Quotes on creativity

What writers and others say

Quotes on creativity

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas Edison, inventor of the electric lightbulb and holder of 1,097 U.S. patents. Image by rawpixel

“Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.”
— Howard Aiken, computer pioneer, primary engineer behind IBM’s Harvard Mark I computer

“A conservative is one who doesn’t believe anything should be done for the first time.”
— Anonymous

“Creativity is making mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
— Anonymous

“Imagination: Being able to think of things that haven’t appeared on TV yet.”
— Henry Beard, American humorist, co-founder of National Lampoon magazine

“Original ideas come from reassembling knowledge in new ways. But you need to have that knowledge in your mind before you can reassemble it.”
— Leon Botstein, president, Bard College

“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.”
— Charles Brower, advertising executive, writing in Advertising Age, August 1959

“I am influenced by every second of my waking hour.”
— Lenny Bruce, controversial American stand-up comedian

“The easiest way to feel creative is to find people who are more ignorant than yourself.”
— Ronald S. Burt, sociologist, University of Chicago

“NIH: Not invented here. Frequently results in the discounting of a good idea or product because ‘we’ didn’t think of it.”
— BuzzWhack

“vampire creativity: Marketing term for a commercial that is so creative and entertaining that people remember the ad, but not the product being sold. It essentially bites itself.”
— BuzzWhack

“A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.”
— Frank Capra, Academy Award-winning director of such films as It’s a Wonderful Life

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
— Thomas Edison, inventor of the electric light bulb and holder of 1,097 U.S. patents

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
— Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist regarded as the greatest scientist of the 20th century

“The devil doesn’t need an advocate. The brave need supporters, not critics.”
— Seth Godin, author, Purple Cow

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”
— James Joyce, poet, widely considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
— Jack London, author, oyster pirate, deep-sea sailor, hobo and Alaskan prospector

“Significant progress doesn’t come from the formal planning process of an American corporation. It comes from a couple of guys doing something that hasn’t been set down on a list.”
— William McGowan, CEO, MCI Communications

“Most original ideas aren’t completely original, but instead are the result of two basic things: problems in search of solutions and solutions in search of problems.”
— Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres, authors, Why Not?

“The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.”
— Linus Pauling, Nobel Prize-winning quantum chemist, biochemist, and pioneer in the application of quantum mechanics to chemistry

“The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
— Marcel Proust, author,Remembrance of Things Past

“Innovation has never come through bureaucracy and hierarchy. It’s always come from individuals.”
— John Scully, former chairman, Apple Computer

“If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this.”
— Spencer Silver, on inventing Post-It notes with Arthur Fry in 1970

“Discovery is seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.”
— Albert Szent-Gyorgi, Nobel Prize-winning biochemist

“Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.”
— Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), writer and humorist

“To give birth to an idea — to discover a great thought — an intellectual nugget, right under the dust of a field that many a brain plow had gone over before. To find a new planet, to invent a new hinge, to find the way to make the lightnings carry your messages. To be the first — that is the idea. To do something, say something, see something, before anybody else — these are the things that confer a pleasure compared with which all other pleasures are tame and commonplace, other ecstasies cheap and trivial.”
— Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), writer and humorist, in The Innocents Abroad
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