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Celebrated thanks to the book How to Win Friends and Influence People published in 1936, Dale Carnegie is one of the most respected American writers. He is also a developer of famous courses like the Dale Carnegie Course. His books have impacted generations of readers placing him among classic writers that will continue to be celebrated for decades if not centuries to come. Carnegie maintained a high level of respect among his peers due to his smooth approach to life. He is also known for have co-authored The Art of Public speaking with J. Berg Esenwein.
Dale Harbison Carnegie was born into poverty on a farm in Missouri on November 24, 1888. He was raised by impoverished parents, James William and Amanda Elizabeth. By the time Carnegie got into middle school, his family relocated to Warrensburg, Missouri. As a middle-aged boy, Carnegie realized that his mastery of words earned him respect amongst peers. The financial challenges encountered did not deter him from souring higher amongst boys of his age, and even some older than him.
Carnegie was a skilled debater in high school and a frequenter of Chautauqua assemblies. Highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Chautauqua assemblies were events designed to entertain rural communities in the whole country, often featuring renowned entertainers, musicians, speakers, and preachers. Most of the speakers at these events played a central role in shaping the Carnegie we know today. They gave him the motivation to enroll in the school’s debate club, something that changed his entire life.
The young and enthusiastic boy in high school was completely different from the one born into poverty a few years back. He excelled in his studies and moved on to State Teachers College in Warrensburg. The fact that he was shining in education doesn’t mean poverty was no longer an issue. His family was unable to get him residence within the college’s compound for $1 per day.
Carnegie used to ride on horseback to school every day. The challenges did not prevent him from attending intercollegiate public speaking competitions, most of which he won. He began developing an interest in public speaking and influencing people. They reinforced the idea of making public speaking a practical encounter rather than just theoretical. Such talks also helped him developed the tendency to stop worrying and start living life to the fullest.
Carnegie’s career started as a traveling salesman at International Correspondence Schools. He soon moved to a similar position at Armour and Company. Throughout this time, he kept on saving, and by 1911, he had saved $500. His saving facilitated his relocation to Forest Hills, New York City to give acting a try. He enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and got an opportunity to produce Polly of the Circus. The experience wasn’t so exciting hence he dropped out of it and enlisted with the United States Army, to serve the country in World War I.
At one point in his life, Carnegie remembered his public speaking skills back in high school and decided to make it a career. He successfully pitched the YMCA to teach adults the art public speaking. His course became an immediate hit, and continuously got offers from other businesspeople. So he started the Dale Carnegie Course, a practical course for businesses.
Besides his best-selling book, he wrote numerous other self-improvement books like How to Stop Worrying and Start Living and Lincoln the Unknown. His motivation has always been to publish books that can potentially change people’s lives, a goal he achieves with the Carnegie original books.
Dale Carnegie died on November 1, 1955, aged 66. Even though numerous other self-improvement books have been written since his death, he remains a legendary author in this domain.