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Be a Leader (Part 2 of 9)

This is the twenty-third post in a multi-part series where I share the highlights of the sections/subsections of the book How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

Previous: Begin with praise and honest appreciation

Be a Leader: How to Change People without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

Principle 2: Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly

  • Example: Charles Schwab entered one of his steel mills to see a few men smoking underneath a no-smoking sign. He responded by handing out cigars and said, “I’ll appreciate it, boys, if you’d smoke these on the outside.”
  • Example: Carl Langford (Orlando mayor) made an actual open-door policy by removing his door to give his aides the message to not run interference for him by shoeing people away


  • Many people structure criticism like this: X is great, but Y is not. Instead try and. “We’re really proud of you for raising you grades this term, and by continuing the same conscientious efforts next term, your algebra grade would be up with all the others.” There’s no inference of failure now.
  • Subtly call out people’s mistakes. For example, a home owner was tired of how messy the contractors were in leaving stuff strewn over the yard. She picked things up and piled them in a corner, then complemented the contractor for how clean things were left and how pleased she was about that.
  • Example: criticizing a eulogy by saying it was well-written as an article for an encyclopedia (implying that it would not be a good speech, but good for some other format)

Up Next

Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.

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