A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
— Proverbs 22:1
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, 16th U.S. president (1809-1865)
Many a man’s reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.
— Elbert Hubbard, 19th/20th-century American entrepreneur and philosopher (founder of Roycroft)
Character is much easier kept than recovered.
— Thomas Paine, British-born American political activist (1737-1809)
Every man has three characters: that which he shows, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.
— Alphonse Karr, French journalist (1808-1890)
No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, philosopher and poet (1803-1880)
Conscience is thoroughly well-bred and soon leaves off talking to those who do not wish to hear it.
— Samuel Butler, English poet (1612-1680)
A regard for reputation and the judgment of the world may sometimes be felt where conscience is dormant.
— Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father and third president (1743-1826), in a letter to Edward Livingston, 1825
There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.
— Albert Camus, French existentialist novelist (1913-1960)
A critic is a man who knows the way but can’t drive the car.
— Kenneth Tynan, English art historian and critic (1927-1980)
I criticize by creation, not by finding fault.
— Cicero (Marcus Tullius), Roman orator, philosopher and statesman (106-43 B.C.)
We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet (1807-1882)
We learn more from welcoming criticism than rendering judgment.
— Attributed to Jiri Jelinek, Czech chess champion
To arrive at a just estimate of a renowned man’s character one must judge it by the standards of his time, not ours.
— Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), American humorist, author and journalist (1835-1910)
Children need models rather than critics.
— Joseph Joubert, French essayist (1752-1824)
Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
— Gertrude Stein, American writer (1874-1946)
A moral being is one who is capable of comparing his past and future actions or motives, and of approving or disapproving of them.
— Charles Darwin, English biologist (1809-1882)
Rise above principle and do what is right.
— Walter Heller, American economist (1915-1987)
The precepts of the law are these: to live honestly, to injure no one, and to give every man his due.
— Justinian I, Byzantine emperor (483-565)
Happiness is not the end of life: character is.
— Henry Ward Beecher, American preacher (1813-1887)
The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not our circumstances.
— Martha Washington, American First Lady (1731-1802)
Once integrity goes, the rest is a piece of cake.
— J.R. Ewing, lead character in the 20th-century American television show Dallas
We awaken in others the same attitude of mind we hold toward them.
— Elbert Hubbard, American entrepreneur and philosopher (founder of the Roycroft firm) (1856-1915)
Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, public philosopher and poet (1803-1882)
Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.
— Jesus (from the Bible, John 8:7)
Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life.
— Henry David Thoreau, American writer, philosopher and naturalist (1817-1862)
Moral indignation is in most cases two percent moral, forty-eight percent indignation, and fifty percent envy.
— Vittorio De Sica, Italian filmmaker (1902-1974)
A knave’s religion is always the rottenest thing about him.
— John Ruskin, British critic and author (1819-1900)
All seems infected that the infected spy, as all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye.
— Alexander Pope, English poet (1688-1744)
If you live long enough, you get accused of things you never did and praised for virtues you never had.
— I.F. Stone, 20th-century American journalist
Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.
— Cato the Elder, Roman censor (234-149 B.C.)
Never kick a man when he’s up.
— Thomas Tip ONeill, American politician, speaker of the House of Representatives (1912-1994)
Whatever your grade or position, if you know how and when to speak, and when to remain silent, your chances of real success are proportionately increased.
— Ralph C. Smedley, American founder of Toastmasters International (1878-1965)
Life is one long struggle between conclusions based on abstract ways of conceiving cases, and opposite conclusions prompted by our instinctive perception of them.
— William James, American philosopher and psychologist (1842-1910)
A true history of human events would show that a far larger proportion of our acts are the results of sudden impulses and accident than of that reason of which we so much boast.
— Peter Cooper, American manufacturer and philanthropist (1791-1883)
When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
— Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher (fl. 6th century B.C., possibly apocryphal)
It takes less time to do a thing right than to explain why you did it wrong.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet and educator (1807-1882)
A good reputation is something you must pay for, but you can never buy.
— African proverb
To blame is easy; to do it better is difficult.
— German proverb
Avoid suspicion: when you’re walking through your neighbor’s melon patch, don’t tie your shoe.
— Chinese proverb
If you damage the character of another person, you damage your own.
— Yoruba proverb
Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German playwright, poet, novelist (1749-1832)