Leadership Notes #54 – Dale Carnegie

(This series of “notes” first appeared in the YahooGroup “VenturingList” and are written by Michael Brown. I thought that they were worth sharing with the Commissioner Corps.)

One of the classic works of “self improvement” is Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” (1936, 1981 revised edition). Sadly, I wonder how many of today’s youth are aware of this work, or even considering reading it. Which is too bad, because it’s a great work. But this series is about leadership, right, so why cover this? Well, as a leader, we should always be looking to improve ourselves as individuals and as leaders. And a big part of this work does apply to leadership. Remember as we’ve pointed out, leadership is INFLUENCE. And this work covers the idea of working with people and influencing them. That’s leadership.

Dale Carnegie’s works are widely available. Some background on him and these works. He was actually born Dale Carnagey. It’s pronounced “Carnegie”, and he changed the spelling to match the more well known Andrew Carnegie. In 1912 he started a course on public speaking at the local YMCA. This was different, as in those days, “public speaking” was not something most people engaged in, it being something limited to orators. (and it’s interesting that this is very similar to how Toastmasters started a dozen years later). He worked to bring public speaking to everyone. The focus of the course was more on businessmen (salesman more likely), but certainly its great for anyone.

This course lives on today. Many speak of going thru the “Dale Carnegie Course”, or to use its full name: The Dale Carnegie Course in Effective Speaking and Human Relations. I went thru it in the late 80s. Dale Carnegie Training (www.dalecarnegie.com) puts it on around the country, many times thru companies for their employees. For myself, I feel that while the course is good, being a member of Toastmasters is betters, as once the course it’s done, it’s done, while Toastmasters is more ongoing training.

His first work was “Public Speaking & Influencing Men in Business” (1926), which now lives on in two different works (edited by his wife)- “The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking” (1962) and “How to Develop Self-Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking” (1956). As noted, these works focus on public speaking.

But his most famous work is “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. It has four parts. One is on the fundamentals of handling people. Next is on how to get people to like you. Then is how to win people to your way of thinking (and isn’t that what many of us as leaders must do?). And finally on being a leader and changing those around us. These are all topics that anyone should be comfortable with.

Another major work by him is “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”(1948). He also wrote a hagiography of Lincoln called “Lincoln the Unknown” (1932). The Dale Carnegie Course (at least when I took it), provided each participant with “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, and “The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking”.

What is confusing when looking at the Dale Carnegie books is there are several others. These were usually created by Dale’s wife, or the Dale Carnegie Training organization from his works. These include “The Leader in You”, which is based on “How to Win Friends”, “How To Enjoy Your Life And Your Job”, which is a combination of material from both “How to Win Friends” and “How to Stop Worrying”, and Dorothy Carnegie created “How to Win Friends and Influence People for Teen Girls”. The “Dale Carnegies Lifetime Plan for Success” is a combo edition of “How to Win Friends” and “How to Stop Worrying”. There is the “Dale Carnegie Scrapbook”, which is a collection of his writings and ideas. And there is “Public Speaking for Success” (2005), which is yet another update of Carnegie’s public speaking book, updated by Arthur Pell.

Most recently, the Dale Carnegie Training group came out with a new edition of “How to Win Friends”: “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age” (2011). I have not read it, but wonder how better it might be. They have also come out with a set of 4 new books that are interesting: “The 5 Essential People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts”, “Leadership Mastery: How to Challenge Yourself and Others to Greatness”, “Make Yourself Unforgettable: How to Become the Person Everyone Remembers and No One Can Resist”, “Stand and Deliver: How to Become a Masterful Communicator and Public Speaker.”

That said, I think Ventures would benefit from getting Carnegie’s classic works: “How to Win Friends”, “How to Stop Worrying”, and “Quick and Easy Way to Public Speaking”. I wonder if a short course based on H2WF might work as a training workshop?

Here are some videos that tie in with this:

Warren Buffet on Dale Carnegie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7gXaPY524I

An inspiration video using quotes from Carnegie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeLezpLBnM8