How Dale Carnegie ‘Book’ed My Life

Here the writer describes how as a child books never interested her until one day, she found a book, that changed her life. Our fourth winning entry for December writing theme.

As a child, books never interested her until one day, she found a book, that changed her life. Our fourth winning entry for December writing theme.

This December Women’s Web, with JustBooks, is running Book Talk, a writing theme where you get to write (read) about books that inspire us. 

just books For December, our writing cue was:“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home.” ― Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life.  

Our fourth winning entry is by Deepa Arun. (For this month alone, we have a fourth winner too, since the third winner has just joined the Women’s Web core team!)

As a little girl, I did not have a craving for books. My avenues into reading were restricted to the books affiliated by the Karnataka State Education Board. In simple words, my musings were within the gated community of state syllabus text books.

I had a personal liking towards English poetry. A poem by William Wordsworth called ‘Daffodil’, stubbornly got imprinted in my cerebral cortex. The poems influenced me so much that, I started writing my small creations. An eagle’s eye could trace the origin of my creations to my English text.

Oblivious, was I, in my rendezvous with writing poems in a red diary. Sadly, the diary was spotted by a cousin of mine. Oh! I was teased, ridiculed and called an imitator of writings written by great poets. One evening, when no one was around, I threw the diary into wild bushes and never turned back. That was the end of my poetry days.

I trudged aimlessly through my school years. Though I completed my school years with a distinction, some colors were still missing in my life. It was the color of friendship. I never knew that this ship called friendship was hard to sail. It was during these times, an inanimate object, called book came into my life.

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I used to appreciate magazines and books, from Reader’s Digest, Week, India Today to Sherlock Holmes, Alfred Hitchcock, all thanks to my cousin’s subscriptions and library membership. I was entitled to borrow them, read and return which was done diligently.

It was my pre-university college years. I was feeling absolutely lonely in a huge campus of almost 4,500 girls. I could not find anyone to be called as a friend. The only way I found solace was in the vast college library. Some of my seniors in the college dance association (I was a part of the college dance association for 2 years) used to think that ‘I was a pain in the neck’. Honestly, I could not splurge, or talk, or walk like they did. As I mulled over my state, a personality development course took my life by storm. It was not the person who conducted the program nor the participants which hooked me.

It was the books that knocked me down. Though the program was reluctant to ooze confidence in my system, the books lavishly dolled me up and my confidence. Dale Carnegie, my man, my savior changed the perception of my life. I started poring into his books. ‘How to win friends and Influence people’, ‘How to stop worrying and start living’ were the most read books by me. I felt that the author was having a one-on-one session with me, just like a conversation over coffee. The words hit me like bullets on my head. I suddenly felt an urge to speak out rather than speak within me. I was able to say ‘NO’ to peers who felt that ‘YES’ was an obligation towards them. The book helped me identify my positive aspects which were hidden somewhere in my system.

My life chugged from my pre-university years to degree years. With Dale Carnegie and his quotes within me, my personality blossomed from a meek girl to a girl who can face situations. I got a group of friends whose vibes were matching with mine. I thank my stars as we maintain our friendship till date with humility and elegance.

Dale Carnegie’s books taught me to accept ‘ME’ through my eyes and not me through the world’s eyes. It instilled a sense of accomplishment in little endeavors from solving integration sums to writing scripts. His books were my holy scriptures for a long period of time. Though I have moved from self-help books to fiction and romance, the honors for the book which rattled me out of my shell would be ‘How to win friends and influence people’.

Perceptions differ according to one’s own experiences. Did Dale Carnegie think about millions of people like me who were malnourished of confidence? Maybe yes, he would have visualized mortals like me who were not the cream of the society, school or offices.

Dale Carnegie’s books helped me to love myself. His books bridged a peace pact with the inner ‘me’- a ‘me’ who loves to be creative and do not like to be pulled into races. They instilled confidence in me to meet every day with a SMILE. Though I have fallen a thousand times, I make sure to stand up a thousand and one times. Thanks to Mr. Carnegie.

The prize

Deepa wins a Rs.500 voucher for this entry, from JustBooks, India’s First & Largest Community Library Chain. 

JustBooks gives you (and your entire family, from toddlers to teens, dabblers to bookworms), a wide selection of 9 lakh books on an affordable membership plan! You can read unlimited books and at your leisure with no late fee. Don’t forget to check out their excellent reading list for women, and other book recommendations!

JustBooks stocks books in 8 regional languages and offers door delivery services in 36 cities including Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad.

Cover image via Shutterstock


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