Dale Carnegie

Dale Harbison Carnegie [originally Carnagey until 1919] (November 24, 1888November 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, first published in 1936, a massive bestseller that remains popular today. He also wrote a biography of Abraham Lincoln, entitled Lincoln the Unknown, as well as several other books.


  • Benjamin Franklin, tactless in his youth, became so diplomatic, so adroit at handling people that he was made American Ambassador to France. The secret of his success? "I will speak ill of no man," he said, "...and speak all the good I know of everybody." Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. "A great man shows his greatness," says Carlyle, "by the way he treats little men."
  • I often went fishing up in Maine during the summer. Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn't bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: "Wouldn't you like to have that?"
    Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?
  • The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. If you don't like their rules whose would you use?
    • On his book How to Win Friends and Influence People as quoted in Newsweek (8 August 1955); also quoted in Best Quotes of '54, '55, '56 (1957) by James Beasley Simpson, p. 128.
  • People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
    • Dale Carnegie, quoted in Permission to Play : Taking Time to Renew Your Smile (2003) by Jill Murphy Long, p. 69
  • Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
    • As quoted in The Ring of Truth (2004) by Joseph O'Day
  • Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.
    • As quoted in A Joke, a Quote, & the Word : Feed Your Body, Soul and Spirit (2006) by Ronald P. Keeven, p. 147
  • Remember happiness doesn't depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely on what you think.
    • As quoted in Plenty of Time to Sleep When You're Dead : A Compilation of Life-changing Quotes (2006) by Richard Caridi
    • Variant: Remember happiness doesn't depend on who you are or what you have; it depends solely upon what you think.
      • As quoted in Sprituality in a Materialistic World (2008) by Leslie Klein
  • The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure.
    • As quoted in Art Smart (2007) by Alan Bryce
  • Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.
    • from Dale Carnegie’s Scrapbook, ed. Dorothy Carnegie, as cited in Words of Wisdom, William Safire & Leonard Safir, Simon and Schuster (reprint, 1990), p. 87

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