How to Win Friends and Influence People | Study Guide

Dale Carnegie

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How to Win Friends and Influence People | A Shortcut to Distinction | Summary


Key Takeaways

  • This section offers a short biography of Dale Carnegie.
  • For more than 20 years of his career, Carnegie taught courses on how to "learn to speak effectively" and "prepare for leadership" to thousands of business people.
  • People in Carnegie's era realized book knowledge or schooling was not necessarily enough to succeed. Succeeding in business required them to "talk well, to win people to their way of thinking, and to 'sell' themselves." Many businesspeople wanted to develop their interpersonal skills, but no books addressed the topic of daily human relations. Carnegie filled this need by offering his in-person courses.
  • In a 1935 course in New York, 15 speakers told the gathered crowd of 2,500 attendees how Carnegie's courses had changed their lives. They had gained self-confidence, lost their fear of public speaking, and learned to think better on their feet.
  • Carnegie was an effective speaker because he had practiced public speaking relentlessly for years. He read and criticized 150,000 speeches.
  • Carnegie's childhood on a Missouri farm was full of hard work and setbacks, and he had to make sacrifices to get an education. Wanting to distinguish himself at the State Teachers College, he entered public-speaking contests. He lost many contests at first but then went on to win time after time.
  • After college Carnegie tackled several tough jobs, often in sales, before moving to New York to pursue acting. Finally Carnegie decided to develop and teach courses in public speaking, and from there his career took off.
  • Carnegie encouraged his attendees "to do the thing you fear to do" to gain self-confidence. His training included a mix of "public speaking, salesmanship, human relations and applied psychology," and it became very popular.
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