Dale Carnegie Biography

(Self-Help Writer, Motivational Guru, Public Speaker)

Birthday: November 24, 1888 (Sagittarius)

Born In: Maryville, Missouri, United States

Dale Carnegie was an illustrious American writer, developer, and lecturer of well-known courses in self-improvement, public speaking, interpersonal skills, stress management, salesmanship, and corporate training. He is famous the world over for authoring the seminal title ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ that opened the eyes of millions of readers to the concept that it was possible to change the conduct of other people by changing one’s own behavior to them. Even though this book and the many others that he wrote during his immensely successful career did not add any insights into human psychology, all of them emphatically conveyed the importance of an individual’s attitude and drove home the point that even handicaps could be converted to benefits if the presentation was right. His own progress from a poverty-stricken rural childhood to an immensely successful businessman touring the world is a case in point. Carnegie’s huge success is attributed to his ability to capitalize on people’s desire for success by offering advice that helped them to feel more confident and become successful.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Dale Harbison Carnegie

Died At Age: 66


Spouse/Ex-: Dorothy Price Vanderpool (m. 1944–1955), Lolita Baucaire (m. 1927–1931)

father: James William Carnagey

mother: Amanda Elizabeth Harbison

children: Donna Dale, Rosemary

Born Country: United States

Public Speakers Self-Help Writers

Died on: November 1, 1955

place of death: Forest Hills, New York, United States

U.S. State: Missouri

More Facts

education: State Teacher's College, American Academy of Dramatic Arts

  • 1

    What are the key principles of Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People?"

    The key principles include techniques such as showing genuine interest in others, giving sincere appreciation, and arousing in the other person an eager want.

  • 2

    How did Dale Carnegie's book

    The book provided practical advice on how to manage stress and anxiety, helping readers achieve a more positive outlook on life and improved mental well-being.

  • 3

    What is the significance of Dale Carnegie's training programs in the field of personal development?

    Dale Carnegie's training programs have helped individuals improve their communication skills, leadership abilities, and overall confidence, leading to personal and professional success.

  • 4

    How did Dale Carnegie's teachings influence the self-help genre?

    Dale Carnegie's emphasis on interpersonal skills, positivity, and self-improvement laid the foundation for many self-help books and programs that followed, shaping the genre as we know it today.

  • 5

    How has Dale Carnegie's legacy continued to impact individuals and organizations worldwide?

    Dale Carnegie's teachings continue to be relevant in today's world, with many people and businesses benefiting from his timeless principles on communication, leadership, and personal development.

Childhood & Early Life
Dale Carnagey was born on November 24, 1888, to John William Carnagey and Amanda Elizabeth Carnagey. He was his parents’ second son.
The family was very poor and young Dale had to help out by getting up at four in the morning to milk the family cows before going to school. He attended Rose Hill and then Harmony, both one-room schools.
He, along with his family, moved to a farm in Warrensburg in 1904. In the couple of years that he spent in high school there, he realized that he was not athletically gifted but was above-average in public speaking.
He became a member of the school debating team though initially, he was not the success he aspired to be. Due to his shabby appearance and ill-fitting clothes, he was shunned by his classmates. The friends he made was because of his way with words.
After passing out from high school, he enrolled at the State Teacher's College in Warrensburg. However, in the two years before he graduated in 1908, he continued to stay at home as he was unable to afford room and board that cost $1 per day.
Much impressed with a ‘Chautauqua’ lecture speaker’s style, he made up his mind to emulate him. He became a champion speaker winning most of the intercollege public speaking contests that he participated in.
His proficiency in Latin, unfortunately, did not match his oratory prowess; he failed in the subject and left college in 1908 without obtaining the bachelor’s degree.
In his first job, he sold ranchers correspondence courses conducted by an Alliance, Nebraska-based company, ‘International Correspondence Schools’. However, he soon progressed to selling soap, lard, and bacon for ‘Armour & Company’. With his ability for salesmanship, he was immensely successful and drove his sales territory to the top.
Having saved a princely $500, in 1911, he quit his sales career to pursue his dream of teaching adult education courses in Chautauqua, near Jamestown, New York that were then very popular. However, he ended up enrolling at the ‘American Academy of Dramatic Arts’ in New York City.
After a brief stint with a touring troupe, he returned to New York City unemployed and almost broke and took up residence at the 125th Street ‘YMCA’ to try writing, which, however, proved to be unfruitful too.
Continue Reading Below
Recalling his popularity with fellow students for tips on public speaking and realizing that it was his way with words that made him a successful salesman, in 1912, Dale Carnagey persuaded the manager of the ‘YMCA’ hostel to allow him to teach public speaking there.
His classes proved to be an immediate hit. Concentrating on the daily needs of people in business, Carnagey taught the participants the tenets of successful interviewing, making compelling presentations, and establishing fruitful relationships.
In 1913, he published ‘Public Speaking and Influencing Men in Business’, the first of his many best-selling books.
His unique approach to public speaking capitalized on the desire of the average American for more self-confidence and made his classes so popular that Carnegie moved out of the ‘YMCA’ in 1914 to establish his own ‘Dale Carnegie Institute’ to accommodate the steadily rising number of students. His monthly income at this time was a handsome $500, the same as a factory-fresh Ford Model T.
With his stars on the ascendancy, Dale, in 1916, even rented New York’s iconic ‘Carnegie Hall’ for his lectures that had become wildly popular by that time.
In 1919, Carnagey changed the spelling of his surname to Carnegie; the astute but perhaps disingenuous move resulted in the public associating him, his courses, and books with the celebrated ‘Carnegie’ family with which, he had no connection.
In 1926, ‘Public Speaking: A Practical Course for Business Men’, a collection of his lectures was published. The bestseller made him richer but Carnegie was wiped out in 1929 stock market crash. In 1932, the title of the book was changed to ‘Public Speaking and Influencing Men in Business’.
In 1936, the book that made Dale Carnegie a global star author, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ was published. The overwhelming response to the book that analyzed the reasons for the success of a few hundred great leaders of the world took everyone including ‘Simon & Schuster’, the publisher, by surprise.
The first print run of 5,000 copies was exhausted quickly and ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ had to be reprinted 17 times within the first few months of its release. By the time Carnegie passed away, it had sold nearly 5 million copies and was translated into 31 languages.
Continue Reading Below
With the mega success of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, there was an explosion in the popularity of the ‘Dale Carnegie Institute’, which set up centers in 750 cities in the U.S. and in 15 other countries during Carnegie’s lifetime. By that time more than 450,000 people had participated in his self-improvement, salesmanship, interpersonal skills development, and public speaking skills development courses besides corporate training programs worldwide.
Firm in the belief that the secrets of success could be learnt from studying the biographies of successful people, Carnegie wrote a succession of books; ‘Lincoln the Unknown’ (1932), ‘Little Known Facts about Well Known People’ (1934), ‘Five Minute Biographies’ (1937), and ‘Biographical Roundup’ (1944).
‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’, a self-improvement book was published in 1948.
In 1953, the headquarters of ‘Dale Carnegie Institute’ was moved to a converted warehouse in Manhattan.
In 1954, Carnegie converted his ‘Dale Carnegie Institute’ to a company, ‘Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc.’ with its headquarters in Garden City, New York. After his death in the following year, his wife, Dorothy, became its chairperson.
Major Works
‘Public Speaking and Influencing Men in Business’, the book that set him on his path of success.
‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, a runaway success that made Carnegie famous internationally.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1927, Carnegie got married to Lolita Baucaire but the marriage proved to be unsuccessful and they were divorced in 1937. The couple had a daughter, Rosemary.
On November 5, 1944, he remarried; this time to Dorothy Price Vanderpool; he had first met Dorothy three years earlier at Oklahoma School of Business, the first of the many business schools that offered his courses. In 1951, a daughter, Donna, was born to them; Dale was 63 years old then.
Dale Carnegie died on November 1, 1955; initially, there were a variety of reasons attributed, however, a ‘Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc.’ official statement gave the reason as being Hodgkin's lymphoma. He is buried in the family plot in Belton cemetery, Cass County, Missouri.
Dale Carnegie’s lasting legacy is ‘The Dale Carnegie Course’ empowering people with skills required for self-development, public speaking, personal salesmanship, method acting and corporate training courses that are popular even today. His books are inspirational and dedicated to giving the ordinary public self-confidence to overcome adversities and change their future.
While his 15-million copy ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ remains the gold standard of self-development books, his courses remain relevant and continue to be used widely for self-help, effectiveness training, popular psychology, and realization of human potential.
Facts About Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie was a talented storyteller and often used his personal experiences to connect with his audience during his public speaking engagements.

In addition to being a renowned author and speaker, Carnegie was also an avid traveler who enjoyed exploring different cultures and meeting new people.

Carnegie was known for his positive and uplifting attitude, which inspired many to overcome their fears and improve their communication skills.

One of his lesser-known talents was his love for music, and he often found solace in playing the piano in his free time.

See the events in life of Dale Carnegie in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Dale Carnegie Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com

People Also Viewed

Stephen King Biography
Stephen King
Caroline Kennedy Biography
Caroline Kennedy
Jordan Belfort Biography
Jordan Belfort
Rudy Giuliani Biography
Rudy Giuliani
Chaz Bono Biography
Chaz Bono
Michael Franzese Biography
Michael Franzese
Ann Coulter Biography
Ann Coulter
Andy Cohen Biography
Andy Cohen