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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 [ Wikipedia ] was an American inventor, scientist, and businessman described as America’s greatest and most prolific inventor of all time. Best known for inventing the light bulb, phonograph and motion the picture camera. His nearly 1,100 patents exceed that of any other inventor in American history. His inventions were foundational across a bewildering array of domains, from electronics to medicine to chemical research, which greatly influenced the world. More importantly, he is the father of modern corporate research & development. While many mistakenly think Edison was a better inventor than a 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 honour, below is our collection of inspirational, wise and thought-provoking Thomas Edison quotes, collected from various sources over the years. We hope these Thomas Edison quotes give you the motivation never to quit.

100 Thomas Edison’s Most Memorable Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

“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

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

“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

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

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

“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

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

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

“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

​“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

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

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

“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

“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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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

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

​“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

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

“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

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

“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

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

​“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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

​“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

​“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

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

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

“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

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

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

“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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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

“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

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

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

“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

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

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

“Vision without execution is hallucination.” – Thomas Edison

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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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

“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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

“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

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

“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

In Conclusion

As one of the greatest inventors of all time, there’s a lot every one of us can learn from Edison’s life. Hopefully, these words of wisdom from “The Wizard of Menlo Park” have taught and inspired you.

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

Originally published January 4, 2020, updated April 6, 2021

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