What Does Integrity Mean, Anyway?

UPDATED: September 26, 2015
PUBLISHED: January 11, 2015

Integrity isn’t easily defined. Yet all manner of respected leaders in their fields—authors, scientists, businessmen and presidents—have weighed in with their ideas about this universally admired character trait. Oxford scholar and writer C.S. Lewis may have said it best: “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
Here are eight insights on integrity:
“Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.”
Warren Buffett
“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Integrity has no need of rules.”
—Albert Camus
“Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.”
—Samuel Johnson
“There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity.”
—Tom Peters
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”
Albert Einstein
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”
Abraham Lincoln
“I believe in integrity. Dogs have it. Humans are sometimes lacking it.”
—Cesar Millan

Robin Amster is a writer and editor whose work appears in magazines, newspapers and the web. She specializes in travel and the travel industry. Robin has also written extensively on business, lifestyle, interior design and architecture.