Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Honesty

"A firm faith is the best theology; a good life is the best philosophy, a clear conscience the best law; honesty the best policy, and temperance the best physic." - Arthur Aughey

"Honesty rare as a man without self-pity, kinders as large and plain as a prairie wind." - Stephen Vincent Benét

"Honesty is not only “the first step towards greatness” - it is greatness itself." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"Honesty is the best policy, I will stick to that. The good shall have my hand and heart, but the bad neither foot nor fellowship. And in my mind, the main point of governing, is to make a good beginning." - Miguel de Cervantes, fully Miguel de Cervantes Saaversa

"Personal magnetism is a mixture of rugged Honesty, pulsating Energy, and self-organized Intelligence. I believe, absolutely, that truth is the strongest and most powerful weapon a man can use, whether he is fighting for a reform or fighting for a sale." - Arthur Dunn

"The vital force in business life is the honest desire to serve. Business, it is said, is the science of service. He profits most who serves best. At the very bottom of the wish to render service must be honesty of purpose, and, as I go along through life, I see more and more that honesty in word, thought, and work means success. It spells a life worth living and in business clean success." - Abba Eban, born Aubrey Solomon Meir Eban

"Honesty is a warrant of far more safety than fame." - Owen Feltham

"Honesty is the best policy." - Benjamin Franklin

"Let honesty and industry be thy constant companions, and spend one penny less than thy clear gains; then shall thy pocket begin to thrive; creditors will not insult, nor want oppress, nor hunger bite, nor nakedness freeze thee." - Benjamin Franklin

"There is no well-defined boundary between honesty and dishonesty. The frontiers of one blend with the outside limits of the other, and he who attempts to tread this dangerous ground may be sometimes in one domain and sometimes in the other." -

"In building a firm foundation for Success, here are a few stones to remember: The wisdom of preparation. The value of confidence. The worth of honesty. The privilege of working. The discipline of struggle. The magnetism of character. The radiance of health. The forcefulness of simplicity. The winsomeness of courtesy. The attractiveness of modesty. The inspiration of cleanliness. The satisfaction of serving. The power of suggestion. The buoyancy of enthusiasm. The advantage of initiative. The virtue of patience. The rewards of co-operation. The fruitfulness of perseverance. The sportsmanship of losing. The joy of winning." - Rollo C. Hester

"No public man can be a little crooked. There is no such thing as a no-man's-land between honesty and dishonesty." - Herbert Hoover, fully Herbert Clark Hoover

"I have not observed men's honesty to increase with their riches." - Thomas Jefferson

"The more honesty a man has, the less he affects the air of a saint." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"The attempted transformation of the Indian by the white man and the chaos that has resulted are but the fruits of the white man’s disobedience of a fundamental and spiritual law. “Civilization” has been thrust upon me since the days of reservations, and it has not added one whit to my sense of justice, to my reverence for the rights of life, to my love of truth, honesty, and generosity, or to my faith in Wakan Tanka, God of the Lakotas. For after all the great religions have been preached and expounded, or have been revealed by brilliant scholars, or have been written in fine books and embellished in fine language with finer covers, man - all man - is still confronted with the Great Mystery." - Chief Luther Standing Bear

"If honesty did not exist, we ought to invent it as the best means of getting rich." - Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau

"Many persons, after they become learned cease to be good; all other knowledge is hurtful to him who has not the science of honesty and good nature." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"To start from self does not mean to be selfish. It means to start from premises based on human life and the rest of nature, rather than premises that are the artificial products of the Corporate State, such as power or status. It is not an ‘ego trip’ but a radical subjectivity designed to find genuine values in a world whose official values are false and distorted. It is not egocentricity, but honesty, wholeness, genuineness in all things. It starts from self because human life is found as individual units, not as corporations and institutions; its intent is to start from life." - Charles A. Reich

"The most natural beauty in the world is honesty and moral truth. For all beauty is truth. True features make the beauty of the face true proportions, the beauty of architecture true measures, the beauty of harmony and music." - Lord Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury

"True valor is like honesty; it enters into all that a man sees and does." -

"Accuracy is the twin brother of honesty; inaccuracy, of dishonesty." - Charles Simmons

"Some men, under the notion of weeding our prejudices, eradicate virtue, honesty and religion." - Jonathan Swift, pen names, M.B. Drapier, Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff

"I hate those who think that wisdom consists in prying and meddling; courage, in showing no compliance; and honesty, in denouncing other men." -

"Every virtue gives a man a degree of felicity in some kind: honesty gives a man a good report; justice, estimation; prudence, respect; courtesy and liberality, affection; temperance gives health; fortitude, a quiet mind, not to be moved by any adversity." - Francis Walsingham, fully Sir Francis Walsingham

"It is not good to speak of evil of all whom we know bad; it is worse to judge evil of any who may prove good. To speak ill upon knowledge shows a want of charity; to speak ill upon suspicion shows a want of honesty. I will not speak so bad as I know of many; I will not speak worse than I know of any. To know evil of others and not speak it, is sometimes discretion; to speak evils of others and not know it, is always dishonesty. He may be evil himself who speaks good of others upon knowledge, but he can never be good himself who speaks evil of others upon suspicion." - Arthur Warwick

""Honesty is the best policy," but he who acts on that principle is not an honest man." - Richard Whately

"There is a single reason why 99 out of 100 average business men never become leaders. That is their unwillingness to pay the price of responsibility. By the price of responsibility I mean hard driving, continual work... the courage to make decisions, to stand the gaff... the scourging honesty of never fooling yourself about yourself... And the grooves that lead to the heights are not made between nine and five. They are burned in by the midnight oil." - Owen D. Young

"Wine-drinking is the mother of all mischief, the root of crimes, the spring of vices, the whirlwind of the brain, the overthrow of the sense, the tempest of the tongue, the ruin of the body, the shame of life, the stain of honesty, and the plague and corruption of the soul." - Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo NULL

"Honesty is the precondition for genuine scientific and scholarly work." - Leo Baeck

"Pray for and work for fullness of life above everything; full red blood in the body; full honesty and truth in the mind; and the fullness of a grateful love for the Saviour in your heart." - Phillips Brooks

"Concentration is my motto - first honesty, then industry, then concentration." - Andrew Carnegie

"Despair is the offspring of fear; of laziness, and impatience; it argues a defect of spirit and resolution, and often of honesty too. I would not despair unless I saw my misfortune recorded in the book of fate; and signed and sealed by necessity." - Jeremy Collier

"With all their faults, trade-unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in man, than any other association of men." - Clarence Darrow, fully Clarence Seward Darrow

"Experience is the common school-house of fools and ill men. Men of wit and honesty be otherwise instructed." -

"Let honesty be as the breath of thy soul, and never forget to have a penny, when all thy expenses are enumerated and paid: then shalt thou reach the point of happiness and independence shall by thy shield and buckler, thy helmet and crown; then shall thy soul walk upright nor stoop to the silken wretch because he hath riches, nor pocket an abuse because the hand which offers it wears a ring set with diamonds." - Benjamin Franklin

"The most natural beauty in the world is honesty and moral truth." - Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury

"Sincerity and honesty carry one through many difficulties which all the arts he can invent would never help him through." - Edward Stillingfleet

"Ethics is the science of human duty. Arithmetic tells man how to count his money; ethics how he should acquire it, whether by honesty or fraud. Geography is a map of the world; ethics is a beautiful map of duty. This ethics is not Christianity, it is not even religion; but it is the sister of religion, because the path of duty is in full harmony, as to quality and direction, with the path of God." - David Swing, aka Professor Swing

"He that does as well in private between God and his own soul as in public, hath given himself a testimony that his purposes are full of honesty, nobleness, and integrity." - Jeremy Taylor

"The jury system puts a ban upon intelligence and honesty and a premium upon ignorance, stupidity and perjury." -

"The home... is the lens through which we get our first look at marriage and all civic duties; it is the clinic where, by conversation and attitude, impressions are created with respect to sobriety and reverence; it is the school where lessons of truth or falsehood, honesty or deceit are learned; it is the mold which ultimately determines the structure of society." - Perry F. Webb, fully Perry Flynt Webb or Perry Flint Webb

"Honesty is the best policy, but he who is governed by that maxim is not an honest man." - Richard Whately

"The weight of great power crushes the goodness of the man who rules and the honesty of those who are ruled." - Roman Baldorioty de Castro

"There is probably no direct way to get in touch with our inner selves or to seek out satisfaction and happiness. It’s best to live by sound principles – honesty, courage, liberty, and love – and then to await what unfolds. When, inevitably, we go astray for a time, we must return, once again, to living by the principles we cherish. The formula isn’t all that difficult to understand; applying it is the work of a lifetime." - Peter R. Breggin

"Nobody can boast of Honesty till they are try’d." -

"Life is a drama, and religion has become routine. The soul calls for exaltation, and religion offers repetition. Honesty, veracity, does not come about by itself. Freshness, depth has to be acquired. One must work on them constantly." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Immense hidden powers seem to lurk in the unconscious depths of even the most common man - indeed, of all people without exception. It is these powers, when put under pressure, that are responsible for all great creative efforts. The men who make history are those who - consciously or unconsciously - turn the switch on the inner switchboards of human character. Pour out all your fears and anxieties, malicious joy and greed and hatred, and you will be astonished at the terrific amount of power which is pent up in your unconscious mind. We can release this power and transform it from negative into positive power, only by bringing into the open, into the light of consciousness, and by accepting ourselves as we are, even though the mountains of debts seem to crush us. This is the principle of honesty. And it is clear that it can be applied only if connected with the principle of faith." - Fritz Künkel

"The trite saying that honesty is the best policy is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy." -

"What the schools can teach is what we value as a community… love, empathy, caring, cooperation, commitment to others, spiritual and ethical sensitivity, respect for difference, self-discipline, tolerance and honesty." - Michael Lerner