We’ve all heard of him, his book, How to win friends and influence people has sold tens of millions of copies and millions more have have taken courses bearing his name.

From wikipedia,

“Born in 1888 in MaryvilleMissouri, Carnegie was a poor farmer’s boy, the second son of James William Carnagey (b. Indiana, February 1852 – living 1910) and wife Amanda Elizabeth Harbison (b. Missouri, February 1858 – living 1910). In his teens, though still having to get up at 4 a.m. every day to milk his parents’ cows, he managed to obtain an education at the State Teacher’s College in Warrensburg. His first job after college was selling correspondence courses to ranchers; then he moved on to selling baconsoap and lard for Armour & Company. He was successful to the point of making his sales territory of South OmahaNebraska, the national leader for the firm.

“After saving $500, Dale Carnegie quit sales in 1911 in order to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a Chautauqua lecturer. He ended up instead attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, but found little success as an actor, though it is written that he played the role of Dr. Hartley in a road show of Polly of the Circus.[2] When the production ended, he returned to New York, unemployed, nearly broke, and living at the YMCA on 125th Street. It was there that he got the idea to teach public speaking, and he persuaded the “Y” manager to allow him to instruct a class in return for 80% of the net proceeds. In his first session, he had run out of material; improvising, he suggested that students speak about “something that made them angry”, and discovered that the technique made speakers unafraid to address a public audience.[3] From this 1912 debut, the Dale Carnegie Course evolved. Carnegie had tapped into the average American’s desire to have more self-confidence, and by 1914, he was earning $500 – the equivalent of nearly $10,000 now – every week.”

A very good place to start is with Carnegie’s most important lesson: six ways of making people like you:

  1. Be genuinely interested in other people
  2. Smile
  3. Remember that a man’s (or woman’s) name is to him (or her) the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
  5. Talk in terms of the other man’s (or woman’s) interest
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely
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