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60 Thomas Edison Quotes on Greatness and Innovation

Norbert Juma
Published on September 8, 2020 6:30 AM EST
60 Thomas Edison Quotes on Greatness and Innovation

Looking for the best Thomas Edison quotes that will inspire you to keep going until you find what you want?

Thomas Edison was an American inventor, scientist, and businessman who is regarded as being one of the most prolific inventors of all time. He had a major impact on modern life, contributing inventions in areas such as electric power generation, communication, motion pictures, and sound recording.

60 Thomas Edison Quotes on Greatness and Innovation

Born on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio, Edison would work as a telegraph operator early in his career. He developed many of his early inventions in his first laboratory facility in Menlo Park, New Jersey, which he established in 1876.

By the time of his death in 1931, Edison had more than 1,000 patents for his inventions. He is considered one of America’s greatest inventors and will always be remembered as someone who never let failure stop him from achieving his purpose. He persevered until he found what he wanted.

As a man who lived an active and complex life full of projects and business ventures, Edison clearly used his Everyday Power well. There are a lot of lessons we can learn from his life and words of wisdom.

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.

Don’t forget to also read our compilation of thoughtful Nikola Tesla quotes for understanding humanity.

Thomas Edison quotes on greatness and innovation

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

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

thomas edison quotes on who you are

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. “Vision without execution is hallucination.” – Thomas A. Edison

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

Thomas Edison quotes on success

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

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

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

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

thomas edison quotes about experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also read these innovation quotes to motivate you to create.

Thomas Edison quotes to motivate you to reach your goals

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

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

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

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

thomas edison quotes about discontent

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

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

28. “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 A. Edison

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

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

Thomas Edison quotes that will inspire success

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

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

thomas edison quotes on doing it

33. “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 A. Edison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thomas Edison quotes to elevate your mind

41. “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.” – Thomas A. Edison

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

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

thomas edison quotes about patience

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

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

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

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

48. “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 A. Edison

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

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

More Thomas Edison quotes and sayings

51. “Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge…” – Thomas Edison

52. “I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.”― Thomas A. Edison

53. “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

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

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

56. “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 A. Edison

57. “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 A. Edison

58. “There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the real labor of thinking.”― Thomas A. Edison

59. “To do much clear thinking a person must arrange for regular periods of solitude when they can concentrate and indulge the imagination without distraction.”― Thomas A. Edison

60. “I have never failed, I’ve only shown the way I did it before doesn’t work.”― Thomas A. Edison

Which of these Thomas Edison quotes was your favorite?

Although Thomas Edison is credited with the many tools and conveniences of modern life, he did not have an easy path towards greatness. He started from humble beginnings and worked his way to becoming an inventor of major technology.

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.

Did you enjoy these Thomas Edison quotes? What other Thomas Edison quotes would you like to share with us? We would love to hear all about it in the comment section below.

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  1. Avatar

    Doreen Fernandez

    April 15, 2020 at 3:24 AM

    Yes, they’re very inspirational. I trying to find if he said, a life not lived for othdrs, is not worth living.

  2. Avatar

    William A Andrzejewski

    January 9, 2019 at 11:11 AM

    The richest quotes ever written!

  3. Avatar

    Ban sharma

    September 17, 2018 at 2:04 PM

    amazing quotes for Thomas Edison this man is great !!

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