CBS Story on Dale Carnegie Training

If you did not get a chance to view the program this past weekend, I have posted the transcript of the show here below. This was taken directly from the CBS site without any alterations.


(CBS News)

Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” (published by Simon and Schuster, a CBS company) has been around for generations. But what’s REALLY interesting is that now it’s been updated for the digital age. Not bad for an author who got his start early in the last century. Richard Schlesinger of “48 Hours” has his story:

Dale Carnegie made a fortune by preaching that nice guys can finish first . . . by following the Golden Rule.

His business is still going strong 75 years after he published his simple recipe for success, just 2 steps: Win friends, and influence people.

Peter Handal, the latest CEO of the Carnegie empire, says that Carnegie’s philosophy in a nutshell was that “you can change people’s behavior by changing your attitude towards them.”

Dale Carnegie Training sells those books and teaches those courses promising to bring you out of your shell. . . speak better . . . listen better . . . be a better person . . . and persuade OTHER people to do what you want.

Handal says an estimated 8 million people have taken the course – the size of some countries!

And there are some impressive alumni. Orville Redenbacher took the course. So did Warren Buffett and John Boehner.

Students are attracted in large part, by the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” published in 1936. It’s a collection of parables and principles. Simple business advice, more Hallmark than Harvard, like . . . smile!

When asked why people may pay good money to learn such elemental lessons as “Be nice to people, don’t humiliate them, don’t bully them,” Handal said, “It’s common sense. The difference is, it’s not common practice.”

At a Dale Carnegie class, everyone speaks – sometimes at the same time – learning to get their message across. This course, which costs close to $2,000 for eight sessions, is pretty much the same today as it was when Carnegie himself started teaching 99 years ago.

Bernie Dicks was sent here by his boss at a New York City dry cleaners. By his own admission he had a few issues dealing with customers.

He’s working on it, though: “I’ve learned how to pause before I react,” he told Schlesinger. “To think about what I’m saying before it comes out of my mouth, which is something I never quite had a grasp on.”

“Did you used to tell off, like, customers?” asked Schlesinger.

“I had rough edges,” Dicks laughed.

He’s a little smoother now, he says, thanks in part to this somewhat chaotic exercise.

What did he learn? “Two people talking at the same time doesn’t work,” he said. “Dealing with the public on a daily basis, you sometimes forget.”

Dale Carnegie started teaching his classes in 1912. He was born dirt poor on a farm in Maryville, Mo., but he went to college. The story is he turned to public speaking to win friends in college since he wasn’t very athletic and felt inferior to the jocks.

After college he became a travelling salesman. He did well. He tried acting. He did not do well.

Later in life, he tried acting again – playing himself in the movie “Jiggs and Maggie in Society,” starring nobody else most people have ever heard of.

But by then, in real life, almost everyone had heard of him . . . hundreds of thousands had signed up to hear him speak.

“He was low-keyed in that respect,” his late wife Dorothy Carnegie said in a 1994 interview. “He didn’t knock people off their perches, you know? I think that was a secret of his charm for why people liked to hear him speak, was that you knew this is a real person talking to you.

“He was not a stuffy man at all, and he was so down to earth you felt you’d known him all your life.”

He’d been teaching for more than 20 years when an editor for Simon and Schuster took his class, and convinced him to write a book . . . the book that launched the empire.

It’s estimated to have sold more than 30 million copies.

Brenda Leigh Johnson is the keeper of the Carnegie flame . . . and an indirect descendant of his. She’s in charge of the “heritage room” at Dale Carnegie headquarters, in Hauppauge, L.I.

There the original manuscript of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ is kept under glass – “Preserved much like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are!” Johnson laughed.

“It’s important to our history. It’s a part of who Dale Carnegie was and what this company was about. He wrote ‘How to Win Friends’ as a textbook to go along with his classes.”

And now, the book has been updated . . . for the digital age. Turns out you can win friends and influence people virtually anytime, even if you never actually see them.

“Dale Carnegie was very big on smiling; How do you smile in an email?” asked Schlesinger. “I guess there’s an emoticon, you know.”

“There is and that, I mean, that’s nice,” said Handal.

“What would he have thought of emoticons?”

“I don’t know, that’s a very good question. But you can choose words that communicate, it takes longer.”

So how does Handal suggest communicating a smile in an email? “I’m having a great day, I hope you are, too. I mean, that’s kind of a pleasant way of saying something.”

“But then you have to say, Where are the sales reports? Right?”

“Yeah, well, you get to that”

And by all reports . . . sales at Dale Carnegie give the company every reason to smile. Today the courses are offered in 80 different countries, from China to Cameroon.

“It strikes me that a lot of the stories that he tells in his book are quintessentially American stories,” said Schlesinger. “How does that translate to somebody in Beijing?”

“That a fascinating question, Richard, because that’s something I’ve been really . . . ”

“Dale Carnegie taught you to say that, didn’t he?”

“No, that’s not true!” Handal laughed. “That’s . . . well, actually yeah, he did, but I would have said it before. The fact is – and I’ve marveled at this – because human nature is the same all over the world, the principles that Dale Carnegie teaches really do work all over the world.”

And as humans it apparently feels natural to pay someone to tell us: Be nice to others . . . Follow the golden rule . . . Even though parents and grandparents have been giving that advice for generations, and for free.

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About rtg7

Leadership trainer, consultant, and educator. Maximizing and developing human potential for leaders and organizations.
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