Dale Carnegie Biography

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Dale Breckenridge Carnegie


November 24, 1888(1888-11-24)
Maryville, Missouri1


November 1, 1955(1955-11-01) (aged 66)
Forest Hills, New York


Writer, lecturer

Notable work(s)

How to Win Friends and Influence People


Lolita Baucaire (1927–1937)
Dorothy Price Vanderpool (1944–1955)


Donna Dale Carnegie

Dale Breckenridge Carnegie (originally Carnagey until 1922 and possibly somewhat later) (November 24, 1888 – November 1, 1955) was an American writer, lecturer, and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. Born in poverty on a farm in Missouri, he was the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936), a massive bestseller that remains popular today. He also wrote How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948), Lincoln the Unknown (1932), and several other books.

One of the core ideas in his books is that it is possible to change other people's behavior by changing one's reaction to them.


Born in 1888 in Maryville, Missouri, Carnegie was a poor farmer's boy, the second son of James William Carnagey (b. Indiana, February 1852 – living 1910) and wife Amanda Elizabeth Harbison (b. Missouri, February 1858 – living 1910). In his teens, though still having to get up at 4 a.m. every day to milk his parents' cows, he managed to obtain an education at the State Teacher's College in Warrensburg. His first job after college was selling correspondence courses to ranchers; then he moved on to selling bacon, soap and lard for Armour & Company. He was successful to the point of making his sales territory of South Omaha, Nebraska, the national leader for the firm.

After saving $500, Dale Carnegie quit sales in 1911 in order to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a Chautauqua lecturer. He ended up instead attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, but found little success as an actor, though it is written that he played the role of Dr. Hartley in a road show of Polly of the Circus. When the production ended, he returned to New York, unemployed, nearly broke, and living at the YMCA on 125th Street. It was there that he got the idea to teach public speaking, and he persuaded the "Y" manager to allow him to instruct a class in return for 80% of the net proceeds. In his first session, he had run out of material; improvising, he suggested that students speak about "something that made them angry", and discovered that the technique made speakers unafraid to address a public audience. From this 1912 debut, the Dale Carnegie Course evolved. Carnegie had tapped into the average American's desire to have more self-confidence, and by 1914, he was earning $500 – the equivalent of nearly $10,000 now – every week.

Perhaps one of Carnegie’s most successful marketing moves was to change the spelling of his last name from “Carnagey” to Carnegie, at a time when Andrew Carnegie (unrelated) was a widely revered and recognized name. By 1916, Dale was able to rent Carnegie Hall itself for a lecture to a packed house. Carnegie's first collection of his writings was Public Speaking: a Practical Course for Business Men (1926), later entitled Public Speaking and Influencing Men in Business (1932). His crowning achievement, however, was when Simon & Schuster published How to Win Friends and Influence People. The book was a bestseller from its debut in 1936, in its 17th printing within a few months. By the time of Carnegie's death, the book had sold five million copies in 31 languages, and there had been 450,000 graduates of his Dale Carnegie Institute. It has been stated in the book that he had critiqued over 150,000 speeches in his participation in the adult education movement of the time. During World War I he served in the U.S. Army.

His first marriage ended in divorce in 1931. On November 5, 1944, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he married Dorothy Price Vanderpool, who also had been divorced. Vanderpool had two daughters; Rosemary, from her first marriage, and Donna Dale from their marriage together.

Carnegie died at his home in Forest Hills, New York. He was buried in the Belton, Cass County, Missouri, cemetery. The official biography from Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc. states that he died of Hodgkin's disease, complicated with uremia, on November 1, 1955.

Dale Carnegie Training

Dale Carnegie Training is a teaching based program for businesses based on Dale Carnegie's teachings. It was founded in 1912 and is represented in more than 80 countries. More than 8 million people have completed Dale Carnegie Training.

The course comprises a proprietary process that uses team dynamics and intra-group activities to strengthen interpersonal relations, manage stress and handle fast-changing workplace conditions. Other subjects included are communication, creative problem-solving and focused leadership.

The course is based on a five-phase continuous improvement cycle: 

    Build greater self-confidence

    Strengthen people skills

    Enhance communication skills

    Develop leadership skills

    Improve our attitude and reducing stress

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Written in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People is still a popular book to date in business and Business Communication skills. Dale Carnegie's four part book is packed with advice to create success in business and personal lives. How to Win Friends and Influence People is a tool used in Dale Carnegie Training and includes the following parts:

Part One: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Part Two: Six Ways to Make People Like You

Part Three: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

Part Four: Be a Leader - How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

Dale Carnegie Training in Japan

On July 24, 1939, Carnegie made his first visit to Japan. Invited by the Japanese Board of Tourist Industry and Japanese Government Railways in an effort to improve communications and cultural understanding between the America and Japan, Carnegie arrived on a self-described “Relaxation Tour”.

After his steam ship docked in Yokohama, he made his way to the famous Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. From July 24 to July 30, he met representatives from the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo and the Nichi Nichi Tokyo newspaper in Karuizawa. On July 31, he was the guest of honour giving a talk on human relations at a special luncheon held at the American Club in Tokyo.

Carnegie’s travels continued as far south as Shimonoseki, visiting Miyanoshita, Kawana, Atami, Gamagori, Gifu, Yamada, Toba, Nara, Kyoto and Hiroshima along the way. During the course of his visit, he had stayed at the Fujiya Hotel in Miyanoshita City, the Nara Hotel in Nara City, the Tokiwa Kan in Gamagori, the Nagaragawa Hotel in Gifu, visited the Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture and observed the Mikimoto pearl fisheries in Toba.

On August 6, he took a steamboat from Shimonoseki to Pusan, Korea where he embarked on a brief tour of the country, eventually making his way to Beijing and Shanghai.

On September 1, 1939, he made his second visit to Japan before returning home. This time he visited the Daibutsu in Kamakura and again stayed at the Imperial Hotel. He departed for America on September 4, 1939.

In July 1953, Carnegie made his third visit to Japan, meeting friends from his previous visit and taking time to enjoy the sights of Kyoto.

In 1963 Dale Carnegie Training was launched in Japan. Edwin Whitlow, from Hawaii acted as a sponsor for Frank Mochizuki, until he could take over the running of Dale Carnegie in Japan by himself. Whitlow died on March 8, 1980 on a visit to Oregon, after having been hit by a car.

Frank Mochizuki eventually retired and was succeeded by Tokugen Yamamoto in 1994, until his sudden passing in 1995. Mrs Yukiko Yamamoto took over the responsibilities for Carnegie in Japan until 2007 when she retired. Craig Kirkwood succeeded Mrs. Yamamoto and in 2010 he passed the responsibility for Dale Carnegie in Japan to Dr. Greg Story.


1913: Public Speaking and Influencing Men In Business. An introduction to public speaking.

1926: Public Speaking for Success. Dale Carnegie's public speaking bible.

1932: Lincoln the Unknown. A biography of Abraham Lincoln.

1936: How to Win Friends and Influence People. A self-help book about interpersonal relations and how to succeed.

1946: Five Minute Biographies

1948: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. A self-help book about stress management.

1957: How to Develop Self-Confidence And Influence People By Public Speaking. A self-help book about self-confidence and public speaking.