Carnegie 24.4.3: How to Win Friends and Influence People
Talk About Your Own Mistakes First – PRINCIPLE 3 Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
Pages 249 – 253.
Carnegie builds again off of earlier points – he has already said, “If you’re wrong admit it” and the principle of the previous chapter was “call attention to mistakes indirectly.” This chapter really combines both of these – admit your own mistakes and then use them to indirectly call attention to the mistakes of others.
If ‘mistakes’ were a concept – this is the third clear time they are a topic in the book.
- If the mistake was yours – admit it.
- If the mistake was that of another person – don’t call it out directly.
- Here again we combine these bullets – admit your mistakes as a bridge to calling out the mistakes of others.
As with the previous ‘compliment sandwich’ this method is no longer as pristine as it once was. If we position ourselves as the only one with ‘experience’ having committed mistakes, we run the risk of alienating those around us and coming across as pompous.
Avoid this risk by being sincere and humble – if you’ve made mistakes it gives you the right to help others avoid them.
“Admitting one’s own mistakes—even when one hasn’t corrected them—can help convince somebody to change his behavior.” Page 253
Page by Page
“You are twice as old as Josephine. You have had ten thousand times as much business experience. How can you possibly expect her to have your viewpoint, your judgment, your initiative—mediocre though they may be?”
Carnegie has been using his own failures as anecdotes throughout the book. Here he gives it as a formal rule.
“But don’t you think it would have been wiser if you had done so and so?”
“It’s one of the words I always have had trouble with.”
“You consider me a donkey,” he shouted, “capable of blunders you yourself could never have committed!”
“If a few sentences humbling oneself and praising the other party can turn a haughty, insulted Kaiser into a staunch friend, imagine what humility and praise can do for you and me in our daily contacts.”
“Admitting one’s own mistakes—even when one hasn’t corrected them—can help convince somebody to change his behavior.”
PRINCIPLE 3 Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.