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100 Famous Thomas Edison Quotes That Will Inspire Success

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. - Thomas Edison
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor, scientist, and businessman who has been described as America’s greatest and most prolific inventor of all time. best known for inventing the light bulb, phonograph and motion picture camera. His nearly 1,100 patents exceed that of any other inventor in American history, and his inventions were foundational across a bewildering array of domains, from electronics to medicine to chemical research which has greatly influenced the whole world. More importantly, he is the father of modern corporate research & development. While many mistakenly think Edison was a better inventor than businessman, he created companies, was a marketing genius, amassed $200 million in wealth (today’s dollars) and changed the world.

Thomas Edison’s story has much to teach and inspire us. Much of his success and brilliance can be attributed to his unique outlook and personal philosophy, which resulted from painstaking trial-and-error and an indomitable spirit of perseverance that embraced each failed experiment as a positive step forward on the long road to success.

In his honor, below is our collection of inspirational, wise and thought-provoking Thomas Edison quotes and Thomas Edison sayings, collected from a variety of sources over the years. We hope these Thomas Edison quotes give you the motivation to never quit.

100 Thomas Edison’s Most Memorable Quotes

1

“Fools call wise men fools. A wise man never calls any man a fool.” – Thomas Edison

2

​“The world owes nothing to any man, but every man owes something to the world.” – Thomas Edison

3

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

4

​“A genius is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework.” – Thomas Edison

5

​“The man who doesn’t make up his mind to cultivate the habit of thinking misses the greatest pleasure in life.” – Thomas Edison

6

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

7

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

8

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. They may even discover the germ of old age.” – Thomas Edison

9

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

10

“We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.” – Thomas Edison

11

“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.” – Thomas Edison

12

“The thing I lose patience with the most is the clock. Its hands move too fast.” – Thomas Edison

13

“It is astonishing what an effort it seems to be for many people to put their brains definitely and systematically to work.” – Thomas Edison

14

“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.” – Thomas Edison

15

​“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.” – Thomas Edison

16

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

17

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

18

“I know this world is ruled by infinite intelligence. Everything that surrounds us- everything that exists – proves that there are infinite laws behind it. There can be no denying this fact. It is mathematical in its precision.” – Thomas Edison

19

“Time is really the only capital that any human being has and the thing that he can least afford to waste or lose.” – Thomas Edison

20

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

21

“Good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.” – Thomas Edison

22

“You can’t realize your dreams unless you have one to begin with.” – Thomas Edison

23

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

24

“Never get discouraged if you fail. Learn from it. Keep trying.” – Thomas Edison

25

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

26

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

27

“I’ve never made a mistake. I’ve only learned from experience.” – Thomas Edison

28

“What you are will show in what you do.” – Thomas Edison

29

“Surprises and reverses can serve as an incentive for great accomplishment. There are no rules here, we’re just trying to accomplish something.” – Thomas Edison

30

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

31

​“When I have finally decided that a result is worth getting, I go ahead on it and make trial after trial until it comes.” – Thomas Edison

32

“Success is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration!” – Thomas Edison

33

“We are like 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.” – Thomas Edison

34

“There is no substitute for hard work.” – Thomas Edison

35

“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. I wish I had more years left.” – Thomas Edison

36

“It is very beautiful over there!” – Thomas Edison

37

​“One might think that the money value of an invention constitutes its reward to the man who loves his work. But speaking for myself, I can honestly say this is not so…I continue to find my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, in the work that precedes what the world calls success.” – Thomas Edison

38

“I do not believe in the God of the theologians; but that there is a Supreme Intelligence I do not doubt.” – Thomas Edison

39

“Inspiration can be found in a pile of junk. Sometimes, you can put it together with a good imagination and invent something.” – Thomas Edison

40

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

41

“The man who doesn’t make up his mind to cultivate the habit of thinking misses the greatest pleasure in life.” — Thomas Edison – Thomas Edison

42

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

43

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

44

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

45

“I never view mistakes as failures. They are simply opportunities to find out what doesn’t work.” – Thomas Edison

46

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

47

“I readily absorb ideas from every source, frequently starting where the last person left off.” – Thomas Edison

48

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

49

​“I have more respect for the fellow with a single idea who gets there than for the fellow with a thousand ideas who does nothing.” – Thomas Edison

50

​“My main purpose in life is to make enough money to create ever more inventions…. The dove is my emblem…. I want to save and advance human life, not destroy it…. I am proud of the fact that I have never invented weapons to kill….” – Thomas Edison

51

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

52

“I believe that the science of chemistry alone almost proves the existence of an intelligent creator.” – Thomas Edison

53

“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! Go forward!” – Thomas Edison

54

“I don’t live with the past; I am living for to-day and to-morrow.” – Thomas Edison

55

“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

56

“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.” – Thomas Edison

57

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

58

“I start where the last man left off.” – Thomas Edison

59

“Hard work, nothing to divert my thought, clear air and simple food made my life very pleasant.” – Thomas Edison

60

“I have far more respect for the person with a single idea who gets there than for the person with a thousand ideas who does nothing.” – Thomas Edison

61

“I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” – Thomas Edison

62

“The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work.” – Thomas Edison

63

“To my mind the old masters are not art; their value is in their scarcity.” – Thomas Edison

64

“Discontent is the first necessity of progress.” – Thomas Edison

65

“If parents pass enthusiasm along to their children, they will leave them an estate of incalculable value.” – Thomas Edison

66

​“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

67

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

68

“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.” – Thomas Edison

69

“The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil.” – Thomas Edison

70

“His genius he was quite content in one brief sentence to define; Of inspiration one percent, of perspiration, ninety nine.” – Thomas Edison

71

“Failure is really a matter of conceit. People don’t work hard because, in their conceit, they imagine they’ll succeed without ever making an effort. Most people believe that they’ll wake up some day and find themselves rich. Actually, they’ve got it half right, because eventually they do wake up.” – Thomas Edison

72

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

73

​“Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” – Thomas Edison

74

“Vision without execution is hallucination.” – Thomas Edison

75

“What a man’s mind can create, man’s character should control.” – Thomas Edison

76

“I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill.” – Thomas Edison

77

“Personally, I enjoy working about 18 hours a day. Besides the short catnaps I take each day, I average about four to five hours of sleep per night.” – Thomas Edison

78

“A man’s best friend is a good wife.” – Thomas Edison

79

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

80

“I didn’t fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps.” – Thomas Edison

81

“There are no rules here, we’re trying to accomplish something.” – Thomas Edison

82

“Someday, man will harness the rise and fall of the tides, imprison the power of the sun, and release atomic power.” – Thomas Edison

83

​“It’s obvious that we don’t know one millionth of one percent about anything.” – Thomas Edison

84

“Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.” – Thomas Edison

85

“People are not remembered by how few times they fail, but by how often they succeed. Every wrong step is another step forward.” – Thomas Edison

86

“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.” – Thomas Edison

87

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

88

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

89

“The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary.” – Thomas Edison

90

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison

91

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

92

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” – Thomas Edison

93

“Great ideas originate in the muscles.” – Thomas Edison

94

“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.” – Thomas Edison

95

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

96

“There is far more opportunity than there is ability.” – Thomas Edison

97

​“I never did a day’s work in my life, it was all fun.” – Thomas Edison

98

“Not everything of value in life comes from books- experience the world.” – Thomas Edison

99

“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.” – Thomas Edison

100

“We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present.” – Thomas Edison

101

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

102

“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.” – Thomas Edison

103

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

104

“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.” – Thomas Edison

What’s your favorite Thomas Edison Quote? Share your favorite quote in the comment section below. don’t hesitate to mention it.

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