Reviews — From the February 2014 issue

The Almighty Dollar

America’s self-help gospel

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Dale Carnegie called his self-help book, written at the nadir of the Great Depression, How to Win Friends and Influence People, as if it were a relationship manual. But it’s no accident that at the outset he introduces Charles M. Schwab, head of U.S. Steel,

one of the first people in American business to be paid a salary of over a million dollars a year (when there was no income tax and a person earning fifty dollars a week was considered well off) . . .

Nor is it an accident that when he was etching his public profile, Carnegie decided to take advantage of a lucky homophony, casting off his father’s “Carnagey” for the spelling used by Schwab’s famous boss Andrew. Even if he didn’t dare utter its name, Carnegie knew the pathology he was treating: money-deficit disorder.

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is a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine. He is the author, most recently, of The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry (Blue Rider Press).

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