Born into a meager Missouri farm family, Dale Carnegie lifted himself from poverty to become one of the most influential figures of his time.
As a teacher and author during the first half of the 20th century, he emerged as America’s foremost spokesman of success, insisting that in modern urban, bureaucratic society, personal advancement came less from hard work and firm moral character than from the development of social skills and a sparkling personality. This compelling idea became the foundation for How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936), one of the best-selling nonfiction books in American history.
Before Norman Vincent Peale, Stephen Covey and Oprah Winfrey, there was Dale Carnegie, the man Life magazine named one of “the most important Americans of the twentieth century.” So while Thomas Jefferson coined that most American of phrases—“the pursuit of happiness,” in many ways, Dale Carnegie defined its modern meaning.
Join us as University of Missouri history professor Steven Watts tells the story of Carnegie’s personal journey and how it gave rise to the self-help movement and personal reinvention.