Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People and several other books, was a pioneer in self-improvement, salesmanship, and corporate training programs. His books and courses inspired an entire genre of nonfiction writing; the Dale Carnegie Institute that he founded has continued to expand after his death, and is currently a highly respected business training firm operating in 75 countries.
Dale Carnegie was born on November 24, 1888 in Maryville, Missouri. His parents were impoverished farmers. As a boy, Dale Carnegie learned that he could make friends and earn respect even though he was unskilled in athletics, because he had a way with words. In high school, he decided to join the school debate team, where he became a skillful orator.
After graduating from high school, he attended the local State Teachers College in Warrensburg. His parents couldn’t afford to pay $1 a day for room and board, so he was riding every day to and from school. He used that time to practice reciting speeches and fine-tune his oratory style. He was that good in giving public speeches that the other students were offering to pay him to train them.
After graduating from college in 1908, Carnegie took a few sales jobs, and for a short period of time he was also an actor and a soldier. Then he recalled how students were offering him money to teach them public speaking and realized that this skill was what helped him succeed as a salesman. That’s how he decided to teach public speaking classes for adults.
His night classes at the Y.M.C.A proved an immediate success, and two years later Carnegie decided to move them out of the Y.M.C.A. and founded his own Dale Carnegie Institute. In 1913, he published his first book, Public Speaking and Influencing Men of Business.
Then he changed his name from its original spelling, “Carnagey,” to “Carnegie” – a business tactic that proved to be brilliant, because the new spelling made people associate his classes and books with the storied Carnegie family (to whom he bore no relation).
As his goal was to teach his students not only the effective public speaking techniques, but also the social and communication skills that distinguished the leaders of all industries, he needed a textbook that could help him to do that. Only, there wasn’t such a textbook, so he decided to write one, after years of intense research that included reading hundreds biographies to learn how the world’s greatest leaders achieved their success. That book became a classic of self-help literature, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Due to the popularity of the book, the Dale Carnegie Institute also became hugely popular. During Carnegie’s lifetime, the Institute expanded into 750 American cities as well as 15 foreign countries, with an estimated 450,000 people who had taken his classes across the globe.
Carnegie died of Hodgkin’s disease on November 1, 1955, at the age of 66.
Teachings and Training
Carnegie understood that the most successful business people in any given industry were not those with the most technical know-how, but rather those with the best people skills.
According to gulyani.com, it was Dale Carnegie’s Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching that first posited the theory that about 15% of a person’s financial success is due to technical knowledge, and 85% is due to one’s human relations skills (they also provided the evidence to support the theory). Carnegie concluded that American colleges were doing a fine job of imparting technical knowledge, but were falling short when it came to teaching “people skills”, so he decided to devote his time to help people improve their communication skills.
Carnegie’s essential message on how to live a successful life can be summed up by these four maximes:
- Believe that you will succeed, and you will.
- Learn to love, respect and enjoy other people.
- Forget yourself; do things for others.
- Cooperate with the inevitable.
- Art of Public Speaking
- Public Speaking: the Standard Course of the United Y. M. C. A. Schools
- Public Speaking: a Practical Course for Business Men
- Lincoln, the Unknown
- Little Known Facts About Well Known People
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Five Minute Biographies
- Dale Carnegie’s Biographical round-up
- How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
- Dale Carnegie’s Scrapbook: a Treasury of the Wisdom of the Ages
- The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking
In addition to the books, Dale Carnegie is also the author of several booklets, which are mostly given out in Dale Carnegie courses.
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 in you.
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness.
If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don’t want to be.
- The official website of Dale Carnegie training program is at www.dalecarnegie.com.
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