304 of 305 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
If you had to pick one emotion or feeling that you felt the most, I think most of us would pick worry or anxiety. I know that I would. I am what you would call a worry-wart. I worry about family issues, professional life, and financial troubles all the time. This book has helped realize how limiting those worries and anxieties have been in my life. I've spent so much of my time worrying that I rarely spent it living. The lessons and stories imparted by Dale Carnegie are timeless. Many have called them "obvious," but I think that criticism is reductive. Many of the most poignant lessons are things that have to be reiterated over and over because they are often counter intuitive to human nature. Accepting blame, understanding that you are flawed, and still being able to thrive with that knowledge are all traits we should strive for.
This book inspired me to look for other outlets to improve my life and well-being. I came across 27 Quick Life Transformation Tips: Simple & Effective Methods For Making This Your Best Year Ever last month and I have enjoyed every bit of it. The book details how you can transform your life in a few easy steps by following a simple guide. My professional career was at a low point earlier this year, and I realized I need to make a practical and actionable change in my approach. After reading this book, I was able to gain a great deal motivation and finally break through many of the obstacles that had been holding me back. Of course, this is just one of many tips that the book offers. It also gives you advice on how to stay mentally and physically healthy along with maintaining the solidity of your relationships.
In any event, my new found motivation for life all started with cutting out the worry. Worry will hold you back and keep you from becoming your best self, but the key is to be comfortable with yourself and your actions. Worrying about things never solved anything. If you take actions and follow tips outlined in both of the books I mentioned, then you will be on your way to a life of enlightenment and fulfillment.
210 of 220 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...why doesn't everyone following them? Because that's the biggest knock I've heard regarding this book. Some people are reading each chapter and coming away saying "well that's obvious." Folks, there isn't anything groundbreaking about this book. There isn't some type of genius method of instantly transforming your life around. It was written decades ago but the solid principles still apply today. For example, if you want to add years to your life, take a nap for an hour each day. Carnegie is then going to tell you exactly who did this and how it helped them transform their life. Read this book once, then twice, then a third time and start living these principles. They are simple but effective and they will, as the title implies, help you start living your life.
144 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2008
Dale Carnegie wrote some great books back in the 30's and 40's, and this book is one of them- Carnegie fans won't be disappointed.
The writing style is classic Carnegie. To put it simply, the guy just writes like he talks. This makes for a very friendly and easy to understand book, rather like a good friend giving you a piece of advice.
And a lot of advice he gives. The book is divided up into ten sections, each one tackling some aspect of worrying. I could give you a rundown of the topics, but you don't really need me to repeat the table on contents to decide if you want to read the book. Rather, let me just say that book covers just about every major "worry issue" that might be causing a troubled mind, such as your work, your finances, other people's criticisms- and them some.
While there are no earth-shattering, never-before-seen tips in the book, I wouldn't hesitate for a second to recommend it to anyone who is looking to ease their mind a bit. That's because it does a GREAT job of conveying simple wisdom that really make you think good and hard about why you're worrying and if those things are really worth worrying about at all.
In short, its a bestseller because it makes a lot of sense and its advice can do a lot to re-frame your thinking about things. And if you can re-frame your thinking, well, you've about found the best "Compound-W" for worry warts. Readers who enjoyed this book might also enjoy "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World".
124 of 133 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If "How to Win Friends..." was about interpersonal skills, this book is about intrapersonal skills. People have criticized Dale for stating the obvious, but hey, as my mother says, "common sense isn't common." Most of these ideas run counter to human nature's way of responding to conflict and criticism (defensiveness, blame, guilt, self-righteousness, etc). Instead, we are invited to replace these typical responses with non-threatening admissions of having been in the wrong if indeed we were in the wrong or water-off-a-duck's back/unshaken poise if the criticism was unjust, unwarranted, and unreasonable. To be honest, I often haven't thought about things the way Dale states them much less practiced his principles with consistency. Self-improvement in terms of handling my feelings is still a long-term goal of mine. I've made good progress, but I have a ways to go.
I think this book is very good, but I think "How to Win Friends & Influence People" is the better of the two books. Also, Dale can come off as preachy at times. I think he was a wonderful, considerate person with the best of intentions, so I hesitate reproaching this "guru" of emotional intelligence.
I did enjoy listening to stories about personal transformation. People who had hit rock bottom were able to rebound from their falls. John D. Rockefeller turned his life around, much in the style of "Silas Marner," and no longer fretted about losing money. Thanks to his Rockefeller Foundation, countless good causes have had ample funding. I also like the story Dale shares about J. C. Penney. Penney felt that even his intimate loved ones believed the worst about him after he was implicated with the stock market crash of 1929. He became so worried that his health deteriorated. Then one day he stumbled into a chapel as the choir was singing, "God will take care of you." He recognized the truth of those words and within 20 minutes, snapped out of his despair.
Dale really revered Abraham Lincoln, and so do I, based on Dale's account of him. Abraham Lincoln would select men who disliked him if he thought those men were the best qualified for a given position. Someone asked Lincoln why he would consort with men who freely criticize him. Lincoln responded, "You have more of a feeling of personal resentment than I have. Perhaps I have too little of it. But I never thought it paid." He also said, "A man doesn't have the time to spend half his life in quarrels. If any man ceases to attack me, I never remember the past against him." Wow! Those are the words of an enlightened and secure human being.
I think that my problem has been that I took too personally the criticism of others (both just and unjust). I'm not a vindictive person; however, I hate feeling threatened, and my self-esteem--while it has improved, it is still vulnerable. It was the feeling of self-doubt that I hated--not really the person attacking me. I made the mistake of interchanging a person for his or her mistakes at my expense. If you no longer feel threatened by criticism and believe in yourself and your potential no matter what, then I think forgiveness is easy and natural. Dale warned that we pay too dearly for grudges with our lost peace of mind.
I like how this book among others can give us the tools to completely overhaul our unhelpful (or rather hurtful) ways of thinking about things. "How to Stop Worrying..." revisits platitudes and shows how they are less trite sayings than distilled truths. Turn lemons into lemonade. Count your blessings. Don't cry over spilled milk. He also talked about putting a "stop-loss order" on resentments, having our thoughts work for instead of against us, and how knowledge isn't power until it is applied. Forgive and forget our enemies. No person can humiliate or disturb us; a person really humiliates him/herself when s/he attempts to humiliate others. Or Eleanor Roosevelt's insight that no one can make us feel inferior without our permission. "If possible, no animosity should be felt for anyone." Edith Cabbal: "I realize now that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness toward anyone." "Everynight I forgive everything & everybody." "Forget yourself by becoming interested in others." "Serving others is a sure way to forget our own troubles." "We hurt ourselves with thoughts of revenge." "Sympathy and compassion are the best antidotes to enmity."
The helpful quotes go on and on, and any of the above could become a person's mantra, depending on what issues s/he is working on. Ben Franklin had the great idea of working on one of his eight severest character flaws every week. He would alternate what vice he was trying to eliminate or at least, ameliorate. He would self-reflect upon his improvement or lack thereof. I've decided to imitate good old Ben and try this for myself.
I am grateful for Dale Carnegie and other helpful emotional intelligence gurus (Wayne Dyer, Deepak Choprah, and David Burns come to mind) for spelling out tools for emotional health and personal transformation. We all have great potential. As Dale said, we all live well within our means in terms of intellectual and emotional intelligence. Financially, it's great advice to live within our means, but we pay dearly to do so intellectually or emotionally.
60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Tossed to me at a time in my life when I was drowning in my worries. Oh, my worries were real enough, I had good cause to worry! Everyone said so. My husband died suddenly, then my teenage daughter got into drugs, dropped out of school and ran away! I worried so much my hair fell out!! And this went on for several YEARS! In this book I met other people who had good cause to worry, too. Those who shared their life experiences with Dale Carnegie, and gave him their best coping techniques so that he could compile them in a single text. They talked about how they dealt with the fear of war, or illness, or poverty, or lonliness and the worst one of all: despair. I read it over and over. I clung to the stories of people rising above their circumstances and making it through hard times. This book is FILLED with things you can do IMMEDIATELY to improve your life, practical concepts that REALLY WORK. Even though I am in a happier place in life at this time, I thank God for this book and the calm it brought me during my toughest years.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not long ago, when I was newly divorced mom with two teenagers, and plenty of reasons to worry, I found this little book. That year, I'd made a New Year's resolution to stop worrying. Living one day at a time sounded like a great idea. But I did not know how. How to stop worrying?
The book had actually been lying on a bookshelf in my home for a very long time. My copy was so old that the pages were yellow, and crumbling I had picked it up once, glanced through it and laid it down, thinking that my problems were just too overwhelming to listen to yet another positive-thinking guru.
This time, as I read and re-read the book, I came to love the people in it, who told their stories in such heart-felt, simple words. Because, you see, the book was written in a laboratory of human experience. For five years, as a teacher of adult education classes at the YMCA, Dale Carnegie taught a class in how to stop worrying. Each week his students, who came from all walks of life, tried his ideas out, and returned to class with honest feedback on what actually worked for them. Carnegie eventually put their stories together, including what they learned as a group. That's how the book took shape.
The stories, all true, are drawn from days when people had good reason to worry. This was the generation which lived through the Great Depression, and then World War II. Everything is covered here - war, loneliness, financial problems (even bankruptcy-one man had gone through bankruptcy three different times, due to the Great Depression), death, worry over children, health problems, fear of the future.
A number of them had come close to ending their lives due to overwhelming personal problems. Everything is described honestly, in this little book. Yet all of them learned to stop worrying. And they tell how they did it.
Some used prayer as a comfort. The book was written during the days when people weren't ashamed to admit that they found comfort in religious belief. But that isn't the main emphasis of the book. It's filled with practical, down-to-earth approaches for living day to day, happily. The answers are those found in the laboratory of real human experience - not theory, but what works.
If you're like me, prone to waking at night, anxious with what Carnegie calls the "wibber-gibbers," it's the ideal bedside companion, and a true comfort throughout life's up and downs.
Recently, during a lawsuit which caused me a significant amount of anxiety, I tore this little paperback into sections, and carried a section into court with me, to read during odd moments as I waited for the outcome of my case. This book, and the love and support of my family, carried me through.
276 of 324 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
The most interesting thing about this incredible book isn't the time-tested, practical advice (although there is much of that), nor the potentially life-changing observations on "how to live" (although they also abound). No, the most important lesson of HOW TO STOP WORRYING comes from an unintended source...and tells us a lot about how the world has changed.
This book was published nearly half a century ago, and was based on observations from the first half of the twentieth century. Does that make it a hopeless anachronism? Just the opposite...it shows us how far we've fallen in one very important respect: Our willingness to take responsibility for outr actions. Consider this: Every single bit of advice in this book is based on the premise that you, the reader, are responsible for your own destiny, and must personally take action in your own life...not wait for the government or a pill or someone else to take care of it for you. Not once is anyone in this book characterized as a "victim" (although many come under great misfortune). If this book were to be written today, the fault for it's subject's problems would lie entirely with external forces, as would all of the remedies.
I find it interesting that the overall term used to describe the problem this book attempts to solve ("worry"), is one that we never hear these days. In today's world, we say that someone is "stressed" to describe the same symptoms. Why? Because "worry" is something one does to one's self, and "stress" comes from the outside. We no longer want to acknowledge responsibility for anything.
I'll be the first to admit that we know much more today about the cause of mental and physical problems than we did when this book was written. But any open-minderd reader of this volume will have to admit that, in many respects, we've gone backward. This was self-help for what Tom Brokaw calls "the greatest generation", and I recommend it highly.
48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 1996
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book contains not only the steps for a worry-free
living : when applying its techniques and principles in
your day-to-day, you start to notice that you are a new
person, with much more capacity, and the results of your
acting became surprisingly better. It's probable that if
you learn and apply correctly what Dale Carnegie wrote many
years ago, you will solve very old problems, those very
complex problems that you had already given up(ex.
relationships with people in family and work, general
organization of your life, bad memory, backwardness, etc.).
You will be able to do what you believed was an unchangable
weakness of yourself, and this will increase your
self-confidence.You may ask how can a book be so miraculous.
The answer is :
this book is based in the toughts of the most wise men of
all times, including Jesus Crist, Willian James,
Benjamin Franklin, Thoma Edison, and many
others, together with the real experiences that Dale
Carnegie made in his "lab of how to stop worrying".
Thus, in spite of not solving all the problems of
our lives, this book certainly contains precepts that
every person should know, and is an obligatory reading for
those who are not completely happy with their lives.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In reading through the 'Amazon Reviews' I was impressed at seeing how many people have been helped by this book. This is the real test of its value.
The book opens with Carnegie telling about the great physician William Ostler who was worrying himself to distraction before a key test in his life. He discovered that the right action was in concentrating wholly on the task before him at the moment, and leaving the vague worries aside. It led him to a principle of focusing on one day at a time, of doing the best one can do in that day.
This example and story like many others in the work are meant to be a help for us in learning how to live less worrisome, fearful lives. They are meant to help us become happier and better human beings.
As with so many other things, I only wish it were as easy to heed the advice as it is to understand the wisdom of it.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book back when I was sixteen years old and in sixth-form college. I was having a hard time and felt depressed and scared about my future. I was very, very worried about exams and what other people thought about me and this took a mental and psychical toll. It sounds too good to be true but I read and implemented the advice in How To Stop Worrying and Start Living and my life changed. I was able to control my worrying and live a balanced life at last. I still reread the book regularly and especially when I need a boost. As Dale Carnegie says, this book should be used as a workbook for life; it is not the kind of book that you should only read once.
There are so many reasons why I love this book. To start with, it really works. But it is also easy to read and simple to understand, entertaining and utterly charming. It isn't New Agey and includes plenty of wonderful examples of normal (and well-known) people. It is a breath of fresh air in comparison to many modern self-help books. Dale Carnegie is so humble, kind and understanding. Every page is packed with down-to-earth easy to do advice. I also liked the fact that the book includes a chapter on religion and how praying to God can help you in life. However, if you aren't a believer then still get this book, as the author gives advice aimed at absolutely everybody. The book also covers just about every possible problem I can think of; depression, lack of self-esteem, death of a loved one, work issues, financial / health concerns etc.
Overall, I rate this book at highly as it is possible to. I am certainly not implying that it is a `magic pill', but if you read it and follow the advice then I truly believe that your life will change for the better. From time to time I still feel worried, but this book always provides me with the practical and caring advice I need to get myself back on track again.