backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently
makes for success" Dale Carnegie
Dale Breckenridge Carnegie (18881955), born Carnagey, was an American writer
and lecturerbest remembered for his extremely popular courses on
self-improvement, salesmanship, public speaking and interpersonal skills; and as
the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936)
Born in Maryville, Missouri, the son of a poor farmer, Carnegie managed to
keep up with his education despite getting up at 4 a.m. to milk the cows.
After college he sold correspondence courses to ranchers, then moved to selling
food products. After saving $500 he quit his job in 1911 in the hope of
becoming a traveling lecturer, but instead he ended up at the American Academy
of Dramatic Arts in New York. Finding little success as an actor he got
the idea of teaching public speaking and persuaded the manager of the YMCA that
he was staying in in New York to let him instruct a class in return for 80% of
the net proceeds. The Dale Carnegie Course evolved from this modest start.
One of his most canny marketing moves was to change the spelling of his last
name from Carnagey to Carnegie - the same spelling used by the well known, but
unrelated, industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. In 1916, four years
after his first lecture, Dale Carnegie was sufficiently well known that he was
able to rent Carnegie Hall in New York, and conduct a lecture to a packed house.
Although not the only book he wrote, he is best remembered as the author of
How to Win Friends and Influence People. By the time of his death of
Hodgkin's disease in 1955, the book had sold more than five million copies in 31
languages, and 450,000 had graduated from the Dale Carnegie Institute.