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Dale Carnegie Biography and Quotes on Leadership and Influence

dale carnegie biography
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If you’re looking for a Dale Carnegie biography that explains who he is, where he came from, and milestones he achieved to build the influence he’s gained over the years, then you’re in the right place. Here, I’ll be sharing with you Dale Carnegie’s biography and his quotes on business and life.

I became interested in Dale Carnegie because I heard about how good his book “How to win friends and influence people” was for personal development. After hearing about it so many times, I decided “it must be something to this”.


The people telling me about Dale Carnegie were people I really admire and trust.

I knew, as an entrepreneur, one of the major skills we have to learn is how to impact others in a positive way. You probably know this. If we don’t learn how to use our influence positively, we can:

  • Build bad reputations
  • Limit our potential
  • Become unable to grow successful businesses
  • And, create products and services that don’t sell

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you want the opposite. You want to build a good reputation, maximize your potential, grow a successful company, and create products and services that sell very well. As a result, it’s important to learn from people, like Dale Carnegie, who have successfully taught students how to positively influence others.

After reading about Dale Carnegie and studying his life, I found some really interesting things that I think can inspire you.

Who Was Dale Carnegie | A Biography

Dale Carnegie was born in poverty on a farm to James William Carnagey and Amanda Elizabeth Harbison, so how did he go from being raised in poverty to being the world-renowned author we know today? Let’s see…

What was Dale Carnegie’s Childhood Like?dale carnegie biography | dale carnegie quotes | dale carnegie childhood on a farm

Carnegie’s childhood has been described using terms like:

  • “hard work”
  • “bad luck”
  • and, “barely meeting ends meet”

His dad was a farmer on the border of Missouri, and often times, they experienced flooding of their crops. He tried raising hogs, but that didn’t work out well either.

His mom was known to be a natural leader. She taught in Sunday school at their church, and she encouraged Dale in many of his professional pursuits.

Despite their effort, Dale’s childhood was plagued with financial struggle. In fact, when he went to college at State Teachers College in MO, Dale had to live at home because his family couldn’t afford $1/day for room and board.

Was Dale Carnegie Rich?

Dale tried his hand at many professions before finding his “niche”. He tried:

  • Acting
  • Sales
  • and Teaching…

…Before realizing his real talent and passion was in training others. He came up with the idea to teach public speaking when he was living in the YMCA. His course took off! Before long, he had a consistent flow of customers, and his financial status improved. He was no longer struggling financially, although I haven’t seen anywhere mention he was rich.

What is Dale Carnegie’s Net Worth?

I haven’t found highly credible resources that disclose the value of Dale Carnegie’s estate, however, Celebstrendnow has a wide estimation of between $100,000-$1 million. I would guess his net worth would be far more than that considering his training business has become a notable franchise and his books still sell aggressively.

Why did Dale Carnegie Change his name?

Dale Carnagey changed his last name to “Carnegie” at the time when Andrew Carnegie was a very popular and noteworthy name.

Was Dale Carnegie related to Andrew Carnegie?

Dale was not related to Andrew Carnegie. He simply changed his last name to the same spelling as Andrew Carnegie.

What Major Shifts helped Dale Carnegie escape Poverty?dale carnegie biography | dale carnegie quotes

One thing that makes Dale Carnegie’s story very interesting is how he started in poverty and started a business that helped him escape it. He overlooked his gifts and talents for awhile and aspired to do things that seemed intriguing, but after continuing to struggle, he began the process of self-evaluation I talk about in phase one of my Business Growth Framework e-course.

After leaving home, he got a job selling meat. He did well as a salesman, and was able to save $500. Once he saved his money, he quit his sales job, and moved to New York. In New York, he experimented with being an actor, but found he didn’t like the job.

He remembered people asking to pay him to teach them public speaking, and he decided to offer training on public speaking as a service. He realized the public speaking was a skill he had that he could leverage in various ways.

The YMCA in his area allowed him to teach public speaking in their facility, and earn 80% of the proceeds. He was able to get traction in his training courses fairly quickly. Then, once his training courses were gaining popularity, he launched his book How to Win Friends and Influence People along with others.

Within two years of starting his training, Dale Carnegie was able to start his own institute. Despite his passing in 1955, Dale’s teachings are still widely sought after. His organization has become a franchise, and you can still find workshops that use his curriculum online and all over the world. Dale Carnegie Institute currently operates in 90 countries across the world, helping people to build self-confidence, improve their people skills, develop leadership skills, improve attitude, and reduce stress.

Dale Carnegie Quotes

One of the major shifts that led to Dale Carnegie’s success is his mindset. He is most remembered by his mindset which is infectious. These are some notable quotes that help to demonstrate the thoughts that fueled his actions…

  • Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
  • Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
  • Even god doesn’t propose to judge a man till his last days, why should you and I?
  • You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
    Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.
  • To be interesting, be interested.
  • Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurt his sense of importance and arouses resentment.
  • People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
  • All men have fears, but the brave put down their fears and go forward, sometimes to death, but always to victory.
  • You can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry.
  • Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones tend to take care of themselves.
  • Big shots are only little shots who kept on shooting.
  • By fighting, you never get enough – but by yielding, you get more than you expected.
  • You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or is discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.
  • Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.
  • Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.
  • “Instead of condemning people, let’s try yo understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance, and kindness. “To know all is to forgive all”.
  • “There is only one way under heaven to get anybody to do anything. Did you ever stop to think of that? Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it.
  • So the only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.
  • The desire for a feeling of importance is one of the chief distinguishing differences between manking and the animals.
  • If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep.
  • Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
  • If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done.
  • The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.
  • The chronic kicker, even the most violent critic, will frequently soften and be subdued in the presence of a patient, sympathetic listener – a listener who will be silent while the irate fault-finder dilates like a king cobra and spews the poison out of his system.
  • Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions.
  • Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.
  • When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness.
  • Today is our most precious possession. It is our only sure possession.
  • Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied
  • If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don’t want to be

Recommendations for More from Dale Carnegie

If you enjoyed the quotes by Dale Carnegie and you’d like to learn more from him, these are my top recommendations:

How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

Public Speaking for Success

Final Words on Dale Carnegie

The goal of this article was to inspire you. If Dale Carnegie could escape poverty and become one of the most well-known nonfiction authors of the century, then you can also do amazing things. I hope the biography and quotes serve as motivation for you and help to propel you in your business growth journey. For more tips and advice on growing your business, check out my free Business Growth Framework e-course here.

What is your favorite Dale Carnegie Quote? What were the major takeaways you get from his biography? Leave your answers in the comments below.

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