Quotes Uncovered: Teaching a Man to Fish
Each week, I’ve been inviting readers to submit quotations whose origins they want me to try to trace, using my book, The Yale Book of Quotations, and my more recent research. Here is the latest round.
These days, I find myself trying to get people at work to do things for themselves rather than having to rely on me all the time, so I find myself using the phrase “give a man a fish, he eats for a day; teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.” I’m curious as to where this phrase came from.
The Yale Book of Quotations has the following entry:
“Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”
Christian Science Monitor, July 2, 1965. In this 1965 occurrence, the saying is said to be that of “an oriental philosopher”; however, the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, Dec. 24, 1945, printed the following as an “old Indian proverb”: “If you give a man a fish, he will be hungry tomorrow. If you teach a man to fish, he will be richer forever.”
Can anyone find any earlier versions of this saying?
Do any readers have any other quotations whose origins they would like me to attempt to trace?