Best Practice Leadership

Remembering How to Win Friends and Influence People

In the world of business, we encounter many clients and employees along the way. Something that has been helpful to me, not only in the professional sector but also in my personal life, is Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Debuting in 1936, the book was ranked 19th on Time Magazine’s “100 Best Books of All Time” list in 2011. Over 30 million copies have been sold. In addition, the information has been used to create the curriculum for Dale Carnegie Training, a leadership course taught in more than 90 countries and 30 languages.

In the book, Carnegie recommends many principles to win friends and influence people. His training course teaches a technique known as “ordered association,” whereby memory pictures are created along with an associated principle. Fashioning mental pictures (association) with numbers, rhyming words and action pictures improves a person’s ability to remember the important information.

Here are the mental pictures I learned for the first 10 principles of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

One – Run: The Three C’s

Imagine a white horse running across a pasture; the remembered principle is hanging from the horse’s saddle horn. It is the three C’s – never criticize, condemn or complain.

Two – Zoo: Honest and Sincere Appreciation

A monkey is throwing the principle you are trying to remember at you while you stand in front of its cage. You may imagine a mental picture of you giving a monkey a banana, and it is showing appreciation for it by throwing you a bouquet of flowers. Carnegie’s principles include showing honest and sincere appreciation to others.

Three – Tree: An Eager Want

Tied to the top of a very tall tree is the principle you are trying to remember. It is a wanted poster reminding us to arouse in others an eager want.

Four – Door: Genuine Interest

This mental picture is a revolving door that is stuck by a bag of money. As money earns interest, this reminds us to become genuinely interested in other people.

Five – Hive: Always Smile

Coming out of a beehive is a smiling Cheshire cat. The principle for this mental picture reminds us to always smile.

Six – Sick: Called By Name

Picture a rolling hospital gurney with a nameplate on it. This serves as a reminder to follow Carnegie’s sixth principle when interacting with others — call them by name. Remember that a person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Seven – Heaven: Listening

Envision a stairway to heaven with an ear tumbling down it. This reminds us to be good listeners. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Eight – Gate: Speak Of Interest

Imagine a swinging gate with a set of false teeth attached to it as it swings back and forth. This reminds us of Carnegie’s principle to talk in terms of other people’s interests.

Nine – Wine: Feel Important

There is a crate of wine being unloaded onto a dock. The crate is marked “Imported.” This word is utilized to remember Carnegie’s principle to make others feel important and to do it sincerely.

10 – Den: Avoid Arguing

Envision a lion in a den growling at you. This is to remind you of Carnegie’s principle to avoid arguing. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

While all of these principles are appropriate in various situations, one resonates with me the most. It is to never criticize, condemn or complain. No one enjoys a business or personal relationship with someone who is always negative.

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” is a timeless work that still helps many, including myself. I find it interesting that I learned these rules using this memory system nearly four decades ago while attending a Dale Carnegie course.

By placing these 10 principles alongside this rhyming scheme, we can remember them and live more productive and successful lives. A few famous and successful people who are graduates of the Dale Carnegie course include: Chuck Norris, Orville Redenbacher, Dave Thomas (Wendy’s founder), Zig Ziglar, Lee Iacocca, Warren Buffett and my wife.


J. Lamar Roberts, Fidelity Bank of Florida

J. Lamar Roberts is the president and chief executive officer of Fidelity Bank of Florida. He began his banking career as a part-time teller while attending college and became a bank president at the age of 29. He has held that position in six Florida banks and served as president of the Florida Bankers Association.

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