This modern branch of the thought-leading discipline began about a century ago, in true rags-to-riches fashion, when an unsuccessful door-to-door salesman named Dale Carnegie started teaching courses in public speaking at his local YMCA. Carnegie—Carnegay, actually, as it would be another seven years before he changed his name to match that of the famous industrialist—was an unlikely motivational speaker. He was kind of a loser. After graduating from the Warrensburg State Teachers’ College in Missouri in 1908, he sold correspondence courses, bacon, soap, and lard. But he found the work insufficiently glamorous, and after saving up $500, he moved to New York in 1911 to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. He failed. Nor could he make a go of it as a truck salesman or a novelist. He decided that the best path to success was to tell other people how to find it.