We have been thinking about advice and mottos, and ran some optional questions on the end of a survey to investigate the advice that people think is true, and that they would give to other people.
59% of the respondents thought that Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s wisdom in his 1933 inaugural presidential address, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’, is generally true. Exactly half thought the same of Nietzsche’s assertion that ‘We are franker towards others than towards ourselves’.
In light of the self-flagellation following the MPs’ expenses scandal, it is perhaps unsurprising that 47% agreed with Charles De Gaulle’s words, ‘In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.’ Also with possible associations with the expenses scandal, only 16% saw truth in Disraeli’s dictum, ‘Never complain. Never explain.’
However, when it came to instructing future generations, only Roosevelt’s line was thought particularly worthy of being passed on, with 49% of respondents citing it as something they would give as advice.
A version of this story originally appeared here