I don’t have too many claims to fame, but occasionally I like to tell people that I grew up in the same town as Dale Carnegie: Belton, MO. Ironically, I had to travel to the opposite side of the globe before I invested the time to read what I have since considered the greatest leadership book of all-time: Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. I’ve read through this book many times since then and even attended the Dale Carnegie capstone course which is over 100 years old. Therefore, I’d like to enthusiastically introduce you to one of my leadership heroes. I believe there is plenty we can all learn from the man who pioneered so much work in the area of personal leadership and influence.
If you have any type of influence at all, I would like to encourage and challenge you to open yourself up to the ideas contained in this post and then to invest some time learning from Dale Carnegie’s resources. They are so potent I guarantee it will make a difference for you (just like it has for me), provided you will put the principles to use.
Who Was Dale Carnegie?
Dale Carnegie was an American writer, lecturer and training developer born into humble circumstances in 1888. It is hard to imagine a more accommodating individual than Carnegie, who in 1922 changed the spelling of his last name from “Carnegegy” so that he wouldn’t need to trouble correcting the people who frequently misspelled it. Carnegie pursued short and rather unsuccessful stints in both sales and acting before he convinced the director of the YMCA where he was living to let him teach a course on public speaking. Since the skill was necessary in people’s professional lives but there were limited training resources available, Carnegie’s training was wildly successful right from his opening night. Participants would try his principles during the week and report their astonishing successes back at the next class (if they could wait that long). Eventually Carnegie established the corporate training firm Dale Carnegie Training (which still operates today) and wrote several bestselling books, including the timeless classics How to Win Friends and Influence People and How To Stop Worrying and Start Living.
What Can We Learn From Dale Carnegie?
In both his books and his training, Dale Carnegie shared many principles on leadership, influence, human relations, and worry-free living. I’ve decided to share one principle from each topic included in his Golden Book (listed below in the resources section).
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People: Give honest and sincere appreciation (and 2 others)
Ways to Make People Like You: Talk in terms of the other person’s interests (and 5 others)
Win People to Your Way of Thinking: Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.” (and 11 others)
Be a Leader: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement
Fundamental Principles for Overcoming Worry: Live in “day-tight” compartments (and 2 others)
Basic Techniques in Analyzing Worry: Get all the facts (and 3 others)
Break the Worry Habit Before it Breaks You: Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth and refuse to give it more (and 5 others)
Cultivate a Mental Attitude that will Bring You Peace and Happiness: Count your blessings – not your troubles (and 6 others)
The Perfect Way to Conquer Worry: Pray
Don’t Worry About Criticism: Remember that unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment (and 2 others)
Prevent Fatigue and Worry and Keep Your Energy and Spirits High: Protect your health and appearance by relaxing at home (and 5 others)
Dale Carnegie Resources
PDF: Dale Carnegie’s Golden Book (start here!)
Training Firm: Dale Carnegie Training
Capstone Course: Effective Communications and Human Relations (the best training course I’ve ever taken)
What is your favorite Dale Carnegie principle?
Nathan Magnuson is a leadership consultant, coach, speaker, and thought leader. To learn more about his services, visit NathanMagnuson.com/consulting or follow him on Twitter.