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How To Win Friends and Influence people
How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie This book was written in 1936 by Dale Carnegie. Some of the terms and vocabulary used are dated but the advice and information can still be used today. It deals with communication with others and the need for all parties to be able to perceive the objective from the others’ viewpoint. The perspective of the book is from a position of power or management but it can be useful to anyone that reads it. While this book is useful, it should be remembered it was written during a time when the people in the workforce had a very strong protestant work ethic socialized into them. The book is divided into four parts, and they are: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People. The next section is called: Six Ways to Make People Like You. The third chapter is titled: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking. The final segment is called: Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment. The titles to the sections are somewhat blunt and imply manipulation instead of understanding or compromise but the book stresses seeing things from the viewpoint of others and resolving conflict in mutually acceptable ways. The emphasis of the book is teaching the skills necessary to use the collaborating conflict style and behavior modification. The first section, Fundamental Techniques in Handling People, has three principles. 1) Don’t criticize, condemn or complain; this is the most difficult one to manage. 2) Give honest, sincere appreciation. Everyone has some positive traits. 3) Arouse in the other person a desire to please. Using these principles promote the ability for the individuals to have an open, honest conversation. This in turn creates a positive atmosphere for conflict resolution. The six principles of the second segment are, Six Ways to Make People Like You, 1) Be sincerely interested in other people. 2) Smile at people. 3) Remember and use a person’s name. It relays a message. It tells people they are important to you. 4) Be a good listener and encourage other people to talk about themselves. 5) Talk in terms of the other person’s interest. 6) Finally, make the other person feel important and do it honestly. The third section, How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking, has twelve principles. 1) The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. 2) Show respect for the other person’s opinion, never say you’re wrong. 3) If you are wrong admit it quickly and emphatically. 4) Begin in a friendly way. 5) Get the other person saying, yes, immediately. 6) Allow the other person to express his/her ideas or opinions. 7) Let the other person think the idea is his/hers. 8) Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. 9) Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires. 10) Appeal to the “nobler” motives. 11) Illustrate and give examples of the benefits of your ideas. 12) Make the individual feel personally challenged to implement the idea. The last nine principles come from the final part of the part of the book, Be a Leader. 1) Begin with praise and honest appreciation. 2) Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. 3) Talk about your own mistakes before discussing the other person’s. 4) Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. 5) Do not attack the dignity of the other person. 6) Praise the slightest improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” 7) Set a good example. 8) Use encouragement. Make the problem seem easy to correct. Sketch and etch. 9) Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. Relationships are oriented toward reaching goals. The important thing to remember is everyone’s primary goal in the relationship may not be the same. For example, in a work relationship, the employer’s goal is for the business to be successful while the employee’s goal is usually the maintenance and upkeep of self and/or a family. These seem to be goals that could be mutually satisfied but that is not always the case. If the employee’s family increases and the volume of business decreases there will be a real conflict between these two goals. Sometimes, the only resolution is to sever the relationship but only after other options have been considered from all perspectives. I have learned an important lesson from this book which is fundamental for all relationships. Any relationship is consensual. All parties implicitly agree to work within some type of boundaries. These implied boundaries create the structure and the nature of the relationship. Any party to the relationship can upset this structure by behaving in a manner that does not fit their role. The roles are defined by the individual’s power and position within the relationship. Even abusive, personal relationships have this arrangement, otherwise the relationship could not exist. Individuals within abusive relationships, have psychological and/or socio-economic reasons that prevent recognition of the nature of the relationship or they feel an inability to exist outside of it. The advice Mr. Carnegie relates in his book is helpful but either people have changed drastically or he was a truly naive person. His assumption is that an individual who respects his/her employer and has a desire to accommodate him/her, will make decisions logically, based on the mutual cost and benefits. This isn’t always true. In fact, it probably isn’t true half of the time. I am a manger for a local business and I have tried to use some of the advice from the book for problems which occur frequently. I have had some success using his advice. I have found no real support for his assumption that most people behave rationally or use logic as a tool for decision making. For example, absenteeism is a major problem. I have an employee that worked part-time. She supports herself and one child. She was calling off from work about once a week. She and I discussed this, she said she was having problems with her car and needed money to have it fixed. She asked for a loan to have her it repaired. She wanted to work an extra day every week until the loan was repaid. Her car is now running well but she still misses at least once a week. Considering the loan payment that is withheld from her check, she is taking home less money than she did previously. I am sure she justifies this to herself in some manner but I fail to see any rational or logical explanation for her behavior. This book and others like it are used in seminars across the country for management training. Perhaps, the real purpose is to train management to work together in problem solving. That is where I have found it to be the most useful.