How To Lose Friends And Alienate People

The original “How To Win Friends & Influence People” has been a 15-million best seller ever since it came out in 1937. Since then — even long before then — its core formula has been a winning one for shamans, oracles, gurus, how-to-authors and positive-thinking writers alike. Why…? You know why…! They all offer you the golden goose to ride through life dropping golden eggs wherever you venture.

This is not to kill the goose. But have you ever been backstage during one of these big-name seminars whose flashy titles range anywhere from”You’re The One” to “Bring On The World.” It’s not unlike peeking behind the Wizard’s now-infamous curtain. A band of brothers who have each made their fortune in different ways, and are here joined at the hip of their bulging personal portfolios. CEOs …retired generals…Hollywood action heroes….hot selling authors…and occasionally some warrior-women who can talk the talk with the best of the boys.

You’ve heard of candidate’s “stump speech?” That’s what these folks are working from. The gig is easy and the pay is extraordinary. Most of them jet in that morning, do their thing for the cheering audience, then jet out that night. What’s known among the rich-and-famous-in-sales as a “quickie.”

Is this to say these are con-artists? Not really. Having worked with many, I have to believe they half-believe their own story of living-the-American-Dream. And if that dream grows a little larger with each seminar…well, what the hell. Your very princely presence should be enough for the hungry little guys in the audience to feel their pricey registration fee was worth it.

Oh, about the title above. As a contract speech writer, I can bear witness that the easiest way to lose friends and alienate people like these is to imply, even politely, they just might want to admit something to their zealous audiences: “Me telling you how I got rich is no guarantee you will too. Or that you should walk away believing rich is the same thing as success. ”

No surprise….! Not one of them I know has ever said this.

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  • "Not one of them I know has ever said this." Well, not exactly true. Apparently either morals, or more likely, fear of being sued for fraud has resulted in the inventors' advertiser on 5.2 saying pretty prominently, after touting that some inventor sold his kiddie car wash to Whamo: "Most inventors don't get these results." Of course, then why bother giving your good money to him? I guess there is always hope.

    However, you are right that most don't. Nor say "the way I got rich was selling these books to you." And I certainly don't understand why WTTW relies on that pap in their pledge drives.

    And as far as con-artists, how about Blago and his disciple Beavers? Are they making fools of themselves before the cameras on their own, or are Glenn Selig and Sam Adam really to blame as enablers?

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack ~ I think we're very much on the same wave length here..Unfortunately it's full of a lot of -- for lack of a safer word -- static!! These guys often do more harm than good, by bulding dreams bigger than most can ever climb.

  • How to Lose Friends and Alienate People - good movie!

  • In reply to David T.:

    Will you be my backer...?

  • It's a little rough dumping Dale Carnegie in with the Power Players who take to the stage in today's world.

    I don't think Carnegie in the years to come will be remembered for that book, but another: "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living". No bombast, not get-rich, no you will be a beacon, but rather a little down home Missouri sense in suggesting to people what they can do with their anxiety and worries. It is as timely now as when it was written in the 1940's.

    The current day "snake oil" pushers are politicians, especially those who convince the ignorant that most everything needed in life can be supplied by the government. At least the Power Players are not sliming around the country on the taxpayers dime.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Right you are, Richard. Carnegie was not in the same snake oil league as the Trumps. My Father lived by both his books. Ahh but the next geberation of motivators is a whole different story

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