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 -
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
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
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 women?
Because of a sudden hunger for more education because of the depression?