Historical Information > Gifford Pinchot
Gifford Pinchot's Maxims
to guide foresters in public office...
public official is there to serve the public and not to run them.
- Public support of acts affecting public rights is absolutely required.
- It is more trouble to consult the public than to ignore them, but
that is what you are hired for.
- Find out in advance what the public will stand for. If it is right
and they wont stand for it, postpone action and educate them.
- Use the press first, last, and all the time if you want to reach the
public. Get rid of the attitude of personal arrogance or pride of attainment
or superior knowledge.
- Dont try any sly or foxy politics, because a forester is not
- Learn tact simply by being absolutely honest and sincere, and by learning
to recognize the point of view of the other man and meet him with arguments
he will understand.
- Dont be afraid to give credit to someone else when it belongs
to you; not to do so is the sure mask of a weak man. But to do so is
the hardest lesson to learn.
- Encourage others to do things; you may accomplish many things through
others that you cant get done on your single initiative.
- Dont be a knocker; use persuasion rather than force, when possible.
Plenty of knockers are to be found; your job is to promote unity.
- Dont make enemies unnecessarily and for trivial reasons. If
you are any good, you will make plenty of them on matters of straight
honesty and public policy, and you need all the support you can get.
From Gifford Pinchot Lectures at the Yale Forest School (1910-1920).