tue12dec2006—50w346d94%— 23h15m00s—0utc

Of late (and not a minute too late, some will say), I’ve been studying tact. Here are two nice anecdotes I’ve stumbled on.

Charles Schwab was passing through one of his steel mills one day at noon when he came across some of his employees smoking. Immediately above their heads was a sign that said “No Smoking.” Did Schwab point to the sign and say, “Can’t you read?” Oh, no not Schwab. He walked over to the men, handed each one a cigar, and said, “I’ll appreciate it, boys, if you will smoke these on the outside.” They knew that he knew that they had broken a rule — and they admired him because he said nothing about it and gave them a little present and made them feel important. Couldn’t keep from loving a man like that, could you?

Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends And Influence People AM

While he was prime minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill once hosted a posh state dinner, attended by dignitaries from around the world. At one point, he was taken aside by the head butler, who quietly informed him that Lady So-and-so had been observed stealing a silver salt-shaker and placing it in her purse. “How do you suggest this matter be handled?” asked the butler.

“Leave it to me,” replied Churchill. The prime minister then made his way across the room, pausing along the way to pick up the matching pepper shaker from the dinner table. He stepped up to Lady So-and-so, took her by the arm, and guided her out of earshot of the other guests. Then he pulled the pepper shaker from his pocket and showed it to the woman. “My dear lady,” he said in a guilty-sounding voice, “I think we’ve been seen! Perhaps we’d better both put them back!”

Winston Churchill %(p)(You can find more anecdotes from him here and here. I can’t, for the life of me, find again that article where I read this anecdote first. After hours and hours of frustration, I found this version, which I think is the one that best approaches the one that originally captivated me, in this bizarre religious tract.)) %

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