I don’t know if Charlie’s silence here today is right or wrong; I’m not a judge or jury. But I can tell you this: He won’t sell anybody out to buy his future! And that, my friends, is called integrity. That’s called courage. Now that’s the stuff leaders should be made of.
– Al Pacino as Lt. Col. Frank Slade, Scent of a Woman

Integrity. It is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. People often say they have integrity, but the assertion begs a raised eyebrow. Claiming to have integrity is the obvious act of someone who lacks it. The truly virtuous don’t boast about it but instead proceed about their business.

Is honesty always the best policy? No. There are many exceptions to the rule. It would be cruel to tell a child that the Santa at the mall is only pretending to be the real guy.

Likewise, practicing integrity is inadvisable if you are a politician. Suppose you make a campaign promise that you actually delivered on. That would create an ugly precedent, as your voters would then expect you to do even more work delivering on even more promises. You would barely have a second to spend alone with the special interest groups that line your pockets. Furthermore, fulfilling a promise would mean you could no longer make that same promise while you’re up for reelection.

But despite all the above exceptions, integrity is an essential character trait for leadership. The following collection of quotes explores the concepts of integrity, honesty, and character.


Quotes About Telling the Truth

Mahatma Gandhi

“Truth never damages a cause that is just.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi on Integrity Quotes

This quote by Mahatma Gandhi encapsulates the idea that truth, even if it may initially seem harsh or challenging, ultimately serves to strengthen just causes. Gandhi believed that honesty and transparency are essential in pursuing righteousness and that truthfulness is inherently aligned with justice. He maintained that when a cause is founded on truth, it will endure and prevail, regardless of any temporary setbacks or challenges it may face along the way. In essence, Gandhi’s words emphasize the enduring power of truth in upholding and advancing righteous endeavors.


Ann Landers

“The naked truth is always better than the best-dressed lie.”

– Ann Landers

Ann Landers on Integrity Quotes

This quote by Ann Landers underscores the importance of honesty and authenticity over deception and falsehood. Landers suggests that truth, no matter how raw or uncomfortable it may be, is ultimately superior to a polished falsehood. She implies that while lies may be dressed up to appear appealing or convenient, they are inherently inferior to the simple, unadorned truth. In essence, Landers highlights the value of integrity and straightforwardness in communication and relationships, emphasizing that transparency and honesty should always prevail over deceitful pretenses.


Jacques Abbadie

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

– Jacques Abbadie

Jacques Abbadie on Integrity Quotes

This quote by Jacques Abbadie reflects the notion that while deception may have temporary success, it cannot be sustained indefinitely. Abbadie suggests that it is possible to deceive some people for a certain period and all people for another period, but it is impossible to deceive everyone all the time. The quote implies that truth and reality eventually reveal themselves, making long-term deception unsustainable. It serves as a cautionary reminder about the limitations of deceit and the ultimate triumph of truth over falsehood in the long run.


Albert Einstein

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

– Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein on Integrity Quotes

Albert Einstein’s quote emphasizes the fundamental importance of honesty and integrity in character and decision-making. He suggests that a person’s handling of truth in seemingly insignificant matters reflects their overall trustworthiness. Einstein implies that if someone is willing to be deceitful or careless with minor details, they are likely to exhibit similar behavior in more significant matters. Essentially, he underscores the interconnectedness between honesty in small matters and trustworthiness in larger, more consequential issues. The quote serves as a reminder of the foundational role of integrity in establishing credibility and reliability in both personal and professional realms.


Spencer Johnson

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

– Spencer Johnson

Spencer Johnson on Integrity Quotes

In this quote by Spencer Johnson, the distinction between integrity and honesty is highlighted. Johnson suggests that integrity involves being truthful with oneself, acknowledging one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions without deceit or self-delusion. On the other hand, honesty pertains to the external expression of truthfulness, involving transparent communication with others. By making this differentiation, Johnson emphasizes the internal and external dimensions of truthfulness. Integrity involves self-awareness and personal accountability, while honesty involves openness and sincerity in interactions with others. Together, these qualities form the foundation of trustworthy character and ethical behavior.


Patrick Henry

“For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”

– Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry on Integrity Quotes

Patrick Henry’s quote expresses a resolute commitment to facing reality head-on, no matter how difficult or painful it may be. He acknowledges that seeking the whole truth, even if it brings about distress, is essential for making informed decisions and preparing for any challenges that may arise. Henry’s statement reflects a courageous attitude towards truth-seeking, emphasizing the importance of confronting harsh realities rather than shying away from them. Ultimately, he advocates for a proactive approach to understanding the truth, accepting it in its entirety, and taking necessary actions to address it effectively.


Virginia Woolf

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”

– Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf on Integrity Quotes

Virginia Woolf’s quote emphasizes the interconnectedness between self-awareness and truthfulness in understanding others. She suggests that honesty about one’s own experiences, thoughts, and feelings is a prerequisite for being able to accurately perceive and communicate the truth about others. By acknowledging the importance of self-reflection and authenticity, Woolf implies that our understanding of others is informed by our understanding of ourselves. In essence, she highlights the foundation of empathy and genuine insight into human nature as rooted in personal honesty and introspection.


Marcus Aurelius

“Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect.”

– Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius on Integrity Quotes

Marcus Aurelius’s quote underscores the paramount importance of integrity and self-respect in decision-making. He advises against valuing anything that would lead to a compromise of one’s word or dignity. Aurelius suggests that maintaining one’s integrity and honor should always take precedence over any perceived advantage or gain. By prioritizing adherence to promises and preservation of self-respect, he emphasizes the enduring value of moral principles and ethical conduct. In essence, Aurelius advocates for a steadfast commitment to integrity, recognizing it as essential for personal fulfillment and moral standing.


George R.R. Martin

“Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it.”

– George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin on Integrity Quotes

George R.R. Martin’s quote encapsulates a common human tendency to avoid confronting difficult truths, even at the cost of denying reality. He suggests that many individuals find it easier to ignore or deny harsh realities rather than confront them head-on. This avoidance may stem from fear, discomfort, or a desire to preserve one’s sense of security or self-image. By highlighting this aspect of human behavior, Martin prompts reflection on the challenges and consequences of facing uncomfortable truths. The quote serves as a reminder of the importance of courage and honesty in grappling with reality, even when it is challenging to do so.



“You should not honor men more than truth.”

– Plato

Plato on Integrity Quotes

Plato’s quote emphasizes the primacy of truth over the praise or admiration of individuals. He suggests that truth should always be held in higher regard than the reputation or status of any person. By prioritizing truth over the honoring of individuals, Plato underscores the importance of intellectual honesty, integrity, and adherence to objective reality. The quote serves as a reminder to value and uphold truth as the ultimate standard by which actions and beliefs should be evaluated, regardless of the social or personal implications.


George Washington

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

– George Washington

George Washington on Integrity Quotes

George Washington’s quote underscores the importance of accountability and integrity in one’s actions. He suggests that it is preferable to refrain from offering any excuse rather than presenting a poor or dishonest one. By advocating for honesty and responsibility, Washington highlights the value of owning up to mistakes or shortcomings without resorting to deceptive justifications. The quote serves as a reminder of the importance of humility and forthrightness in maintaining credibility and trustworthiness. It encourages individuals to prioritize integrity over the avoidance of consequences or criticism.


George Washington

“Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.”

– George Washington

George Washington on Integrity Quotes

In this quote attributed to George Washington, he emphasizes the enduring power of truth when efforts are made to uncover it. Washington suggests that truth has an inherent resilience and will inevitably triumph when earnest endeavors are made to reveal it. By highlighting the importance of diligence and perseverance in uncovering truth, he underscores the idea that transparency and honesty are essential for justice and progress. The quote serves as a reminder of the importance of seeking truth and shedding light on hidden realities, even if doing so requires significant effort or sacrifice. Ultimately, it expresses confidence in the ability of truth to prevail over falsehood in the pursuit of righteousness.


Fyodor Dostoevsky

“Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.”

– Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky on Integrity Quotes

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s quote captures the challenge of embracing honesty in a world where flattery and deception often seem more convenient. He suggests that speaking the truth requires courage and integrity, as it may entail facing discomfort or conflict. In contrast, flattery, or insincere praise, is portrayed as an effortless alternative that lacks substance and authenticity. By juxtaposing these two approaches to communication, Dostoevsky highlights the moral complexity of truth-telling and the prevalence of deceitful practices. The quote serves as a reminder of the ethical imperative to prioritize truthfulness over the temptation of flattering or misleading others for personal gain.


Dr. Seuss

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant.”

– Dr. SeussHorton Hatches the Egg

Dr. Seuss on Integrity Quotes

Dr. Seuss’s quote from “Horton Hatches the Egg” emphasizes the importance of honesty and integrity in communication. It conveys a steadfast commitment to truthfulness and sincerity, suggesting that words should be spoken with genuine conviction and meaning. By affirming the sincerity of one’s statements, Dr. Seuss underscores the value of trust and authenticity in interpersonal relationships. His words inspire accountability and transparency, reminding us of the power of speaking with honesty and clarity.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.”

– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on Integrity Quotes

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s quote underscores the transformative power of individual courage and truth in the face of deceit and oppression. It highlights the profound impact that even a single act of honesty can have, emphasizing the moral imperative to resist falsehoods and stand up for what is right. By refusing to participate in deceit, Solzhenitsyn suggests that individuals can catalyze change and expose injustice. His words inspire a call to action for integrity and moral courage, affirming the enduring strength of truth in shaping the course of history.


Billy Graham

“When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.”

– Billy Graham

Billy Graham on Integrity Quotes

Billy Graham’s quote succinctly captures the hierarchy of values, emphasizing the primacy of character above material possessions and even physical well-being. It suggests that while the loss of wealth may be significant and the loss of health impactful, the loss of one’s moral integrity, or character, is ultimately the most devastating. Graham’s words serve as a reminder of the enduring importance of integrity and ethical behavior in shaping one’s life and legacy. They inspire reflection on the true measures of personal worth and the essential role of character in building a meaningful and fulfilling life.


Nassim Taleb

“Reputation is for slaves. Honor, Courage, & Integrity is for the Self-Owned.”

– Nassim Taleb

Nassim Taleb on Integrity Quotes

Nassim Taleb’s quote challenges the notion of reputation as a measure of one’s worth, suggesting that true value lies in personal virtues such as honor, courage, and integrity. By juxtaposing reputation with these qualities, Taleb asserts that those who are truly self-owned prioritize inner principles over external perceptions. His words inspire a rejection of societal norms that prioritize image over substance, advocating for authenticity and moral fortitude as the true markers of individual strength and dignity.