Dale Carnegie was the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. He was the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936), a massive bestseller that remains popular today.

The thesis explained in the book are really well synthesized in the Wikipedia page.

Don't criticize, condemn, or complain. Give honest and sincere appreciation. Smile. Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. Talk in terms of the other person's interest. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

The strategies don't talk about telling the truth, presenting rational arguments, and citing the sources.

Cognitive Psychology explains the reasons behind this:

  • Confirmation bias
  • Backfire Effect
  • self-serving bias
  • Rationalization
  • Cognitive dissonance

All of these terms suggest that changing people's ideas requires an effort in a direction that is not rational.


  • Why is it hard to change other's people beliefs?
  • Is it true that marketing strategies are more effective than rational argument in changing other's beliefs?

Refer also to:

  • $\begingroup$ Some of this content is plagiarized...I'm not sure how important that is here, as I can't find any discussion of plagiarism on the meta-site other than one answer of my own. In any case, I'd recommend paraphrasing or quoting and citing. It may be sufficient that the Wikipedia page is linked if it is the source of this content, but I would still like to see all of this unmodified content inside blockquotes or quotation marks...or simply to see it modified. $\endgroup$ Mar 14, 2014 at 4:16
  • $\begingroup$ @NickStauner: I don't know.. in my country the laws states that it's not mandatory to put a link but it's enough to refer to the source. And also 10% of the article / book copying is needed to speak of plagiarism. I will try to improve specifiyng better that some sentence are taken from wiki. $\endgroup$
    – Revious
    Mar 14, 2014 at 9:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, citing the source is preferable to simply linking to it. That may reflect conventions that haven't yet adjusted to the internet era though. Interesting that <10% would be acceptable in your country...In mine, any sufficiently distinct content that is copied directly without citation is plagiarized, technically. I think the word has a harsher connotation than it should though (I know you weren't trying to take credit for the copied content). Thanks for the edit. $\endgroup$ Mar 14, 2014 at 9:57

1 Answer 1



The question is like a tautology - ALL effective ways of changing people's beliefs would automatically be valid marketing techniques, pretty much by definition. Marketing is not a subset of all possible techniques, it's a discipline on using all those for the specific purpose of marketing goods/services.

Rational argument is also a classic marketing technique, in areas where you have a clear rational advantage over your competitors, you want to nudge customers to situations and environments where they would not be 'thinking emotionally', hear your rational argument clearly, and thus choose the way you want them to.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for you answer! My real question could be something like: is it sad that trying to help people is not effective unless you use "effective ways of changing people's beliefs"? This is not making the way easy for those who want to exploit people? Is it meaning that people are stupid or better say ignorant? But I fear I cannot ask it in this way... $\endgroup$
    – Revious
    Mar 14, 2014 at 13:08

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