A Shortcut to Distinction
Part 1 - Fundamental Techniques In Handling People
1 - "If You Want to Gather Honey, Don't Kick Over the Beehive"
2 - The Big Secret of Dealing with People
3 - "He Who Can Do This Has the Whole World with Him. He Who
Cannot, Walks a Lonely Way"
Eight Suggestions On How To Get The Most Out Of This Book
Part 2 - Six Ways To Make People Like You
1 - Do This and You'll Be Welcome Anywhere
2 - A Simple Way to Make a Good Impression
3 - If You Don't Do This, You Are Headed for Trouble
4 - An Easy Way to Become a Good Conversationalist
5 - How to Interest People
6 - How To Make People Like You Instantly
In A Nutshell
Part 3 - Twelve Ways To Win People To Your Way Of Thinking
1 - You Can't Win an Argument
2 - A Sure Way of Making Enemiesand How to Avoid It
3 - If You're Wrong, Admit It
4 - The High Road to a Man's Reason
5 - The Secret of Socrates
6 - The Safety Valve in Handling Complaints
7 - How to Get Co-operation
8 - A Formula That Will Work Wonders for You
9 - What Everybody Wants
10 - An Appeal That Everybody Likes
11 - The Movies Do It. Radio Does It. Why Don't You Do It?
12 - When Nothing Else Works, Try This
In A Nutshell
Part 4 - Nine Ways To Change People Without Giving Offence Or
1 - If You Must Find Fault, This Is the Way to Begin
2 - How to Criticizeand Not Be Hated for It
3 - Talk About Your Own Mistakes First
4 - No One Likes to Take Orders
5 - Let the Other Man Save His Face
6 - How to Spur Men on to Success
7 - Give the Dog a Good Name
8 - Make the Fault Seem Easy to Correct
9 - Making People Glad to Do What You Want
In A Nutshell
Part 5 - Letters That Produced Miraculous Results
Part 6 - Seven Rules For Making Your Home Life Happier
1 - How to Dig Your Marital Grave in the Quickest Possible Way
2 - Love and Let Live
3 - Do This and You'll Be Looking Up the Time-Tables to Reno
4 - A Quick Way to Make Everybody Happy
5 - They Mean So Much to a Woman
6 - If you Want to be Happy, Don't Neglect This One
7 - Don't Be a "Marriage Illiterate"
In A Nutshell
Eight Things This Book Will Help You Achieve
1. Get out of a mental rut, think new thoughts, acquire new
visions, discover new ambitions.
2. Make friends quickly and easily.
3. Increase your popularity.
4. Win people to your way of thinking.
5. Increase your influence, your prestige, your ability to get things
6. Handle complaints, avoid arguments, keep your human contacts
smooth and pleasant.
7. Become a better speaker, a more entertaining conversationalist.
8. Arouse enthusiasm among your associates.
This book has done all these things for more than ten million readers
in thirty-six languages.
Preface to Revised Edition
How to Win Friends and Influence People was first published in 1937
in an edition of only five thousand copies. Neither Dale Carnegie nor
the publishers, Simon and Schuster, anticipated more than this
modest sale. To their amazement, the book became an overnight
sensation, and edition after edition rolled off the presses to keep up
with the increasing public demand. Now to Win Friends and
InfEuence People took its place in publishing history as one of the
all-time international best-sellers. It touched a nerve and filled a
human need that was more than a faddish phenomenon of post-
Depression days, as evidenced by its continued and uninterrupted
sales into the eighties, almost half a century later.
Dale Carnegie used to say that it was easier to make a million dollars
than to put a phrase into the English language. How to Win Friends
and Influence People became such a phrase, quoted, paraphrased,
parodied, used in innumerable contexts from political cartoon to
novels. The book itself was translated into almost every known
written language. Each generation has discovered it anew and has
found it relevant.
Which brings us to the logical question: Why revise a book that has
proven and continues to prove its vigorous and universal appeal?
Why tamper with success?
To answer that, we must realize that Dale Carnegie himself was a
tireless reviser of his own work during his lifetime. How to Win
Friends and Influence People was written to be used as a textbook
for his courses in Effective Speaking and Human Relations and is still
used in those courses today. Until his death in 1955 he constantly
improved and revised the course itself to make it applicable to the
evolving needs of an every-growing public. No one was more
sensitive to the changing currents of present-day life than Dale
Carnegie. He constantly improved and refined his methods of
teaching; he updated his book on Effective Speaking several times.
Had he lived longer, he himself would have revised How to Win
Friends and Influence People to better reflect the changes that have
taken place in the world since the thirties.
Many of the names of prominent people in the book, well known at
the time of first publication, are no longer recognized by many of
today's readers. Certain examples and phrases seem as quaint and
dated in our social climate as those in a Victorian novel. The
important message and overall impact of the book is weakened to
Our purpose, therefore, in this revision is to clarify and strengthen
the book for a modern reader without tampering with the content.
We have not "changed" How to Win Friends and Influence People
except to make a few excisions and add a few more contemporary
examples. The brash, breezy Carnegie style is intact-even the thirties
slang is still there. Dale Carnegie wrote as he spoke, in an intensively
exuberant, colloquial, conversational manner.
So his voice still speaks as forcefully as ever, in the book and in his
work. Thousands of people all over the world are being trained in
Carnegie courses in increasing numbers each year. And other
thousands are reading and studying How to Win Friends and
lnfluence People and being inspired to use its principles to better
their lives. To all of them, we offer this revision in the spirit of the
honing and polishing of a finely made tool.
Dorothy Carnegie (Mrs. Dale Carnegie)
How This Book Was Written-And Why
During the first thirty-five years of the twentieth century, the
publishing houses of America printed more than a fifth of a million
different books. Most of them were deadly dull, and many were
financial failures. "Many," did I say? The president of one of the
largest publishing houses in the world confessed to me that his
company, after seventy-five years of publishing experience, still lost
money on seven out of every eight books it published.
Why, then, did I have the temerity to write another book? And, after
I had written it, why should you bother to read it?
Fair questions, both; and I'll try to answer them.
I have, since 1912, been conducting educational courses for business
and professional men and women in New York. At first, I conducted
courses in public speaking only - courses designed to train adults, by
actual experience, to think on their feet and express their ideas with
more clarity, more effectiveness and more poise, both in business
interviews and before groups.
But gradually, as the seasons passed, I realized that as sorely as
these adults needed training in effective speaking, they needed still
more training in the fine art of getting along with people in everyday
business and social contacts.
I also gradually realized that I was sorely in need of such training
myself. As I look back across the years, I am appalled at my own
frequent lack of finesse and understanding. How I wish a book such
as this had been placed in my hands twenty years ago! What a
priceless boon it would have been.
Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face,
especially if you are in business. Yes, and that is also true if you are
a housewife, architect or engineer. Research done a few years ago
under the auspices of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement
of Teaching uncovered a most important and significant fact - a fact
later confirmed by additional studies made at the Carnegie Institute
of Technology. These investigations revealed that even in such
technical lines as engineering, about 15 percent of one's financial
success is due to one's technical knowledge and about 85 percent is
due to skill in human engineering-to personality and the ability to
For many years, I conducted courses each season at the Engineers'
Club of Philadelphia, and also courses for the New York Chapter of
the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. A total of probably
more than fifteen hundred engineers have passed through my
classes. They came to me because they had finally realized, after
years of observation and experience, that the highest-paid personnel
in engineering are frequently not those who know the most about
engineering. One can for example, hire mere technical ability in
engineering, accountancy, architecture or any other profession at
nominal salaries. But the person who has technical knowledge plus
the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse
enthusiasm among people-that person is headed for higher earning
In the heyday of his activity, John D. Rockefeller said that "the ability
to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or
coffee." "And I will pay more for that ability," said John D., "than for
any other under the sun."
Wouldn't you suppose that every college in the land would conduct
courses to develop the highest-priced ability under the sun? But if
there is just one practical, common-sense course of that kind given
for adults in even one college in the land, it has escaped my
attention up to the present writing.
The University of Chicago and the United Y.M.C.A. Schools conducted
a survey to determine what adults want to study.
That survey cost $25,000 and took two years. The last part of the
survey was made in Meriden, Connecticut. It had been chosen as a
typical American town. Every adult in Meriden was interviewed and
requested to answer 156 questions-questions such as "What is your
business or profession? Your education? How do you spend your
spare time? What is your income? Your hobbies? Your ambitions?
Your problems? What subjects are you most interested in studying?"
And so on. That survey revealed that health is the prime interest of
adults and that their second interest is people; how to understand
and get along with people; how to make people like you; and how to
win others to your way of thinking.
So the committee conducting this survey resolved to conduct such a
course for adults in Meriden. They searched diligently for a practical
textbook on the subject and found-not one. Finally they approached
one of the world's outstanding authorities on adult education and
asked him if he knew of any book that met the needs of this group.
"No," he replied, "I know what those adults want. But the book they
need has never been written."
I knew from experience that this statement was true, for I myself
had been searching for years to discover a practical, working
handbook on human relations.
Since no such book existed, I have tried to write one for use in my
own courses. And here it is. I hope you like it.
In preparation for this book, I read everything that I could find on
the subject- everything from newspaper columns, magazine articles,
records of the family courts, the writings of the old philosophers and
the new psychologists. In addition, I hired a trained researcher to
spend one and a half years in various libraries reading everything I
had missed, plowing through erudite tomes on psychology, poring
over hundreds of magazine articles, searching through countless
biographies, trying to ascertain how the great leaders of all ages had
dealt with people. We read their biographies, We read the life stories
of all great leaders from Julius Caesar to Thomas Edison. I recall that
we read over one hundred biographies of Theodore Roosevelt alone.
We were determined to spare no time, no expense, to discover every
practical idea that anyone had ever used throughout the ages for
winning friends and influencing people.
I personally interviewed scores of successful people, some of them
world-famous-inventors like Marconi and Edison; political leaders like
Franklin D. Roosevelt and James Farley; business leaders like Owen
D. Young; movie stars like Clark Gable and Mary Pickford; and
explorers like Martin Johnson-and tried to discover the techniques
they used in human relations.
From all this material, I prepared a short talk. I called it "How to Win
Friends and Influence People." I say "short." It was short in the
beginning, but it soon expanded to a lecture that consumed one
hour and thirty minutes. For years, I gave this talk each season to
the adults in the Carnegie Institute courses in New York.
I gave the talk and urged the listeners to go out and test it in their
business and social contacts, and then come back to class and speak
about their experiences and the results they had achieved. What an
interesting assignment! These men and women, hungry for selfimprovement,
were fascinated by the idea of working in a new kind
of laboratory - the first and only laboratory of human relationships
for adults that had ever existed.
This book wasn't written in the usual sense of the word. It grew as a
child grows. It grew and developed out of that laboratory, out of the
experiences of thousands of adults.
Years ago, we started with a set of rules printed on a card no larger
than a postcard. The next season we printed a larger card, then a
leaflet, then a series of booklets, each one expanding in size and
scope. After fifteen years of experiment and research came this
The rules we have set down here are not mere theories or
guesswork. They work like magic. Incredible as it sounds, I have
seen the application of these principles literally revolutionize the lives
of many people.
To illustrate: A man with 314 employees joined one of these courses.
For years, he had driven and criticized and condemned his
employees without stint or discretion. Kindness, words of
appreciation and encouragement were alien to his lips. After studying
the principles discussed in this book, this employer sharply altered
his philosophy of life. His organization is now inspired with a new
loyalty, a new enthusiasm, a new spirit of team-work. Three hundred
and fourteen enemies have been turned into 314 friends. As he
proudly said in a speech before the class: "When I used to walk
through my establishment, no one greeted me. My employees
actually looked the other way when they saw me approaching. But
now they are all my friends and even the janitor calls me by my first
This employer gained more profit, more leisure and -what is infinitely
more important-he found far more happiness in his business and in
Countless numbers of salespeople have sharply increased their sales
by the use of these principles. Many have opened up new accounts -
accounts that they had formerly solicited in vain. Executives have
been given increased authority, increased pay. One executive
reported a large increase in salary because he applied these truths.
Another, an executive in the Philadelphia Gas Works Company, was
slated for demotion when he was sixty-five because of his
belligerence, because of his inability to lead people skillfully. This
training not only saved him from the demotion but brought him a
promotion with increased pay.
On innumerable occasions, spouses attending the banquet given at
the end of the course have told me that their homes have been
much happier since their husbands or wives started this training.
People are frequently astonished at the new results they achieve. It
all seems like magic. In some cases, in their enthusiasm, they have
telephoned me at my home on Sundays because they couldn't wait
forty-eight hours to report their achievements at the regular session
of the course.
One man was so stirred by a talk on these principles that he sat far
into the night discussing them with other members of the class. At
three o'clock in the morning, the others went home. But he was so
shaken by a realization of his own mistakes, so inspired by the vista
of a new and richer world opening before him, that he was unable to
sleep. He didn't sleep that night or the next day or the next night.
Who was he? A naive, untrained individual ready to gush over any
new theory that came along? No, Far from it. He was a sophisticated,
blasй dealer in art, very much the man about town, who spoke three
languages fluently and was a graduate of two European universities.
While writing this chapter, I received a letter from a German of the
old school, an aristocrat whose forebears had served for generations
as professional army officers under the Hohenzollerns. His letter,
written from a transatlantic steamer, telling about the application of
these principles, rose almost to a religious fervor.
Another man, an old New Yorker, a Harvard graduate, a wealthy
man, the owner of a large carpet factory, declared he had learned
more in fourteen weeks through this system of training about the
fine art of influencing people than he had learned about the same
subject during his four years in college. Absurd? Laughable?
Fantastic? Of course, you are privileged to dismiss this statement
with whatever adjective you wish. I am merely reporting, without
comment, a declaration made by a conservative and eminently
successful Harvard graduate in a public address to approximately six
hundred people at the Yale Club in New York on the evening of
Thursday, February 23, 1933.
"Compared to what we ought to be," said the famous Professor
William James of Harvard, "compared to what we ought to be, we
are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our
physical and mental resources. Stating the thing broadly, the human
individual thus lives far within his limits. He possesses powers of
various sorts which he habitually fails to use,"
Those powers which you "habitually fail to use"! The sole purpose of
this book is to help you discover, develop and profit by those
dormant and unused assets,
"Education," said Dr. John G. Hibben, former president of Princeton
University, "is the ability to meet life's situations,"
If by the time you have finished reading the first three chapters of
this book- if you aren't then a little better equipped to meet life's
situations, then I shall consider this book to be a total failure so far
as you are concerned. For "the great aim of education," said Herbert
Spencer, "is not knowledge but action."
And this is an action book.
DALE CARNEGIE 1936
Nine Suggestions on How to Get the Most Out of This Book
1. If you wish to get the most out of this book, there is one
indispensable requirement, one essential infinitely more important
than any rule or technique. Unless you have this one fundamental
requisite, a thousand rules on how to study will avail little, And if you
do have this cardinal endowment, then you can achieve wonders
without reading any suggestions for getting the most out of a book.
What is this magic requirement? Just this: a deep, driving desire to
learn, a vigorous determination to increase your ability to deal with
How can you develop such an urge? By constantly reminding yourself
how important these principles are to you. Picture to yourself how
their mastery will aid you in leading a richer, fuller, happier and more
fulfilling life. Say to yourself over and over: "My popularity, my
happiness and sense of worth depend to no small extent upon my
skill in dealing with people."
2. Read each chapter rapidly at first to get a bird's-eye view of it.
You will probably be tempted then to rush on to the next one. But
don't - unless you are reading merely for entertainment. But if you
are reading because you want to increase your skill in human
relations, then go back and reread each chapter thoroughly. In the
long run, this will mean saving time and getting results.
3. Stop frequently in your reading to think over what you are
reading. Ask yourself just how and when you can apply each
4. Read with a crayon, pencil, pen, magic marker or highlighter in
your hand. When you come across a suggestion that you feel you
can use, draw a line beside it. If it is a four-star suggestion, then
underscore every sentence or highlight it, or mark it with "****."
Marking and underscoring a book makes it more interesting, and far
easier to review rapidly.
5. I knew a woman who had been office manager for a large
insurance concern for fifteen years. Every month, she read all the
insurance contracts her company had issued that month. Yes, she
read many of the same contracts over month after month, year after
year. Why? Because experience had taught her that that was the
only way she could keep their provisions clearly in mind. I once spent
almost two years writing a book on public speaking and yet I found I
had to keep going back over it from time to time in order to
remember what I had written in my own book. The rapidity with
which we forget is astonishing.
So, if you want to get a real, lasting benefit out of this book, don't
imagine that skimming through it once will suffice. After reading it
thoroughly, you ought to spend a few hours reviewing it every
month, Keep it on your desk in front of you every day. Glance
through it often. Keep constantly impressing yourself with the rich
possibilities for improvement that still lie in the offing. Remember
that the use of these principles can be made habitual only by a
constant and vigorous campaign of review and application. There is
no other way.
6. Bernard Shaw once remarked: "If you teach a man anything, he
will never learn." Shaw was right. Learning is an active process. We
learn by doing. So, if you desire to master the principles you are
studying in this book, do something about them. Apply these rules at
every opportunity. If you don't you will forget them quickly. Only
knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.
You will probably find it difficult to apply these suggestions all the
time. I know because I wrote the book, and yet frequently I found it
difficult to apply everything I advocated. For example, when you are
displeased, it is much easier to criticize and condemn than it is to try
to understand the other person's viewpoint. It is frequently easier to
find fault than to find praise. It is more natural to talk about what
vou want than to talk about what the other person wants. And so on,
So, as you read this book, remember that you are not merely trying
to acquire information. You are attempting to form new habits. Ah
yes, you are attempting a new way of life. That will require time and
persistence and daily application.
So refer to these pages often. Regard this as a working handbook on
human relations; and whenever you are confronted with some
specific problem - such as handling a child, winning your spouse to
your way of thinking, or satisfying an irritated customer - hesitate
about doing the natural thing, the impulsive thing. This is usually
wrong. Instead, turn to these pages and review the paragraphs you
have underscored. Then try these new ways and watch them achieve
magic for you.
7. Offer your spouse, your child or some business associate a dime
or a dollar every time he or she catches you violating a certain
principle. Make a lively game out of mastering these rules.
8. The president of an important Wall Street bank once described, in
a talk before one of my classes, a highly efficient system he used for
self-improvement. This man had little formal schooling; yet he had
become one of the most important financiers in America, and he
confessed that he owed most of his success to the constant
application of his homemade system. This is what he does, I'll put it
in his own words as accurately as I can remember.
"For years I have kept an engagement book showing all the
appointments I had during the day. My family never made any plans
for me on Saturday night, for the family knew that I devoted a part
of each Saturday evening to the illuminating process of selfexamination
and review and appraisal. After dinner I went off by
myself, opened my engagement book, and thought over all the
interviews, discussions and meetings that had taken place during the
week. I asked myself:
'What mistakes did I make that time?' 'What did I do that was rightand
in what way could I have improved my performance?' 'What
lessons can I learn from that experience?'
"I often found that this weekly review made me very unhappy. I was
frequently astonished at my own blunders. Of course, as the years
passed, these blunders became less frequent. Sometimes I was
inclined to pat myself on the back a little after one of these sessions.
This system of self-analysis, self-education, continued year after
year, did more for me than any other one thing I have ever
"It helped me improve my ability to make decisions - and it aided me
enormously in all my contacts with people. I cannot recommend it
Why not use a similar system to check up on your application of the
principles discussed in this book? If you do, two things will result.
First, you will find yourself engaged in an educational process that is
both intriguing and priceless.
Second, you will find that your ability to meet and deal with people
will grow enormously.
9. You will find at the end of this book several blank pages on which
you should record your triumphs in the application of these
principles. Be specific. Give names, dates, results. Keeping such a
record will inspire you to greater efforts; and how fascinating these
entries will be when you chance upon them some evening years from
In order to get the most out of this book:
a. Develop a deep, driving desire to master the principles of human
b. Read each chapter twice before going on to the next one.
c. As you read, stop frequently to ask yourself how you can apply
d. Underscore each important idea.
e. Review this book each month.
f. Apply these principles at every opportunity. Use this volume as a
working handbook to help you solve your daily problems.
g. Make a lively game out of your learning by offering some friend
a dime or a dollar every time he or she catches you violating one of
h. Check up each week on the progress you are mak-ing. Ask
yourself what mistakes you have made, what improvement, what
lessons you have learned for the future.
i. Keep notes in the back of this book showing how and when you
have applied these principles.
A Shortcut to Distinction
by Lowell Thomas
This biographical information about Dale Carnegie was written as an
introduction to the original edition of How to Win Friends and
Influence People. It is reprinted in this edition to give the readers
additional background on Dale Carnegie.
It was a cold January night in 1935, but the weather couldn't keep
them away. Two thousand five hundred men and women thronged
into the grand ballroom of the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York. Every
available seat was filled by half-past seven. At eight o'clock, the
eager crowd was still pouring in. The spacious balcony was soon
jammed. Presently even standing space was at a premium, and
hundreds of people, tired after navigating a day in business, stood
up for an hour and a half that night to witness - what?
A fashion show?
A six-day bicycle race or a personal appearance by Clark Gable?
No. These people had been lured there by a newspaper ad. Two
evenings previously, they had seen this full-page announcement in
the New York Sun staring them in the face:
Learn to Speak Effectively Prepare for Leadership
Old stuff? Yes, but believe it or not, in the most sophisticated town
on earth, during a depression with 20 percent of the population on
relief, twenty-five hundred people had left their homes and hustled
to the hotel in response to that ad.
The people who responded were of the upper economic strata -
executives, employers and professionals.
These men and women had come to hear the opening gun of an
ultramodern, ultrapractical course in "Effective Speaking and
Influencing Men in Business"- a course given by the Dale Carnegie
Institute of Effective Speaking and Human Relations.
Why were they there, these twenty-five hundred business men and
Because of a sudden hunger for more education because of the
Apparently not, for this same course had been playing to packed
houses in New York City every season for the preceding twenty-four
years. During that time, more than fifteen thousand business and
professional people had been trained by Dale Carnegie. Even large,
skeptical, conservative organizations such as the Westinghouse
Electric Company, the McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, the Brooklyn
Union Gas Company, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the
American Institute of Electrical Engineers and the New York
Telephone Company have had this training conducted in their own
offices for the benefit of their members and executives.
The fact that these people, ten or twenty years after leaving grade
school, high school or college, come and take this training is a
glaring commentary on the shocking deficiencies of our educational
What do adults really want to study? That is an important question;
and in order to answer it, the University of Chicago, the American
Association for Adult Education, and the United Y.M.C.A. Schools
made a survey over a two-year period.
That survey revealed that the prime interest of adults is health. It
also revealed that their second interest is in developing skill in
human relationships - they want to learn the technique of getting
along with and influencing other people. They don't want to become
public speakers, and they don't want to listen to a lot of high
sounding talk about psychology; they want suggestions they can use
immediately in business, in social contacts and in the home.
So that was what adults wanted to study, was it?
"All right," said the people making the survey. "Fine. If that is what
they want, we'll give it to them."
Looking around for a textbook, they discovered that no working
manual had ever been written to help people solve their daily
problems in human relationships.
Here was a fine kettle of fish! For hundreds of years, learned
volumes had been written on Greek and Latin and higher
mathematics - topics about which the average adult doesn't give two
hoots. But on the one subject on which he has a thirst for
knowledge, a veritable passion for guidance and help - nothing!
This explained the presence of twenty-five hundred eager adults
crowding into the grand ballroom of the Hotel Pennsylvania in
response to a newspaper advertisement. Here, apparently, at last
was the thing for which they had long been seeking.
Back in high school and college, they had pored over books,
believing that knowledge alone was the open sesame to financial -
and professional rewards.
But a few years in the rough-and-tumble of business and
professional life had brought sharp dissillusionment. They had seen
some of the most important business successes won by men who
possessed, in addition to their knowledge, the ability to talk well, to
win people to their way of thinking, and to "sell" themselves and
They soon discovered that if one aspired to wear the captain's cap
and navigate the ship of business, personality and the ability to talk
are more important than a knowledge of Latin verbs or a sheepskin
The advertisement in the New York Sun promised that the meeting
would be highly entertaining. It was. Eighteen people who had taken
the course were marshaled in front of the loudspeaker - and fifteen
of them were given precisely seventy-five seconds each to tell his or
her story. Only seventy-five seconds of talk, then "bang" went the
gavel, and the chairman shouted, "Time! Next speaker!"
The affair moved with the speed of a herd of buffalo thundering
across the plains. Spectators stood for an hour and a half to watch
The speakers were a cross section of life: several sales
representatives, a chain store executive, a baker, the president of a
trade association, two bankers, an insurance agent, an accountant, a
dentist, an architect, a druggist who had come from Indianapolis to
New York to take the course, a lawyer who had come from Havana
in order to prepare himself to give one important three-minute
The first speaker bore the Gaelic name Patrick J. O'Haire. Born in
Ireland, he attended school for only four years, drifted to America,
worked as a mechanic, then as a chauffeur.
Now, however, he was forty, he had a growing family and needed
more money, so he tried selling trucks. Suffering from an inferiority
complex that, as he put it, was eating his heart out, he had to walk
up and down in front of an office half a dozen times before he could
summon up enough courage to open the door. He was so
discouraged as a salesman that he was thinking of going back to
working with his hands in a machine shop, when one day he
received a letter inviting him to an organization meeting of the Dale
Carnegie Course in Effective Speaking.
He didn't want to attend. He feared he would have to associate with
a lot of college graduates, that he would be out of place.
His despairing wife insisted that he go, saying, "It may do you some
good, Pat. God knows you need it." He went down to the place
where the meeting was to be held and stood on the sidewalk for five
minutes before he could generate enough self-confidence to enter
The first few times he tried to speak in front of the others, he was
dizzy with fear. But as the weeks drifted by, he lost all fear of
audiences and soon found that he loved to talk - the bigger the
crowd, the better. And he also lost his fear of individuals and of his
superiors. He presented his ideas to them, and soon he had been
advanced into the sales department. He had become a valued and
much liked member of his company. This night, in the Hotel
Pennsylvania, Patrick O'Haire stood in front of twenty-five hundred
people and told a gay, rollicking story of his achievements. Wave
after wave of laughter swept over the audience. Few professional
speakers could have equaled his performance.
The next speaker, Godfrey Meyer, was a gray-headed banker, the
father of eleven children. The first time he had attempted to speak in
class, he was literally struck dumb. His mind refused to function. His
story is a vivid illustration of how leadership gravitates to the person
who can talk.
He worked on Wall Street, and for twenty-five years he had been
living in Clifton, New Jersey. During that time, he had taken no
active part in community affairs and knew perhaps five hundred
Shortly after he had enrolled in the Carnegie course, he received his
tax bill and was infuriated by what he considered unjust charges.
Ordinarily, he would have sat at home and fumed, or he would have
taken it out in grousing to his neighbors. But instead, he put on his
hat that night, walked into the town meeting, and blew off steam in
As a result of that talk of indignation, the citizens of Clifton, New
Jersey, urged him to run for the town council. So for weeks he went
from one meeting to another, denouncing waste and municipal
There were ninety-six candidates in the field. When the ballots were
counted, lo, Godfrey Meyer's name led all the rest. Almost overnight,
he had become a public figure among the forty thousand people in
his community. As a result of his talks, he made eighty times more
friends in six weeks than he had been able to previously in twentyfive
And his salary as councilman meant that he got a return of 1,000
percent a year on his investment in the Carnegie course.
The third speaker, the head of a large national association of food
manufacturers, told how he had been unable to stand up and
express his ideas at meetings of a board of directors.
As a result of learning to think on his feet, two astonishing things
happened. He was soon made president of his association, and in
that capacity, he was obliged to address meetings all over the United
States. Excerpts from his talks were put on the Associated Press
wires and printed in newspapers and trade magazines throughout
In two years, after learning to speak more effectively, he received
more free publicity for his company and its products than he had
been able to get previously with a quarter of a million dollars spent
in direct advertising. This speaker admitted that he had formerly
hesitated to telephone some of the more important business
executives in Manhattan and invite them to lunch with him. But as a
result of the prestige he had acquired by his talks, these same
people telephoned him and invited him to lunch and apologized to
him for encroaching on his time.
The ability to speak is a shortcut to distinction. It puts a person in
the limelight, raises one head and shoulders above the crowd. And
the person who can speak acceptably is usually given credit for an
ability out of all proportion to what he or she really possesses.
A movement for adult education has been sweeping over the nation;
and the most spectacular force in that movement was Dale Carnegie,
a man who listened to and critiqued more talks by adults than has
any other man in captivity. According to a cartoon by "Believe-It-or-
Not" Ripley, he had criticized 150,000 speeches. If that grand total
doesn't impress you, remember that it meant one talk for almost
every day that has passed since Columbus discovered America. Or,
to put it in other words, if all the people who had spoken before him
had used only three minutes and had appeared before him in
succession, it would have taken ten months, listening day and night,
to hear them all.
Dale Carnegie's own career, filled with sharp contrasts, was a striking
example of what a person can accomplish when obsessed with an
original idea and afire with enthusiasm.
Born on a Missouri farm ten miles from a railway, he never saw a
streetcar until he was twelve years old; yet by the time he was fortysix,
he was familiar with the far-flung corners of the earth,
everywhere from Hong Kong to Hammerfest; and, at one time, he
approached closer to the North Pole than Admiral Byrd's
headquarters at Little America was to the South Pole.
This Missouri lad who had once picked strawberries and cut
cockleburs for five cents an hour became the highly paid trainer of
the executives of large corporations in the art of self-expression.
This erstwhile cowboy who had once punched cattle and branded
calves and ridden fences out in western South Dakota later went to
London to put on shows under the patronage of the royal family.
This chap who was a total failure the first half-dozen times he tried
to speak in public later became my personal manager. Much of my
success has been due to training under Dale Carnegie.
Young Carnegie had to struggle for an education, for hard luck was
always battering away at the old farm in northwest Missouri with a
flying tackle and a body slam. Year after year, the "102" River rose
and drowned the corn and swept away the hay. Season after season,
the fat hogs sickened and died from cholera, the bottom fell out of
the market for cattle and mules, and the bank threatened to
foreclose the mortgage.
Sick with discouragement, the family sold out and bought another
farm near the State Teachers' College at Warrensburg, Missouri.
Board and room could be had in town for a dollar a day, but young
Carnegie couldn't afford it. So he stayed on the farm and commuted
on horseback three miles to college each day. At home, he milked
the cows, cut the wood, fed the hogs, and studied his Latin verbs by
the light of a coal-oil lamp until his eyes blurred and he began to
Even when he got to bed at midnight, he set the alarm for three
o'clock. His father bred pedigreed Duroc-Jersey hogs - and there was
danger, during the bitter cold nights, that the young pigs would
freeze to death; so they were put in a basket, covered with a gunny
sack, and set behind the kitchen stove. True to their nature, the pigs
demanded a hot meal at 3 A.M. So when the alarm went off, Dale
Carnegie crawled out of the blankets, took the basket of pigs out to
their mother, waited for them to nurse, and then brought them back
to the warmth of the kitchen stove.
There were six hundred students in State Teachers' College, and
Dale Carnegie was one of the isolated half-dozen who couldn't afford
to board in town. He was ashamed of the poverty that made it
necessary for him to ride back to the farm and milk the cows every
night. He was ashamed of his coat, which was too tight, and his
trousers, which were too short. Rapidly developing an inferiority
complex, he looked about for some shortcut to distinction. He soon
saw that there were certain groups in college that enjoyed influence
and prestige - the football and baseball players and the chaps who
won the debating and public-speaking contests.
Realizing that he had no flair for athletics, he decided to win one of
the speaking contests. He spent months preparing his talks. He
practiced as he sat in the saddle galloping to college and back; he
practiced his speeches as he milked the cows; and then he mounted
a bale of hay in the barn and with great gusto and gestures
harangued the frightened pigeons about the issues of the day.
But in spite of all his earnestness and preparation, he met with
defeat after defeat. He was eighteen at the time - sensitive and
proud. He became so discouraged, so depressed, that he even
thought of suicide. And then suddenly he began to win, not one
contest, but every speaking contest in college.
Other students pleaded with him to train them; and they won also.
After graduating from college, he started selling correspondence
courses to the ranchers among the sand hills of western Nebraska
and eastern Wyoming. In spite of all his boundless energy and
enthusiasm, he couldn't make the grade. He became so discouraged
that he went to his hotel room in Alliance, Nebraska, in the middle of
the day, threw himself across the bed, and wept in despair. He
longed to go back to college, he longed to retreat from the harsh
battle of life; but he couldn't. So he resolved to go to Omaha and get
another job. He didn't have the money for a railroad ticket, so he
traveled on a freight train, feeding and watering two carloads of wild
horses in return for his passage, After landing in south Omaha, he
got a job selling bacon and soap and lard for Armour and Company.
His territory was up among the Badlands and the cow and Indian
country of western South Dakota. He covered his territory by freight
train and stage coach and horseback and slept in pioneer hotels
where the only partition between the rooms was a sheet of muslin.
He studied books on salesmanship, rode bucking bronchos, played
poker with the Indians, and learned how to collect money. And
when, for example, an inland storekeeper couldn't pay cash for the
bacon and hams he had ordered, Dale Carnegie would take a dozen
pairs of shoes off his shelf, sell the shoes to the railroad men, and
forward the receipts to Armour and Company.
He would often ride a freight train a hundred miles a day. When the
train stopped to unload freight, he would dash uptown, see three or
four merchants, get his orders; and when the whistle blew, he would
dash down the street again lickety-split and swing onto the train
while it was moving.
Within two years, he had taken an unproductive territory that had
stood in the twenty-fifth place and had boosted it to first place
among all the twenty-nine car routes leading out of south Omaha.
Armour and Company offered to promote him, saying: "You have
achieved what seemed impossible." But he refused the promotion
and resigned, went to New York, studied at the American Academy
of Dramatic Arts, and toured the country, playing the role of Dr.
Hartley in Polly of the Circus.
He would never be a Booth or a Barrymore. He had the good sense
to recognize that, So back he went to sales work, selling automobiles
and trucks for the Packard Motor Car Company.
He knew nothing about machinery and cared nothing about it.
Dreadfully unhappy, he had to scourge himself to his task each day.
He longed to have time to study, to write the books he had dreamed
about writing back in college. So he resigned. He was going to spend
his days writing stories and novels and support himself by teaching
in a night school.
Teaching what? As he looked back and evaluated his college work,
he saw that his training in public speaking had done more to give
him confidence, courage, poise and the ability to meet and deal with
people in business than had all the rest of his college courses put
together, So he urged the Y.M.C.A. schools in New York to give him
a chance to conduct courses in public speaking for people in
What? Make orators out of business people? Absurd. The Y.M.C.A.
people knew. They had tried such courses -and they had always
failed. When they refused to pay him a salary of two dollars a night,
he agreed to teach on a commission basis and take a percentage of
the net profits -if there were any profits to take. And inside of three
years they were paying him thirty dollars a night on that basis -
instead of two.
The course grew. Other "Ys" heard of it, then other cities. Dale
Carnegie soon became a glorified circuit rider covering New York,
Philadelphia, Baltimore and later London and Paris. All the textbooks
were too academic and impractical for the business people who
flocked to his courses. Because of this he wrote his own book
entitled Public Speaking and Influencing Men in Business. It became
the official text of all the Y.M.C.A.s as well as of the American
Bankers' Association and the National Credit Men's Association.
Dale Carnegie claimed that all people can talk when they get mad.
He said that if you hit the most ignorant man in town on the jaw and
knock him down, he would get on his feet and talk with an
eloquence, heat and emphasis that would have rivaled that world
famous orator William Jennings Bryan at the height of his career. He
claimed that almost any person can speak acceptably in public if he
or she has self-confidence and an idea that is boiling and stewing
The way to develop self-confidence, he said, is to do the thing you
fear to do and get a record of successful experiences behind you. So
he forced each class member to talk at every session of the course.
The audience is sympathetic. They are all in the same boat; and, by
constant practice, they develop a courage, confidence and
enthusiasm that carry over into their private speaking.
Dale Carnegie would tell you that he made a living all these years,
not by teaching public speaking - that was incidental. His main job
was to help people conquer their fears and develop courage.
He started out at first to conduct merely a course in public speaking,
but the students who came were business men and women. Many of
them hadn't seen the inside of a classroom in thirty years. Most of
them were paying their tuition on the installment plan. They wanted
results and they wanted them quick - results that they could use the
next day in business interviews and in speaking before groups.
So he was forced to be swift and practical. Consequently, he
developed a system of training that is unique - a striking combination
of public speaking, salesmanship, human relations and applied
A slave to no hard-and-fast rules, he developed a course that is as
real as the measles and twice as much fun.
When the classes terminated, the graduates formed clubs of their
own and continued to meet fortnightly for years afterward. One
group of nineteen in Philadelphia met twice a month during the
winter season for seventeen years. Class members frequently travel
fifty or a hundred miles to attend classes. One student used to
commute each week from Chicago to New York. Professor William
James of Harvard used to say that the average person develops only
10 percent of his latent mental ability. Dale Carnegie, by helping
business men and women to develop their latent possibilities,
created one of the most significant movements in adult education
LOWELL THOMAS 1936
Part One - Fundamental Techniques In Handling People
1 "If You Want To Gather Honey, Don't Kick Over The Beehive"
On May 7, 1931, the most sensational manhunt New York City had
ever known had come to its climax. After weeks of search, "Two
Gun" Crowley - the killer, the gunman who didn't smoke or drink -
was at bay, trapped in his sweetheart's apartment on West End
One hundred and fifty policemen and detectives laid siege to his topfloor
hideway. They chopped holes in the roof; they tried to smoke
out Crowley, the "cop killer," with teargas. Then they mounted their
machine guns on surrounding buildings, and for more than an hour
one of New York's fine residential areas reverberated with the crack
of pistol fire and the rut-tat-tat of machine guns. Crowley, crouching
behind an over-stuffed chair, fired incessantly at the police. Ten
thousand excited people watched the battle. Nothing like it ever
been seen before on the sidewalks of New York.
When Crowley was captured, Police Commissioner E. P. Mulrooney
declared that the two-gun desperado was one of the most dangerous
criminals ever encountered in the history of New York. "He will kill,"
said the Commissioner, "at the drop of a feather."
But how did "Two Gun" Crowley regard himself? We know, because
while the police were firing into his apartment, he wrote a letter
addressed "To whom it may concern, " And, as he wrote, the blood
flowing from his wounds left a crimson trail on the paper. In this
letter Crowley said: "Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one
- one that would do nobody any harm."
A short time before this, Crowley had been having a necking party
with his girl friend on a country road out on Long Island. Suddenly a
policeman walked up to the car and said: "Let me see your license."
Without saying a word, Crowley drew his gun and cut the policeman
down with a shower of lead. As the dying officer fell, Crowley leaped
out of the car, grabbed the officer's revolver, and fired another bullet
into the prostrate body. And that was the killer who said: "Under my
coat is a weary heart, but a kind one - one that would do nobody
Crowley was sentenced to the electric chair. When he arrived at the
death house in Sing Sing, did he say, "This is what I get for killing
people"? No, he said: "This is what I get for defending myself."
The point of the story is this: "Two Gun" Crowley didn't blame
himself for anything.
Is that an unusual attitude among criminals? If you think so, listen to
"I have spent the best years of my life giving people the lighter
pleasures, helping them have a good time, and all I get is abuse, the
existence of a hunted man."
That's Al Capone speaking. Yes, America's most notorious Public
Enemy- the most sinister gang leader who ever shot up Chicago.
Capone didn't condemn himself. He actually regarded himself as a
public benefactor - an unappreciated and misunderstood public
And so did Dutch Schultz before he crumpled up under gangster
bullets in Newark. Dutch Schultz, one of New York's most notorious
rats, said in a newspaper interview that he was a public benefactor.
And he believed it.
I have had some interesting correspondence with Lewis Lawes, who
was warden of New York's infamous Sing Sing prison for many years,
on this subject, and he declared that "few of the criminals in Sing
Sing regard themselves as bad men. They are just as human as you
and I. So they rationalize, they explain. They can tell you why they
had to crack a safe or be quick on the trigger finger. Most of them
attempt by a form of reasoning, fallacious or logical, to justify their
antisocial acts even to themselves, consequently stoutly maintaining
that they should never have been imprisoned at all."
If Al Capone, "Two Gun" Crowley, Dutch Schultz, and the desperate
men and women behind prison walls don't blame themselves for
anything - what about the people with whom you and I come in
John Wanamaker, founder of the stores that bear his name, once
confessed: "I learned thirty years ago that it is foolish to scold. I
have enough trouble overcoming my own limitations without fretting
over the fact that God has not seen fit to distribute evenly the gift of
Wanamaker learned this lesson early, but I personally had to blunder
through this old world for a third of a century before it even began
to dawn upon me that ninety-nine times out of a hundred, people
don't criticize themselves for anything, no matter how wrong it may
Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and
usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous,
because it wounds a person's precious pride, hurts his sense of
importance, and arouses resentment.
B. F. Skinner, the world-famous psychologist, proved through his
experiments that an animal rewarded for good behavior will learn
much more rapidly and retain what it learns far more effectively than
an animal punished for bad behavior. Later studies have shown that
the same applies to humans. By criticizing, we do not make lasting
changes and often incur resentment.
Hans Selye, another great psychologist, said, "As much as we thirst
for approval, we dread condemnation,"
The resentment that criticism engenders can demoralize employees,
family members and friends, and still not correct the situation that
has been condemned.
George B. Johnston of Enid, Oklahoma, is the safety coordinator for
an engineering company, One of his re-sponsibilities is to see that
employees wear their hard hats whenever they are on the job in the
field. He reported that whenever he came across workers who were
not wearing hard hats, he would tell them with a lot of authority of
the regulation and that they must comply. As a result he would get
sullen acceptance, and often after he left, the workers would remove
He decided to try a different approach. The next time he found some
of the workers not wearing their hard hat, he asked if the hats were
uncomfortable or did not fit properly. Then he reminded the men in a
pleasant tone of voice that the hat was designed to protect them
from injury and suggested that it always be worn on the job. The
result was increased compliance with the regulation with no
resentment or emotional upset.
You will find examples of the futility of criticism bristling on a
thousand pages of history, Take, for example, the famous quarrel
between Theodore Roosevelt and President Taft - a quarrel that split
the Republican party, put Woodrow Wilson in the White House, and
wrote bold, luminous lines across the First World War and altered the
flow of history. Let's review the facts quickly. When Theodore
Roosevelt stepped out of the White House in 1908, he supported
Taft, who was elected President. Then Theodore Roosevelt went off
to Africa to shoot lions. When he returned, he exploded. He
denounced Taft for his conservatism, tried to secure the nomination
for a third term himself, formed the Bull Moose party, and all but
demolished the G.O.P. In the election that followed, William Howard
Taft and the Republican party carried only two states - Vermont and
Utah. The most disastrous defeat the party had ever known.
Theodore Roosevelt blamed Taft, but did President Taft blame
himself? Of course not, With tears in his eyes, Taft said: "I don't see
how I could have done any differently from what I have."
Who was to blame? Roosevelt or Taft? Frankly, I don't know, and I
don't care. The point I am trying to make is that all of Theodore
Roosevelt's criticism didn't persuade Taft that he was wrong. It
merely made Taft strive to justify himself and to reiterate with tears
in his eyes: "I don't see how I could have done any differently from
what I have."
Or, take the Teapot Dome oil scandal. It kept the newspapers ringing
with indignation in the early 1920s. It rocked the nation! Within the
memory of living men, nothing like it had ever happened before in
American public life. Here are the bare facts of the scandal: Albert B.
Fall, secretary of the interior in Harding's cabinet, was entrusted with
the leasing of government oil reserves at Elk Hill and Teapot Dome -
oil reserves that had been set aside for the future use of the Navy.
Did secretary Fall permit competitive bidding? No sir. He handed the
fat, juicy contract outright to his friend Edward L. Doheny. And what
did Doheny do? He gave Secretary Fall what he was pleased to call a
"loan" of one hundred thousand dollars. Then, in a high-handed
manner, Secretary Fall ordered United States Marines into the district
to drive off competitors whose adjacent wells were sapping oil out of
the Elk Hill reserves. These competitors, driven off their ground at
the ends of guns and bayonets, rushed into court - and blew the lid
off the Teapot Dome scandal. A stench arose so vile that it ruined
the Harding Administration, nauseated an entire nation, threatened
to wreck the Republican party, and put Albert B. Fall behind prison
Fall was condemned viciously - condemned as few men in public life
have ever been. Did he repent? Never! Years later Herbert Hoover
intimated in a public speech that President Harding's death had been
due to mental anxiety and worry because a friend had betrayed him.
When Mrs. Fall heard that, she sprang from her chair, she wept, she
shook her fists at fate and screamed: "What! Harding betrayed by
Fall? No! My husband never betrayed anyone. This whole house full
of gold would not tempt my husband to do wrong. He is the one who
has been betrayed and led to the slaughter and crucified."
There you are; human nature in action, wrongdoers, blaming
everybody but themselves. We are all like that. So when you and I
are tempted to criticize someone tomorrow, let's remember Al
Capone, "Two Gun" Crowley and Albert Fall. Let's realize that
criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home. Let's
realize that the person we are going to correct and condemn will
probably justify himself or herself, and condemn us in return; or, like
the gentle Taft, will say: "I don't see how I could have done any
differently from what I have."
On the morning of April 15, 1865, Abraham Lincoln lay dying in a hall
bedroom of a cheap lodging house directly across the street from
Ford's Theater, where John Wilkes Booth had shot him. Lincoln's
long body lay stretched diagonally across a sagging bed that was too
short for him. A cheap reproduction of Rosa Bonheur's famous
painting The Horse Fair hung above the bed, and a dismal gas jet
flickered yellow light.
As Lincoln lay dying, Secretary of War Stanton said, "There lies the
most perfect ruler of men that the world has ever seen."
What was the secret of Lincoln's success in dealing with people? I
studied the life of Abraham Lincoln for ten years and devoted all of
three years to writing and rewriting a book entitled Lincoln the
Unknown. I believe I have made as detailed and exhaustive a study
of Lincoln's personality and home life as it is possible for any being to
make. I made a special study of Lincoln's method of dealing with
people. Did he indulge in criticism? Oh, yes. As a young man in the
Pigeon Creek Valley of Indiana, he not only criticized but he wrote
letters and poems ridiculing people and dropped these letters on the
country roads where they were sure to be found. One of these
letters aroused resentments that burned for a lifetime.
Even after Lincoln had become a practicing lawyer in Springfield,
Illinois, he attacked his opponents openly in letters published in the
newspapers. But he did this just once too often.
In the autumn of 1842 he ridiculed a vain, pugnacious politician by
the name of James Shields. Lincoln lamned him through an
anonymous letter published in Springfield Journal. The town roared
with laughter. Shields, sensitive and proud, boiled with indignation.
He found out who wrote the letter, leaped on his horse, started after
Lincoln, and challenged him to fight a duel. Lincoln didn't want to
fight. He was opposed to dueling, but he couldn't get out of it and
save his honor. He was given the choice of weapons. Since he had
very long arms, he chose cavalry broadswords and took lessons in
sword fighting from a West Point graduate; and, on the appointed
day, he and Shields met on a sandbar in the Mississippi River,
prepared to fight to the death; but, at the last minute, their seconds
interrupted and stopped the duel.
That was the most lurid personal incident in Lincoln's life. It taught
him an invaluable lesson in the art of dealing with people. Never
again did he write an insulting letter. Never again did he ridicule
anyone. And from that time on, he almost never criticized anybody
Time after time, during the Civil War, Lincoln put a new general at
the head of the Army of the Potomac, and each one in turn -
McClellan, Pope, Burnside, Hooker, Meade - blundered tragically and
drove Lincoln to pacing the floor in despair. Half the nation savagely
condemned these incompetent generals, but Lincoln, "with malice
toward none, with charity for all," held his peace. One of his favorite
quotations was "Judge not, that ye be not judged."
And when Mrs. Lincoln and others spoke harshly of the southern
people, Lincoln replied: "Don't criticize them; they are just what we
would be under similar circumstances."
Yet if any man ever had occasion to criticize, surely it was Lincoln.
Let's take just one illustration:
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought during the first three days of
July 1863. During the night of July 4, Lee began to retreat southward
while storm clouds deluged the country with rain. When Lee reached
the Potomac with his defeated army, he found a swollen, impassable
river in front of him, and a victorious Union Army behind him. Lee
was in a trap. He couldn't escape. Lincoln saw that. Here was a
golden, heaven-sent opportunity-the opportunity to capture Lee's
army and end the war immediately. So, with a surge of high hope,
Lincoln ordered Meade not to call a council of war but to attack Lee
immediately. Lincoln telegraphed his orders and then sent a special
messenger to Meade demanding immediate action.
And what did General Meade do? He did the very opposite of what
he was told to do. He called a council of war in direct violation of
Lincoln's orders. He hesitated. He procrastinated. He telegraphed all
manner of excuses. He refused point-blank to attack Lee. Finally the
waters receded and Lee escaped over the Potomac with his forces.
Lincoln was furious, " What does this mean?" Lincoln cried to his son
Robert. "Great God! What does this mean? We had them within our
grasp, and had only to stretch forth our hands and they were ours;
yet nothing that I could say or do could make the army move. Under
the circumstances, almost any general could have defeated Lee. If I
had gone up there, I could have whipped him myself."
In bitter disappointment, Lincoln sat down and wrote Meade this
letter. And remember, at this period of his life Lincoln was extremely
conservative and restrained in his phraseology. So this letter coming
from Lincoln in 1863 was tantamount to the severest rebuke.
My dear General,
I do not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortune
involved in Lee's escape. He was within our easy grasp, and to have
closed upon him would, in connection With our other late successes,
have ended the war. As it is, the war will be prolonged indefinitely. If
you could not safely attack Lee last Monday, how can you possibly
do so south of the river, when you can take with you very few-no
more than two-thirds of the force you then had in hand? It would be
unreasonable to expect and I do not expect that you can now effect
much. Your golden opportunity is gone, and I am distressed
immeasurably because of it.
What do you suppose Meade did From India
, New Delhi