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1. The only work that spiritually purifies us is that which is done without personal motives.

Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) Indian philosopher, mystic and nationalist. Quoted in Ethics in Management: Vedantic Perspectives (S. K. Chakraborty; 1995)


2. Private sincerity is a public welfare.

Cyrus Augustus Bartol (1813-1900) U.S. clergyman. “Individualism,” Radical Problems (1872)


3. Men are always sincere. They change sincerities, that’s all.

Tristan Bernard (1866-1947) French novelist and dramatist. Ce que l’on dit aux Femmes (1922), Act 3


4. Nobody speaks the truth when there’s something they must have.

Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973) Irish writer. The House in Paris (1935)


5. Few people would not be the worse for complete sincerity.

  1. H. Bradley (1846-1924) British philosopher. Collected Essays (1935)


6. We ought to see far enough into hypocrite to see even his sincerity.

  1. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) British novelist, poet and critic. Heretics (1905)


7. Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.

Confucius (551-479 B.C.) Chinese philosopher, administrator, and writer. Analects (500? B.C.)


8. He that trades in jest…will certainly break in earnest.

Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) English novelist and journalist. The Complete English Tradesman (1726), vol. 1, letter 5


9. There is no wisdom like frankness.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81) British prime minister and novelist. Sybil (1845)


10. Managing a business requires a great deal of frankness and openness and you actually lead by being very honest with people.

Michael Owen Edwardes (b.1930) British company executive. Quoted in “Sayings of the Week,” Observer (London) (June 19, 1983)


11. Every man alone is sincere.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) U.S. essayist, lecturer and poet. “Friendship,” Essays, First Series (1841)


12. Profound sincerity is the only basis of talent as of character.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) U.S. essayist, lecturer and poet. “Natural History of Intellect,” Essays: First Series (1841)


13. Sincerity is the highest compliment you can pay.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) U.S. essayist, lecturer and poet. Journals (1836)


14. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) U.S. politician, inventor and journalist. Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography (1793)


15. The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.

Andre Gide (1869-1951) French novelist and essayist. The Counterfeiters (1926)


16. The secret of success is sincerity: once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

Jean Giraudoux (1882-1944) French diplomat, novelist and playwright. Quoted in Murphy’s Law, Book Two (A. Bloch; 1980)


17. Some of the worst men in the world are sincere and the more sincere they are the worse they are.

Lord Hailsham (1907-90) British politician. Quoted in “Sayings of the Week,” Observer (London) (January 7, 1968)


18. Sincerity has to do with the connexion between our words and thoughts, and not between our beliefs and actions.

William Hazlitt (177-1830) British essayist and journalist. “On Cant and Hypocrisy,” London Weekly Review (December 6, 1828)


19. That’s what show business is-sincere insincerity.

Benny Hill (1925-92) British comedian. Quoted in “Sayings of the Week,” Observer (London) (June 12, 1977)


20. Don’t be “consistent,” but be simply true.

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94) U.S. surgeon, teacher and writer. The Professor at the Breakfast-Table (1860)


21. It is always the best policy to speak the truth, unless of course you are an exceptionally good liar.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) British humorist and writer. The Idler (February 1892)


22. Civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof.

John F. Kennedy (1917-63) U.S. president. Presidential inaugural speech (January 20, 1961)


23. Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Martin Luther King (1929-68) U.S. pastor and civil rights leader. Strength to Love (1963)


24. Sincerity is an opening of the heart, found in very few people. What we usually see is merely a cunning deceit to gain another’s confidence.

Francois La Rochefoucauld (1613-80) French epigrammatist. Reflections: or, Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665)


25. Weak people cannot be sincere.

Francois La Rochefoucauld (1613-80) French epigrammatist. Reflections: or, Sentences and Moral Maxims (5th ed.; 1678)


26. No man can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself.

James Russell Lowell (1819-91) U.S. poet and diplomat. “Rousseau and the Sentimentalists,” Among My Books (1870)


27. The only conclusive evidence of a man’s sincerity is that he gave himself for a principle.

James Russell Lowell (1819-91) U.S. poet and diplomat. “Rousseau and the Sentimentalists,” Among My Books (1870)


28. Sincerity is impossible unless it pervade the whole being, and the pretense of it saps the very foundation of character.

James Russell Lowell (1819-91) U.S. poet and diplomat. “Pope,” Political Essays (1888)


29. It’s never what you say, but how

You make it sound sincere.

Marya Mannes (1904-90) U.S. essayist and journalist. “Controverse,” But Will It Sell? (1955-64)


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

Marcus Aurelius (121-180) Roman emperor. Meditations (2nd century A.D.), bk. 3, sect 7


31. The great man does not think beforehand of his words that they may be sincere, nor of his actions that they may be resolute-he simply speaks and does what is right.

Mencius (371?-289 B.C.) Chinese philosopher, reformer and teacher. Works (James Legge, tr.; 1861-86), bk. 4, 2:11


32. A man must not always tell all, for that were folly; but what a man says should be what he thinks.

Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (1533-92) French essayist and moralist. Essays (1580-88)


33. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting ink.

George Orwell (1903-50) British novelist, critic and essayist. “Politics and the English Language,” Shooting an Elephant (1950)


34. In their declamations and speeches they made use of words to veil and muffle their design.

Plutarch (46?-120?) Greek writer and philosopher. Referring to the Sophists. “On Hearing,” Morals (1st century A.D.)


35. It is undoubtedly true that some people mistake sycophancy for good nature, but it is equally true that many more mistake impertinence for sincerity.

George Dennison Prentice (1802-70) U.S. newspaperman and editor. Prenticeana (1860)


36. We find it easy to believe that praise is sincere: why should anyone lie in telling us the truth?

Jean Rostand (1894-1977) French biologist and writer. De la vanite (1925)


37. He referred to be, rather than to seem, virtuous.

Sallust (86-35? B.C.) Roman historian and politician. The Catiline War (1st century B.C.), sect 54


38. The way I see it, it doesn’t matter what you believe just so you’re sincere.

Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000) U.S. cartoonist. Go Fly a Kite, Charlie Brown (1963)


39. Let us say what we feel, and feel what we say; let speech harmonize with life.

Seneca (4? B.C.-A.D. 65) Roman politician, philosopher and writer. Letter to Lucilius (1st century A.D.)


40. Men should be what they seem;

Or those that be not, would they might seem none!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English poet and playwright. Othello (1602-04), Act 3, Scene 3


41. It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish writer and critic. Man and Superman (1903)


42. For sincerity is a jewel which is pure and transparent, eternal and inestimable.

Christopher Smart (1722-71) British poet. Jubilate Agno or Rejoice in the Lamb (William Force Stead, ed.; 1939)


43. Be suspicious of your sincerity when you are the advocate of that upon which your livelihood depends.

John Lancaster Spalding (1840-1916) U.S. writer and clergyman. Thoughts and Theories of Life and Education (1897)


44. One’s belief that one is sincere is not so dangerous as one’s conviction that one is right. We all feel we are right; but we felt the same twenty years ago and today we know we weren’t always right.

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) U.S. composer. Conversations with Igor Stravinsky (1959)


45. Always be sincere, even if you don’t mean it.

Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) U.S. president. Attrib.


46. When in doubt tell the truth.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. writer. Following the Equator (1897)


47. If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. writer. Notebooks (1935)


48. A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish writer and wit. “The Critic as Artist” (1890)


49. In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish writer and wit. Said by Gwendolen. The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), Act 3


50. Everyone says he’s sincere, but everyone isn’t sincere. If everyone was sincere who says he’s sincere there wouldn’t be half so many insincere ones in the world and there would be lots, lots, lots more really sincere ones!

Tennessee Williams (1911-83) U.S. playwright. Camino Real (1953), Block 12


51 .It is not the crook in modern business that we fear, but the honest man who does not know what he is doing.

Owen D. Young (1874-1962) U.S. lawyer and corporate executive. Attrib.