From “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie (first published in 1937):
The president of an important Wall Street bank
once described, in a talk before one of my classes, a
highly efficient system he used for self-improvement.
This man had little formal schooling; yet he had become
one of the most important financiers in America, and he
confessed that he owed most of his success to the constant
application of his homemade system. This is what
he does, I’ll put it in his own words as accurately as I
“For years I have kept an engagement book showing
all the appointments I had during the day. My family
never made any plans for me on Saturday night, for the
family knew that I devoted a part of each Saturday evening
to the illuminating process of self-examination and
review and appraisal. After dinner I went off by myself,
opened my engagement book, and thought over all the
interviews, discussions and meetings that had taken
place during the week. I asked myself:
‘What mistakes did I make that time?’
‘What did I do that was right-and in what way
could I have improved my performance?’
‘What lessons can I learn from that experience?’
“I often found that this weekly review made me very
unhappy. I was frequently astonished at my own blunders.
Of course, as the years passed, these blunders became
less frequent. Sometimes I was inclined to pat
myself on the back a little after one of these sessions.
This system of self-analysis, self-education, continued
year after year, did more for me than any other one thing
I have ever attempted.
“It helped me improve my ability to make decisions
- and it aided me enormously in all my contacts with
people. I cannot recommend it too highly.”