Dale Carnegie holds the arm of a nervous student who
struggles to speak at a microphone in 1938.
Dale Carnegie was a man whose world famous public speaking program and book has helped millions . When he discovered how to overcome the one greatest fear known to man, not death, but talking in front of a group of people, Carnegie became immensely successful . Even though he wrote in the 1930s, his ideas still have great relevance for those who wish to improve their lives today . Who was this man, and what is his life story ?
The home of Dale Carnegie in Harmony Church, Missouri.
Dale chose not to follow his parents in farming
Dale Carnagey was born on November 24, 1888 in Harmony Church, Missouri, near Maryville. His father, James, claimed Andrew Carnegie, the famous steel industrialist and philanthropist but this has not been proven. Dale himself never claimed any relationship, it was done for recognition when he was starting out . Growing up on the farm, the Carnagey family experienced occasional hardships due to the flooding of the nearby 102 river. Dale grew up feeling ashamed of his family's poverty, but always admired his mother's strong faith .
Dale Carnegie A Man of Influence An A&E Biography
His mother was a strong supporter of Carry Nation's temperance movement, and Dale's first experience in public speaking came with mother who gained a reputation against the evils of alcohol. His mother often gave to charity, even though the family itself was in need of charity . He admired his father for his perseverance in the hard lot that was a farmer's life. His father even considered suicide as farming debts mounted .Dale lost his left forefinger while playing in an abandoned house as a child. As a high school student, he was deeply impressed by a speaker for the Chautauqua movement, an early form of correspondence education, who inspired him to seek a life other than farming .
His family moved Warrensburg, Missouri in 1904 so Dale could attend the teacher's college there tuition free. dale rode to the college on horseback and came home to do his farm chores . Dale asked a girl student to go out on a buggy ride with him, but she turned him down. dale was convinced that this was due to his poverty and swore to himself that he would become rich and famous, a vow he kept. At college, he encountered the ideas of Darwin and began to question his religious faith.
The 5 Essential People Skills by Dale Carnegie
One of the many products sold by Armour & Co at the turn of the century
In 1908, dale left college. He did not graduate from the teachers college ( Warrensburg State Teachers College, they year he died, the school granted him an honorary degree, it is now called Central Missouri State College ) due to failing Latin, but had decided at this point he did not wish to be a teacher. America was entering a boom period, and salesmen were in demand .He headed to Denver and his first job after college was selling correspondence courses, however, he only made one sale and began to question his sales approach and quit. Carnegie then decided to seek a job as a cattle tender in Omaha, Nebraska and rode there from Denver in a cattle car. He found a job as a salesman for Armour & Co and attended a month long training program. dale became the top salesman in his Dakota territory. He was offered a management position, but turned it down and decided to give up a sales career and study acting in New York City.
The Art of Public Speaking - Audio Book
Dale Carnegie teaching a ' break-through' class in 1932. These cathartic sessions are usually session five in a Dale Carnegie course, where participants vow to 'get things done.' Carnegie used many of the lessons from his acting days for role playing, speaking and elocution in his courses to expand the students comfort zone beyond their everyday range.
In New York, Dale attended the famous American Academy of the Dramatic Arts. Edward G. Robinson entered the school in 1911, one year after Dale. the school emphasized natural acting as opposed to the posturing often found on stage at the time. Here,dale learned the fundamentals of acting. After graduation, dale auditioned for the road show of Polly of the Circus and was hired. Dale gained experience as an actor and returned to New York, where he was unable to find a job, after two years he gave up his dream of being an actor. By 1912, he was a Packard car salesman, barely getting by at age 24 and living close to Hell's Kitchen. Gangs such as the Hudson dusters were active in the area. He began to review his life and found one of his best memories was teaching public speaking at the teachers college . He quit the job with Packard and convinced the director of the 125th Street YMCA to let Dale teach a public speaking course on commission. In this way he earned $30 a night instead of the $2 the salary would have paid. He also had to keep the classes engaging, as the students had not prepaid for the course.
A Dale Carnegie club pin
On his first class, he ran into trouble, what worked well at the teachers college and in drama school wasn't going over well with his students, who were mostly businessmen who wanted to improve the speaking ability to get ahead. In desperation, he called on one of his students to make an impromptu speech. This was to become one of the foundations of the Carnegie method, the chance to think on your feet to develop self confidence and poise and overcome the fear of public speaking .Positive reinforcement was need to build self-esteem and have fun with supportive class members .He soon found one of the main concerns of his students was worry, and talking about their worry helped them.
In 1948, he wrote How to Stop Worrying and Start Living to more fully examine worry and stress in people's lives and how to take action against it with thirty principles. This one man class would go on to become a multi-million dollar organization. The organization started outside the educational establishment, but became respected as one of the best places to learn public speaking .Prior the WWII, Carnegie did most of the teaching himself. After the great success of How to Win Friends and Influence People, published in 1937, he began to license his system to keep up with demand .
In 1916, Carnegie had a permanent office in Carnegie Hall and changed the spelling of his name from Carnagey to Carnegie .In 1916, Carnegie was introduced to Lowell Thomas, who was looking for a public speaking teacher and became friends. Thomas became a famous radio journalist. Thomas was with T.E.Lawrence during the war and called on Carnegie again after the war for advice on doing a lecture tour with film and pictures about his adventures, which became a hit in London .By 1917, Carnegie was doing well, earning about $500 a week and began to train assistants.During WWI, Carnegie served 18 months as a soldier. His business lost ground during the war years and had to be rebuilt .
In 1927, Dale married Lolita Baucaire. the marriage was an unhappy one and ended ten years later in divorce. He lived in Paris, near Versailles until 1929, working on a novel titled The Blizzard based on his youth in Missouri. he was unable to publish the book and giving up the dream of being a novelist, he returned to New York to reestablish his organization . Carnegie lost most of his savings in the stock market crash of 1929.. He was able to continue teaching despite the economic hard times and his classes began to grow.In 1932 he took a trip to China, calling it his greatest adventure in living and was deeply moved by the poverty he saw there .
How to Win friends and Influence People
After being published in 1937, How to Win Friends sold 333,000 in four months. Dale expected to sell 30,000 . When the book became a bestseller, Dale told a reporter he ' was the most surprised man in the world.'
Even though he was not a success with novels, he had published four books by 1934 on public speaking, Lincoln (Lincoln, the Unknown, 1932) and Little Known Facts About Well Known People. In 1934, Leon Shimkin from Simon & Schuster attended a Carnegie promotion and was impressed by Carnegie's methods. He proposed a book to be written by Carnegie to be called The Art of Getting Along with People. Carnegie, who had submitted two books before to the publishing house and been rejected at first refused, but Shimkin persisted and eventually Carnegie agreed. Carnegie was a painstaking writing,rewriting lines over and over .After two years, he gave his manuscript to Simon & Schuster for the book, now titled How to Win friends and Influence People, which was accepted .
The first edition was published in 1936, with an introduction by Lowell Thomas and was dedicated to his friend Homer Cory, who was from Carnegie's hometown and a journalist in New York and encouraged Carnegie's aspirations as a writer. Shimkin gave out books to recent graduates of Carnegie's course, who shared it with their friends, resulting in thousands of orders . Shimkin also took out full page ads in the New York Times. Soon the book was selling 5,000 copies a week and on The New York Times best seller list .
The success of the book led to Carnegie writing a newspaper column. The success of the book increase attendance of his course program, which he formally called the Carnegie Institute for effective Speaking and Human Relations .Carnegie was shocked at the great success of the book. It has sold an estimated 15,000,000 copies to date and was one of the first self help book. Carnegie's first royalty check was for $90,000 and it lay on his desk a week before he deposited it . Irving D . Tressler wrote a parody of Carnegie's book called How to Lose Friends and Alienate People and claimed Carnegie's methods were causing people to become boring. Some of his chapters include How to Discourage Overnight Guests and Always turn a Conversation into an Argument.
How to win friends and Influence People
Lincoln the Unknown
by Dale Carnegie
The Art of Public Speaking
Carnegie met his future wife, Dorothy Price Vanderpool, when speaking at the first business schools to offer his course, the Oklahoma School of Business in 1941. At a small ceremony On November 5, 1944, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, they became married. Carnegie joked afterward 'Even after I wrote that book, it took me eight years to influence a woman to marry me.' Dorothy devolved the Dorothy Carnegie Course in Personal Development for Women which existed until the 1960s. The Carnegies had a child in 1951, Donna, when Dale was 63.In 1955, Dale's health began to fail and died on November 1,1955 from the blood disease, uremia. He was buried at the family grave in Belton, Missouri.Speaking at his alma mater on the year of his death he said " Learning isn't so important,it's what kind of man you make out of yourself while you're learning that counts .'