable of giving me the facts I want. I’m anxious to win
this debate, and I’ll deeply appreciate whatever help
you can give me.”
Here is the rest of the story in Mr. Knaphle’s own
I had asked this man for precisely one minute of his time.
It was with that understanding that he consented to see me.
After I had stated my case, he motioned me to a chair and
talked to me for exactly one hour and forty-seven minutes.
He called in another executive who had written a book on
chain stores. He wrote to the National Chain Store Association
and secured for me a copy of a debate on the subject.
He feels that the chain store is rendering a real service to
humanity. He is proud of what he is doing for hundreds of
communities. His eyes fairly glowed as he talked, and I
must confess that he opened my eyes to things I had never
even dreamed of. He changed my whole mental attitude.
As I was leaving, he walked with me to the door, put his
arm around my shoulder, wished me well in my debate, and
asked me to stop in and see him again and let him know
how I made out. The last words he said to me were: “Please
see me again later in the spring. I should like to place an
order with you for fuel.”
To me that was almost a miracle. Here he was offering to
buy fuel without my even suggesting it. I had made more
headway in two hours by becoming genuinely interested in
him and his problems than I could have made in ten years
trying to get him interested in me and my product.
You didn’t discover a new truth, Mr. Knaphle, for a
long time ago, a hundred years before Christ was born
a famous old Roman poet, Publilius Syrus, remarked;
“We are interested in others when they are interested in us."
A show of interest, as with every other principle of
human relations, must be sincere. It must pay off not
only for the person showing the interest, but for the person
receiving the attention. It is a two-way street-both
Martin Ginsberg, who took our Course in Long Island
New York, reported how the special interest a nurse took
in him profoundly affected his life:
“It was Thanksgiving Day and I was ten years old. I
was in a welfare ward of a city hospital and was scheduled
to undergo major orthopedic surgery the next day.
I knew that I could only look forward to months of confinement,
convalescence and pain. My father was dead;
my mother and I lived alone in a small apartment and
we were on welfare. My mother was unable to visit me
“As the day went on, I became overwhelmed with the
feeling of loneliness, despair and fear. I knew my
mother was home alone worrying about me, not having
anyone to be with, not having anyone to eat with and not
even having enough money to afford a Thanksgiving
“The tears welled up in my eyes, and I stuck my head
under the pillow and pulled the covers over it, I cried
silently, but oh so bitterly, so much that my body racked
“A young student nurse heard my sobbing and came
over to me. She took the covers off my face and started
wiping my tears. She told me how lonely she was, having
to work that day and not being able to be with her
family. She asked me whether I would have dinner with
her. She brought two trays of food: sliced turkey, mashed
a potatoes, cranberry sauce and ice cream for dessert. She
talked to me and tried to calm my fears. Even though
she was scheduled to go off duty at 4 P.M., she stayed on
her own time until almost 11 P.M. She played games
with me, talked to me and stayed with me until I finally
“Many Thanksgivings have come and gone since I
was ten, but one never passes without me remembering
that particular one and my feelings of frustration, fear,
loneliness and the warmth and tenderness of the
stranger that somehow made it all bearable.”
If you want others to like you, if you want to develop
real friendships, if you want to help others at the
same time as you help yourself, keep this principle in