Book Review: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

In one of the oldest and most classic self-help books in the world (published in 1944!), Dale Carnegie reminds readers how to count our blessings instead of agonising over what we want. The book is chockfull with anecdotes. One particularly memorable one stands out; a man who lost all his savings, along with his confidence and drive, met a handicapped man who greeted him cheerfully on the streets. Realising what he still had, he pulled himself together and got a job and a loan to tide him over his difficulties. The story inspired a maxim for the writer.

I had the blues because I had no shoes,
Until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet. 

Wise sayings and examples like these are common sense, but it does not hurt to be reminded repeatedly about the power of positive thinking, gratitude, diligence, exercise and ample rest. Written in a narrative from a first person’s point of view, the book reads like a personal account or even a personal conversation, and is livelier and more personable than the average self-help guide. It is one of those rare books that one would not mind reading again and again, especially in times of feeling blue.

Quoting a reader, “recommended reading for everyone, particularly those in the corporate world, in jobs that are given too much importance than they really deserve.”

Nevertheless, readers should keep an open mind. Some mild chauvinism is implied in the content, as attitudes towards women in the 1940s are different from now. The author’s frequent references to religion may also be off-putting to those who do not share his religion.

– These book reviews first appeared in a lifestyle magazine

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