Joe Hart and Michael Crom's new book, "Take Command: Find Your Inner Strength, Build Enduring Relationships, and Live the Life You Want," is a modern-day version of Dale Carnegie's principles for personal development. (Courtesy of Joe Hart)

Taking Command of Your Life

The classic self-improvement book, Dale Carnegie’s ‘How To Win Friends and Influence People,’ reimagined for today’s world

Published in 1936, Dale Carnegie’s “How To Win Friends and Influence People” is still considered one of the most influential self-development books today. To reach today’s generation, Carnegie’s grandson, Michael Crom, and Joe Hart, CEO of Dale Carnegie Training, have written “Take Command: Find Your Inner Strength, Build Enduring Relationships, and Live the Life You Want.”

Joe Hart discusses how the timeless principles can be applied today.

Joe Hart, CEO of Dale Carnegie Training and co-author of “Take Command.” (Courtesy of Joe Hart)

American Essence: Your book calls on readers to “take command.” Why do you believe so many people struggle to take action toward their goals?

Mr. Hart: One of the key takeaways from this book is helping people address several key questions: What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish? What’s stopping you? And what’s holding you back?

Just the other day I was talking to my 20-year-old daughter about some of her goals. She told me one of the biggest barriers she—and so many of us—have is fear. I’ve learned that it’s up to us. We’re the ones who hold ourselves back. We’re the ones who have to overcome our fears. We have to reframe our mindsets. That’s why it’s important that we take command of our lives.

AE: The book’s first section is on thoughts and emotions. How can people take command of these?

Mr. Hart: First, you need to pay attention to your thoughts. Are your thoughts harmful or supportive? 

Second, what are thoughts you’re having that are limiting your ability to move forward? Do you magnify the negative? What would happen if you changed those thoughts?

And third, practice choosing the right thoughts. This is a daily challenge. Like anything you want to improve upon, you must practice this every day. 

AE: The next section is on relationships. What is key to building back strong relationships post-pandemic?

Mr. Hart: With this book, we’re urging people to take command of their relationships. To build relationships, you must be honest and sincere in sharing feedback. Take steps to build trust with others and by doing so, build stronger relationships.

AE: The last section’s about the future. How can people set goals and accomplish them?

Mr. Hart: We are challenging people to think about what their purpose in life is—about the importance of living an intentional life. This means knowing your “why”—what drives you, and think about the person you want to be. Write your own mission statement. Read it every day and practice living it every day.

AE: What motivates you to continue what you do?

Mr. Hart: It’s been a great honor meeting so many people who talk about how their lives have been. I’ve heard stories of so many who were able to turn their lives around. That’s why I am excited about the work we do and how it’s changing lives.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.