Posted by Claire Sherwin







the 4 way test


Here is a story that every Rotarian should know


In 1932 the USA was in the midst of The Great Depression. Herbert J. Taylor was a Rotarian in Chicago and had been a Rotary member since the early 20's. He was also the president of a nearly bankrupt company which sold cookware door-to-door.


Sales were poor and he believed that his employees were in need of an ethical yardstick.

He wrote down four simple questions and took them to four of his managers: a Roman Catholic, a Christian Scientist, an Orthodox Jew and a Presbyterian to make certain that nothing in them conflicted with their religious or moral beliefs.


Once they were approved, Mr. Taylor sent each of his employees the four questions on his list:

1.   Is It The Truth?

2.   Is it Fair to all Concerned?

3.   Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?

4.   Will it be Beneficial to All Concerned?


Soon after his staff began to apply the questions he had asked them, his business began to turn around and it became profitable.

Then, in 1941, with World War II on the horizon, the Government curtailed domestic use of Aluminum and the cookware business was threatened - Mr. Taylor launched a new product - flameproof glass coffee makers - but he never forgot the questions he had written and he worked tirelessly to promote the Four Way Test.


Mr. Taylor became the President of the Rotary Club of Chicago - he later held the post of District Governor and became Vice-President of Rotary International in 1945. In 1954 he was elected as President of Rotary International - by then his test of "the things we think say or do" had spread around the globe.


In that year, Rotary's 50th Anniversary, Mr. Taylor was featured on the cover of Newsweek and he presented Rotary with the copyright to The Four Way test.


The questions that Mr. Taylor created have endured and have become central to Rotary and Rotarians.


Claire A. Sherwin

Club President