Via Businessweek, a fascinating nugget on using sunny self-improvement techniques for pure evil:
In his new book, Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson, author Jeff Guinn credits Dale Carnegie Training, the self-help program that’s shaped the lives of such people as Warren Buffett, with transforming Manson from “a low-level pimp” to the “frighteningly effective sociopath” who created a cult of killers in the late 1960s.
Manson took classes in “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” based on Carnegie’s iconic book, while doing time for car theft in a California federal prison in 1957. ”It was critical in shaping how he manipulated people,” says Guinn, noting that the young convict told people he’d enrolled to get strangers to open up to him.
Manson became especially obsessed with Chapter Seven, on how to get cooperation, and often practiced key lines in his cell, a former prison mate told Guinn.
Carnegie’s advice—”Let the other fellow feel that the idea is his”—became vital in helping him recruit and control a band composed mostly of young women. Former “Family” members Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten both say Manson mastered the technique: Not only did he often solicit and praise his followers’ advice, he was careful to frame every killing as a Family decision.