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Talk:Thomas Edison

This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Thomas Edison page.


"Ideas without execution are hallucinations."

Is this a quote from Thomas Edison? I've heard it is, though it is not listed here:

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison

I've also created it's own page here: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Ideas_without_execution_are_hallucinations until we can figure out from whence this came.

Thanks, Andy

The earliest that I find a similar phrase is Chapter 5 ("A Vision Without Execution Is an Hallucination") of Jeffrey E. Garten's 2001 book The Mind of the CEO. He quotes Stephen Case, then Chairman & CEO of America Online, as saying, "In the end, a vision without the ability to execute it is probably an hallucination."
The phrase starts getting credited to Edison around 2006. I don't find any credible evidence that Edison ever used the phrase, with either "vision" or "ideas".
KHirsch 14:20, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks KHirsch - this is great information! 137.254.4.9 18:36, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Would rather die than thinkEdit

What about “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.” -- widely attributed to Edison (widely found online, too), but not listed here either as his or misattributed or misquoted.

So far, I'm unable to find attribution or cite. There's a similar quote by Bertrand Russell (found on http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell ), which could be just a coincidence or a hint of the quote's misattribution. -- ArtDent 15:49, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

I find the quote as far back as 1922, in an article in the May 13 Saturday Evening Post, "Balanced Work", by Woods Hutchinson, (p. 40): "Some cynic declares that 5 per cent of people think, 10 per cent think they think, while 85 per cent would rather lie down and die than think." That's were he said," Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." Why hate on him? He changed our lives(somehow).
The following year, there's another attribution to a "cynic" in The New Capitalism by Simon Baldus, p. 476, this time without the words "lie down and". He writes, "The answer is given by the cynic who said that five percent of the people think; ten percent, think they think; and eighty-five percent would rather die than think."
I can't make any definite attribution for this one. Woods Hutchinson may have come up with it, based on similar earlier quotes. E.g. I find "the majority of us would rather lie down and die than think" back to 1901.
I see that it's attributed to Edison by 1927, but I don't see any specific source, so it's probably a mistake. Edison made some comments about thinking and success in this 1921 interview. It's possible (speculation ahead) that quotes from that interview were mixed up with the quote under discussion because they were simply printed near each other at some point.

The accurate quotes are: "All progress, all success springs from thinking." [1] "Why do so many men never amount to anything? Because they don't think." [2]

Edison was also very fond of the quote by Sir Joshua Reynolds: "There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking." He printed it on placards (c. 1921) to spur employee productivity and creativity throughout the Edison factory in West Orange, N.J. (now a National Park open to the public.) Because of Edison's association with this quote, it is often falsely attributed to him.


KHirsch 17:48, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

There is a similar quote attributed (possibly incorrectly) to George Bernard Shaw using 2, 3 and 95 percent.

One of my All Time Favourite QuoteEdit

The first quote "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." is one my favourite quote. It is rightly placed in the first place. if anyone knows anything more about it please do tell me User talk:Arsalanahmedmalik (Arsalanahmedmalik (talk) 09:09, 29 August 2012 (UTC)) According to the book "The Ford and Edison Quotebook" [3] the actual quote is: "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."

Opportunity Is Missed Because ...Edit

Quote Investigator goes after (presumably attributed to Edison) quote, but take it in broader context (Thomas Edison? Henry Dodd? Isaiah Hale? Paul Larmer? Lila Kroppmann? Anonymous?) and find its authorship as doubtful. http://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/08/13/overalls-work/ Silpol (talk) 19:45, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

Quotes attributed to recent sourcesEdit

This page seems full of quotes attributed to very recent sources. Like the "Hell, we don't have rules here. We're trying to accomplish something." The best we have is a book published in 2000 about Albert Einstein?

I think it better to weed out these quotes that have no better verification than some recent book that itself gives no providence, and find better sources for those that appear accurate. I have done so for that quotation, relying on the Quote Investigator JohnSmith57 (talk) 21:41, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

I fully agree. "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." -- supposedly said in 1877, "as quoted in From Telegraph to Light Bulb with Thomas Edison (2007) by Deborah Headstrom-Page, p. 22." If that's the first source for that quote, there's almost no chance that the quote survived unpublished for 130 years. All published sources need to be contemporary. If the source isn't from within a few decades of Edison's death, it should be considered unreliable and, at best, go in the Disputed section. DOSGuy (talk) 14:13, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

Our greatest weaknessEdit

I found this often quoted, attributing TE: "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." The language sounds too modern.183.171.91.38 09:53, 27 August 2017 (UTC)

This is an accurate quote according the "Ford and Edison Quote book." (see reference below)

  1. Edison and Ford Winter Estates, published 2004, page 8
  2. ibid page 9
  3. Edison and Ford Winter Estates, published 2004, page 4
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