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  • Writer's pictureDavid de Souza

'How to Win Friends and Influence People' - 80/20 Summary

Updated: Jan 30, 2022

“You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience ‑ both vicarious and direct ‑ on this latticework of models.” -Charlie Munger

12 Mental Models from the book:

1. Authority

  • People want to feel important, by arguing with people who have authority, it allows them to show their importance. By showing the person they are important and not arguing with them, you allow their ego to expand, and they usually become sympathetic.

  • People want a feeling of importance, so when you condemn yourself, people will often show mercy, as a way to show their importance.

2. Consistency & Commitment Bias

  • Once we make up our mind, we are at pains to remain consistent. Even if you can convince someone they are wrong, the person's ego will make it difficult for them to back down. They want to save face. Use the principle of consistency when persuading by saying, for example:

    1. "I have always respected your willingness to listen and are big enough to change your mind when the facts warrant it"

    2. "You are a natural leader. I'm going to need your help in making this team the best in the department".

3. Denial

  • People never think they have done anything wrong. Even criminals rationalize their criminal acts. "Remember that other people may be totally wrong. But they don't think so. Don't condemn them. Any fool can do that. Try to understand them. Only wise, tolerant, exceptional people can even try to do that."

4. Ego

  • Our deepest urge is the desire to be important. Often when people complain they think they are a crusader and defending the public. In reality, they want a feeling of importance. As soon as you give them that importance by listening to them and acknowledging their concerns, their grievances disappear.

  • Instead of criticizing, be curious and try to find out why the person did what they did. Criticism is pointless because:

    1. People become defensive

    2. The person will attempt to justify themselves.

    3. It wounds their ego.

    4. It builds resentment.

  • Show respect for the other person's opinion, don't say they are wrong. Any idiot can criticize, but it takes self-control to be understanding and forgiving. It is a test of character. When someone makes a statement that you think or know is wrong say: "Well, now, look. I thought otherwise, but I may be wrong, I frequently am. And if I am wrong, I want to be put right. Let's examine the facts".

  • "If you can be sure you are right 55% of the time, you can make a million on Wall Street every day. If you can't be sure that you will be right 55% of the time, why tell other people they are wrong?"

5.1 Emotions: Anger

  • Listen to what people have to say, don't interrupt, eventually, they will talk themselves out. When they have finished say something like: "I want to thank you for bringing this to my attention. You've done me a great service, for if this thing/personality trait/department/ annoyed you, it no doubt annoys other people also, and that would be awful. Believe me, I am so much more eager to hear what you have to say, then you are to tell it."

5.2 Emotions: Empathy

  • Be empathetic with people's ideas and desires. "I don't blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do"

  • Humans seek sympathy: a child eagerly shows their bruise, and adults aren't too different, they share their psychological accidents. Self-pity is universal.

6. Incentives

  • To influence others you need to talk about what they want and tell them how to get it.

7. Liking/Disliking

  • People will like you if you talk about things they are interested in. Ask questions people will enjoy answering.

  • Encourage people to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. Make the person feel important. "The deepest principle in human nature is the principle of being appreciated."

  • A smile tells the person:

    1. I like you.

    2. You make me happy.

    3. I am glad to see you.

  • If you want to make people dislike you:

    1. Never listen for long

    2. Talk about yourself

    3. Interrupt.

8. Momentum

  • Use the Socrates method: Ask a series of questions that produce a series of yes responses. The momentum to the desired conclusion will be unstoppable.

9. Narrative Instinct

  • People usually have two reasons for doing things: One that sounds good and their real motives. People like to be vitreous, they like their motives to sound good. To change people, appeal to their noble side.

10. Relativity

  • Try and see things from the other person's perspective. "If as a result of reading this book, you get only one thing - an increased tendency to think always in terms of the other person's point of view, and see things from that person's angle as well as you own"

11. The Ikea Effect

  • We pay more attention to our own ideas. Plant an idea casually, in a way that would interest a person, and then allow the person to think about it on their own.

  • We like to be asked our ideas, wants, wishes, thoughts, and opinions. This gives people ownership. We like to buy but we don't like to be sold to. We like to think that we are buying on our own ideas.

  • Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. Questions allow for the person to use their own thinking and creativity on the problem, giving them ownership. For example: Do you think xyz might work?

12. Vividness Bias

  • Dramatize your ideas. Simply saying a truth isn't enough. You need to make the truth interesting, vivid, and dramatic. Dramatize your ideas in the same way that a TV commercial shows a detergent getting clothes clean or a car weaving around a racing course. Dramatization is effectively used when we ask someone to marry us, we prepare things and make them romantic, why not use that same principle in other areas of your life?


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