Quotes on Ethics



“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” 

Thomas Jefferson


“To be persuasive, we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful.”

Edward R. Murrow


“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

Abraham Lincoln


“You can’t lie to liars without becoming a liar. We can’t cheat a cheater without becoming a cheater. Fighting fire with fire doesn’t protect trust it merely leaves you with the ashes of your integrity. At its root, lying is intentional dishonesty, deliberately trying to make a person believe something that is not true.”

Michael Josephson 


“Many lies are false statements, but half-truths, distortions, concealment, insincerity, exaggerations and baseless assertions intended to deceive or mislead are also lies equally damaging to trust. Even lies we justify by our good intentions, the one’s we call ‘white lies’ can blow up in our face when discovered.”

Michael Josephson 


“The lie often looks very different from the perspective of the person lied to than the person telling the lie. How many of us would give permission to people we know to ‘lie to me whenever you think it is for my own good’?”

Michael Josephson


“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”

Spencer Johnson 


“There’s something different about looking someone in the eyes and doing something dishonest to doing it over the phone or screen.”

Justin Welby


“Saying what you believe others want to hear is, of course, a form of lying.”

Karl Ove Knausgard


“Exaggeration is a blood relation to falsehood and nearly as blamable.”

Hosea Ballou


“It is prohibited to deceive people in transactions or to mislead them. It is prohibited to use smooth language and allurement. A person shall not be one thing with their mouth and another with their heart; instead, a person’s inner and outer being must be the same for the subject of the heart is the matter of the mouth.”

Maimonides, philosopher and physician




“A half-truth is a whole lie.”

Yiddish Proverb


“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”

Albert Einstein


“A truth that’s told with bad intent, beats all the lies you can invent.”

William Blake


“That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright truth but a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.”

Alfred Tennyson


Building trust is like building a tower, stone by stone. But no matter how high or strong the tower seems, if you remove a stone from the bottom the tower will collapse. Lying destroys the foundation needed for trust. 

Michael Josephson


“The trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide.”

Hannah Arendt


“Lying is done with words and also with silence.”

Adrienne Rich


“Lying is a sin destructive to society; for there is no trade where there is no trust, and there is no trust where there is no truth.”

Wellins Calcott




“The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty. The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity.”

Zig Ziglar 


“We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters… that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.” 

Michelle Obama


“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.”

Donald Adams


“The golden rule for every businessman is this: Put yourself in your customer’s place.”

Orison Swett Marden


“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”

Peter F. Drucker


“Relativity applies to physics, not ethics.” 

Albert Einstein


“A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.”

John F. Kennedy 


“Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” 

Samuel Johnson 


“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.”

W. Clement Stone 


“As our own species is in the process of proving, one cannot have superior science and inferior morals. The combination is unstable and self-destroying.”

Arthur C. Clarke 


“Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.”

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


“The two highest levels of influence are achieved when people follow you because of what you’ve done for them, and people follow you because of who you are. In other words, the highest levels of influence are reached when generosity and trustworthiness surround your behavior.”

Dale Carnegie


“You must be consistently fair and decent, in both the business and the personal side of life.”

Abraham Lincoln


I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain the most enviable of all titles: the character of an honest man.”

George Washington