Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation... can never effect a reform." -

"False modesty is the masterpiece of vanity: showing the vain man in such an illusory light that he appears in the reputation of the virtue quite opposite to the vice which constitutes his real character; it is a deceit." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Reputation is rarely proportioned to virtue. We have seen a thousand people esteemed, either for the merit they had not yet attained or for that they no longer possessed." - Charles de Saint-Évremond, fully Charles Marguetel de Saint-Denis, seigneur de Évremond

"You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do." - Henry Ford

"There are three kinds of silence. Silence from words is good, because inordinate speaking tends to evil. Silence, or rest from desires and passions is still better, because it promotes quietness of spirit. But the best of all is silence from unnecessary and wandering thoughts, because that is essential to internal recollection, and because it lays a foundation for a proper reputation and for silence in other respects." - Madame Guyon, Jeanne Marie Bouvières de la Mothe Guyon

"The great difficulty is first to win a reputation; the next to keep it while you live; and the next to preserve it after you die, when affection and interest are over, and nothing but sterling excellence can preserve your name." - Benjamin R. Haydon

"Character lives in a man, reputation outside of him." - Josiah Gilbert Holland, also Joshua Gilbert Holland

"Nothing so uncertain as general reputation. A man injures me from humor, passion, or interest; hates me because he has injured me; and speaks ill of me because he hates me." - Henry Home, Lord Kames

"The only time you have a reputation is when you're not living up to it." - José Iturbi

"A man’s Self is the sum-total of all that he can call his, not only his body, and his psychic powers, but this clothes and his house, his wife and children, his ancestors and friends, his reputation and works, his land and horse and yacht and bank account." - William James

"Success produces confidence, confidence relaxes industry, and negligence ruins that reputation which accuracy had raised." -

"It is a wretched thing to lean on the reputation of others, lest the pillars being withdrawn the roof should fall in ruins." - Juvenal, fully Decimus Junius Juvenalis NULL

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Reputation is a jewel which nothing can replace; it is ten thousand times more valuable capital than your diamonds." -

"One may be better than his reputation, but never better than his principles." - Nicolas Valentin de Latena

"Reputation is what men and women think of us. Character is what God and angels know of us." - Thomas Paine

"A just person knows how to secure his own reputation without blemishing another’s by exposing his faults." - Pasquier Quesnel

"When a man has once forfeited the reputation of his integrity, he is set fast, and nothing will then serve his turn, neither truth nor falsehood." - John Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury

"Character is made by what you stand for; reputation by what you fall for." - Alexander Woollcott

"Once you accept your own death, all of a sudden you're free to live. You no longer care about your reputation. You no longer care except so far as your life can be used tactically - to promote a cause you believe in." -

"A reputation for a thousand years may depend upon the conduct of a single moment." - Ernest Bramah, born Ernest Brammah Smith

"An honest reputation is within the reach of all men; they obtain it by social virtues, and by doing their duty. This kind of reputation, it is true, is neither brilliant nor startling, but it is often the most useful for happiness." - Charles Pineau Duclos

"Concealed talent brings no reputation." -

"There are three kinds of silence. Silence from words is good, because inordinate speaking tends to evil. Silence, or rest from desires and passions is still better, because it prompts quietness of spirit. But the best of all is silence from unnecessary and wandering thoughts, because that is essential to internal recollection, and because it lays a foundation for a proper reputation and for silence in other respects." -

"There is a broad distinction between character and reputation, for one may be destroyed by slander, while the other can never be harmed, save by its possessor. Reputation is in no man's keeping. You and I cannot determine what other men shall think and say about us. We can only determine what they ought to think of us and say about us." - Jack Holland

"A man may be a miser of his wealth; he may tie up his talent in a napkin; he may hug himself in his reputation; but he is always generous in his love. Love cannot keep it to himself. Like light is constantly traveling. A man must spend it, must give it away." - Norman Macleod

"Nothing inspires confidence in a business man sooner than punctuality, nor is there any habit which sooner saps his reputation than that of being always behind time." - William Matthews

"No man’s credit can fall so low but that, if he bear his shame as he should to, and profit by it as he ought to do, it is in his own power to redeem his reputation." - Lord Nottingham, Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, Lord Howard of Effingham

"It is generally much more shameful to lose a good reputation than never to have acquired it." - Pliny the Younger, full name Casus Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo NULL

"Virtue is despotic; life, reputation, every earthly good, must be surrendered at her voice. The law may seem hard, but it is the guardian of what it commands: and is the only sure defence of happiness." - Jane Porter

"A good reputation is more valuable than money." - Publius Syrus

"Esteem is the harvest of a whole life spent in usefulness; but reputation is often bestowed upon a chance action, and depends most on success." - George Augustus Sala, fully George Augustus Henry Sala

"Lost wealth may be restored by industry, the wreck of health regained by temperance, forgotten knowledge restored by study, alienated friendship smoothed into forgetfulness, even forfeited reputation won by penitence and virtue. But who ever looked upon his vanished hours, recalled his slighted years, stamped them with wisdom, or effaced from Heaven's record the fearful blot of wasted time?" - Lydia Sigourney, fully Lydia Huntley Sigourney, née Lydia Howard Huntley

"Real goodness does not attach itself merely to this life - it points to another world. Political or professional reputation cannot last forever, but a conscience void of offense before God and man is an inheritance for eternity." - Daniel Webster

"Build your reputation by helping other people build theirs." - Anthony J. D'Angelo

"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." - Henry Ford

"We’d all like a reputation for generosity, and we’d all like to buy it cheap." -

"Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was." - Margaret Mitchell, fully Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell

"Among the smaller duties of life, I hardly know any one more important than that of not praising where praise is not due. Reputation is one of the prizes for which men contend: it produces more labor and more talent than twice the wealth of a country could ever rear up. It is the coin of genius, and it is the imperious duty of every man to bestow it with the most scrupulous justice and the wisest economy." - Sydney Smith

"Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing." - Abraham Lincoln

"A brilliant achievement may win for you the favor of a people at one stroke; but to earn the love and respect of the population that surrounds you, a long succession of little services rendered and of obscure good deeds, a constant habit of kindness and an established reputation for disinterestedness will be required." - Alexis de Tocqueville, Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville

"A single lie destroys a whole reputation for integrity." - Baltasar Gracián

"Reputation depends more on what is hidden than on what is done." - Baltasar Gracián

"Never stake your reputation on a single cast." - Baltasar Gracián

"Work is the price that is paid for reputation." - Baltasar Gracián

"The two chief things that give a man reputation in counsel, are the opinion of his honesty, and the opinion of his wisdom; the authority of those two will persuade." - Ben Jonson

"What but this faculty of imagination dispenses reputation, awards respect and veneration to persons, works, laws, and the great? How insufficient are all the riches of the earth without her consent!" - Blaise Pascal

"To pity the unhappy is not contrary to selfish desire; on the other hand, we are glad of the occupation to thus testify friendship and attract to ourselves the reputation of tenderness, without giving anything." - Blaise Pascal

"The only things in which we can be said to have any property are our actions. Our thoughts may be bad, yet produce no poison; they may be good, yet produce no fruit. Our riches may be taken away by misfortune, our reputation by malice, our spirits by calamity, our health by disease, our friends by death. But our actions must follow us beyond the grave; with respect to them alone, we cannot say that we shall carry nothing with us when we die, neither that we shall go naked out of the world." - Charles Caleb Colton

"The two most precious things on this side the grave are our reputation and our life. But it is to be lamented that the most contemptible whisper may deprive us of the one, and the weakest weapon of the other." - Charles Caleb Colton