That Thomas Edison knew what he was talking about!

“…sun wind and tide. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

Thomas Edison was born 170 years ago today.

Here are some of  his most inspirational quotes, many of them more fitting today than perhaps ever before in those 170 years.


“We are  tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy–sun, wind and tide. I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” 

“Waste is worse than loss. The time is coming when every person who lays claim to ability will keep the question of waste before him constantly. The scope of thrift is limitless.”

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” 

“Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.”

“I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it” 

“There will one day spring from the brain of science a machine or force so fearful in its potentialities, so absolutely terrifying, that even man, the fighter, who will dare torture and death in order to inflict torture and death, will be appalled, and so abandon war forever.”

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”

“There’s a way to do it better – find it.”

“Your worth consists in what you are and not in what you have.”

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.” 

“The most necessary task of civilization is to teach people how to think. It should be the primary purpose of our public schools. The mind of a child is naturally active, it develops through exercise. Give a child plenty of exercise, for body and brain. The trouble with our way of educating is that it does not give elasticity to the mind. It casts the brain into a mold. It insists that the child must accept. It does not encourage original thought or reasoning, and it lays more stress on memory than observation.”

“There seems to be far more  opportunity out there than ability…. We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.”  

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

“Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Carry forward!”

“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” 

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” 

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” 

“I start where the last man left off.”

“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.” 

“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks    ” 

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” 

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” 

“If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” 

“I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.” 

“Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged.”

“Restlessness is discontent — and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man — and I will show you a failure.” 

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” 

“Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work.”

“Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.” 

“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.” 

“Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” 

“There is no substitute for hard work.”

“What you are will show in what you do.”

“Maturity is often more absurd than youth and very frequently is most unjust to youth.”

“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.”

“I never did anything by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.”

“Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.”

“The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.”

“To have a great idea, have a lot of them.”

“One might think that the money value of an invention constitutes its reward to the man who loves his work. But… I continue to find my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, in the work that precedes what the world calls success.”

“When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting I go ahead of it and make trial after trial until it comes.”

“Great ideas originate in the muscles.”

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