Thursday, July 20, 2017

How to Win Friends and Influence People (or Not)

The story of Dale Carnegie is a remarkable one, and while I have no idea how many friends he had, I do know that he has influenced millions of people. His book How to Win Friends and Influence People was on the Library of Congress’s 2012 list of 88 “Books that Shaped America.”
Who was Dale Carnegie?
James and Amanda (Harbison) Carnagey were a poor farm couple who lived near Maryville, Missouri, when their second son was born in November 1888. They named their new baby Dale.
Several years after the family moved to near Warrensburg, Mo., Dale rode horseback daily to take classes at the State Teachers College (now University of Central Missouri). There he excelled in public speaking.
Leaving college without graduating, Carnegie first tried to make a living as a salesman. He later went to New York City where he became a success by conducting public speaking classes.
In 1916, after he had acquired an office in Carnegie Hall, he changed the spelling of the family name to Carnegie, perhaps to achieve some acclamation by association to Andrew Carnegie, although he was not related to him.
His book How to Win Friends and Influence People was published in 1936. It became the #1 non-fiction bestselling book in 1937—and was #6 the following year.
Carnegie died in November 1955 and is buried in Belton, Missouri.
Reading How to Win Friends
Although I hadn’t previously even set foot on campus, I arrived at, and enrolled in, Southwest Baptist College (now University) in Bolivar, Mo., the first week of September 1955.
The first few days of matriculation and whatever else we had to do were quite boring; I didn’t know a single person there except for the guy I met when I picked him up in the neighboring county the day we drove south across Missouri to get to Bolivar.
Sometime during that summer, I had heard about Carnegie’s book, so on one of those days waiting for classes to start, I went over to the library with the intention of checking it out.
The librarian and some student helpers were working on the card catalog files, so I was unable to look up the book. So I asked one of the guys working there if he could help me find Carnegie’s book.
I still remember my embarrassment when he called out in a loud voice to the others working around him, “Hey, here’s a freshman who wants to check out the book How to Win Friends and Influence People!
Well, I don’t remember getting the book then or when I read it for the first time. But I have re-read some of it this month and have found Carnegie’s main principles to be good and useful. (For a brief summary, click here.) 
How to Lose Friends and Influence People (the Wrong Way)
In contrast to Carnegie, it seems that DJT is quite adept in knowing how to lose friends and influence people the wrong way. One wonders how long this can go on.
In a tweet on July 1, he referred to “crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika.” That was only two days after being chastised by even Republican Senators for the tweet in which he criticized “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and “Psycho Joe,” adding that he refused to allow her to come to Mar-a-Lago because “she was bleeding badly from a face-lift”(which was not true, it seems.)
The first “principle” in Carnegie’s book is, “Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.” Maybe DJT needs a dose of Dale to improve his daily tweets.


  1. The first written comment received on this article was from faithful Thinking Friend Eric Dollard in Chicago. He writes,

    "Thanks, Leroy, for the background information about Dale Carnegie.

    "Our president will probably not change his ways, but he would be well-advised to heed the advice of Paul, who in quoting Proverbs 25:21-22 in Romans 12:20-21, 'No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.'

    "Not only does one lose friends with 'ad hominem' attacks, one also loses arguments."

  2. We probably all need a refresher course, not just DST. Starting with ALL in DC - Democrats and Republicans especially. I will do my part. It is a good book to re-read regularly and try to implement.

    1. The anonymous writer no doubt means DJT (not DST). But it is my fault for misleading him. I originally had DST in the article (perhaps conflating the current President with HST, the 33rd President).

  3. Thinking Friend Patrick Crews in Arizona posted the following comments on Facebook:

    "I read it back in college when turtle began poking his head out of his shell and wanted some advice of how to get along with people and not be pummeled. It was helpful except regarding making female friends which had complications not covered in the book."

  4. Thinking Friend Glenn Hinson in Kentucky shares these comments:

    "A thoughtful reflection, Leroy. I think Carnegie’s ideas influenced me along the way even without reading his book. His ideas penetrated my school culture and thinking.

    "Trump’s outlook on life flabbergasts me. He sounds like the worst kind of playground bully."

  5. Do I see a summer trend here? Last blog on Japanese wrestling. Now this blog on American wrestling, as in WWE personality Donald Trump!