"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” This phrase is popularly used in the business world, where it is often said that having a good job is better than giving someone a handout.
The origin of the phrase is unknown. The phrase appears frequently in the 1960s, beginning with 1963. A version of the phrase also appears in 1886; other versions must be discovered to reach a conclusion about the phrase’s origin.
A jocular anti-proverb (cited in print since the 1990s) is “Teach a man to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.”
Wikiquote: English proverbs
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
. Knowledge is the best charity
. to learn a lesson is a far better reward than to win a prize early in the GAME
. it is better to know how to help yourself than to beg from others
Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
Pg. 527 (Modern Proverbs):
“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, 2 July 1965. In this 1965 occurrence, the saying is said to be that of “an Oriental philosopher”; however, the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, 24 Dec. 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.”
Collection of British Authors
By Miss Thackery (Anne Thackery Ritchie—ed.)
In Two Volumes
Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz
“He certainly doesn’t practice his precepts, but I suppose the Patron meant that if you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to catch a fish you do him a good turn. But these very elementary principles are apt to clash with the leisure of the cultivated classes.”
24 December 1945, Wisconsin Rapids (WI) Daily Tribune, second sec., pg. 5, col. 4:
The purpose is well stated in 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.”
27 June 1963, Boston (MA) Globe, “May ‘Grow’ Fish Like Other Crops” by Peter Greenough, pg. 49, col. 5:
“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will eat the rest of his live.”—Chinese proverb,
23 August 1963, Capital Times (Madison, WI), “Voice of the People,” pg. 30, col. 3:
We can act as Good Samaritan in two ways. We can give a man a fish and stay his hunger for a day or we can teach him to fish and stay his hunger for a lifetime.
20 January 1964, Capital Times (Madison, WI), pg. 3, col. 1:
W. V. THOMAS, general manager of Wisconsin Electric Cooperative, writing in the January issue of the Wisconsin REA News applied the early-day philosophers’ view that “If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day—but if you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime” in connection with thoughts on exporting the cooperative idea to foreign nations.
14 July 1968, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section A, pg. 28:
Along with McNamara’s rhetoric, he quotes with approval the Chinese sage, Kuang Ztu: “If you give a man a fish, he will have a single meal; if you teach him how to fish, he will eat all his life.”
New York City • Banking/Finance/Insurance • Friday, December 19, 2008 • Permalink
That saying is well known by Lao Tzu, a Chinese Philosopher during the ancient time.
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day;
teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime;
convert a man to a religion and he’ll die praying for fish.
This is a quote from Maimonides who lived in the 12th Century.
The source is, indeed, known.