Best Ideas Quotes I Wish I Had Read

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Ideas Quotes

Mere words are cheap and plenty enough, but ideas that rouse and set multitudes thinking come as gold for the mines.

Owen Penny


Never hesitate to steal a good idea.

Al Neuharth (American publisher, Founder, USA Today)


Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when you only have one.

Alain Chartier (1385-1435, French Writer)


They come into being not through demonstration but through revelation, through the medium of powerful personalities.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955, German-born American Physicist)



Think for thyself one good idea, but known to be thine own, is better than a thousand gleaned from fields by others sown.

Alexander Wilson


In Texas, years ago, almost all of the oil came from surface operations. Then someone got the idea that there were greater sources of supply deeper down. A well was drilled five thousand feet deep. The result? A gusher. Too many of us operate on the surface. We never go deep enough to find supernatural resources. The result is, we never operate at our best. More time and investment is involved to go deep but a gusher will pay off.

Alfred A. Montapert (American Author)


Human life is driven forward by its dim apprehension of notions too general for its existing language.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947, British Mathematician, Philosopher)


The vitality of thought is in adventure. Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them. When the idea is new, its custodians have fervor, live for it, and if need be, die for it.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947, British Mathematician, Philosopher)


It is not always by plugging away at a difficulty and sticking to it that one overcomes it; often it is by working on the one next to it. Some things and some people have to be approached obliquely, at an angle.

Andre Gide (1869-1951, French Author)


A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind.

Antoine De Saint-Exupery (1900-1944, French Aviator, Writer)


Ideas are a capital that bears interest only in the hands of talent.

Antoine Rivarol (1753-1801, French Journalist, Epigrammatist)


Eureka! I’ve got it.

Archimedes (287-212 BC, Greek Mathematician)


Ideas not coupled with action never become bigger than the brain cells they occupied.

Arnold H. Glasgow


Every revolutionary idea seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases: (1) It’s completely impossible. (2) It’s possible, but it’s not worth doing. (3) I said it was a good idea all along.

Arthur C. Clarke (1917-, British Science Fiction Writer)


An idea is the only level which moves the world.

Arthur F. Corey


The greatest achievements of the human mind are generally received with distrust.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860, German Philosopher)


If you have the same ideas as everybody else but have them one week earlier than everyone else then you will be hailed as a visionary. But if you have them five years earlier you will be named a lunatic.

Barry Jones


He was distinguished for ignorance; for he had only one idea, and that was wrong.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British Statesman, Prime Minister)


Take the obvious, add a cupful of brains, a generous pinch of imagination, a bucketful of courage and daring, stir well and bring to a boil.

Bernard M. Baruch (1870-1965, American Financier)


Go out and buy yourself a five-cent pencil and a ten-cent notebook and begin to write down some million-dollar ideas for yourself.

Bob Grinde


Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings.

O. Jackson


Ideas move fast when their time comes.

Carolyn Heilbrun (1926-, American Author, Educator)


If you want to kill any idea in the world today, get a committee working on it.

Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958, American Engineer, Inventor)


Men who accomplish great things in the industrial world are the ones who have faith in the money producing power of ideas.

Charles Fillmore (American Co-founder of Unity School of Christianity)


It is the nature of thought to find its way into action.

Christian Nevell Bovee (1820-1904, American Author, Lawyer)



Not the one who has many ideas, but the one who has a single conviction may become a great person.



The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. If you don’t like their rules, whose would you use?

Dale Carnegie (1888-1955, American Author, Trainer)


People will accept your ideas much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first.

David H Comins


The ideas dictate everything, you have to be true to that or you’re dead.

David Lynch (1946-, American Director, Screenwriter)


Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself. Your body and mind will become clear and you will realize the unity of all things.



An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.

Don Marquis (1878-1937, American Humorist, Journalist)


An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it.

Don Marquis (1878-1937, American Humorist, Journalist)


So long as new ideas are created, sales will continue to reach new highs.

Dorothea Brande (American Success Writer)


Good ideas are a dime a dozen, bad ones are free.

Doug Horton


Getting an idea should be like sitting down on a pin. It should make you jump up and do something.

L. Simpson


Everything begins with an idea.

Earl Nightingale (1921-1989, American Radio Announcer, Author, Motivator, Speaker)


Ideas are fatal to caste.

Edward M. Forster (1879-1970, British Novelist, Essayist)


The idea that is not dangerous is not worthy of being called an idea at all.

Elbert Hubbard (1859-1915, American Author, Publisher)


It doesn’t matter how new an idea is: what matters is how new it becomes.

Elias Canetti (1905-, Austrian Novelist, Philosopher)


A great idea is usually original to more than one discoverer. Great ideas come when the world needs them. Great ideas surround the world’s ignorance and press for admission.

Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911, American Writer)


Ideas are the roots of creation.

Ernest Dimnet (1866-1954, French Clergyman)


People find ideas a bore because they do not distinguish between live ones and stuffed ones on a shelf.

Ezra Pound (1885-1972, American Poet, Critic)


In every great time there is some one idea at work which is more powerful than any other, and which shapes the events of the time and determines their ultimate issues.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626, British Philosopher, Essayist, Statesman)


Neither man or nation can exist without a sublime idea.

Fyodor Dostoevski (1821-1881, Russian Novelist)


Ideas are refined and multiplied in the commerce of minds. In their splendor, images effect a very simple communion of souls.

Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962, French Scientist, Philosopher, Literary Theorist)


Ideas are invented only as correctives to the past. Through repeated rectification of this kind one may hope to disengage an idea that is valid.

Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962, French Scientist, Philosopher, Literary Theorist)


Ideas too are a life and a world.

Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799, German Physicist, Satirist)


I tell you that as long as I can conceive something better than myself I cannot be easy unless I am striving to bring it into existence or clearing the way for it. 

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British Dramatist)


It is useless to send armies against ideas.

George Brandes (1842-1927, Swedish Author)


Harold, like the rest of us, had many impressions which saved him the trouble of distinct ideas.

George Eliot (1819-1880, British Novelist)


The simple joy of taking an idea into one’s own hands and giving it proper form, that’s exciting.

George Nelson



If a man had as many ideas during the day as he does when he has insomnia, he would make a fortune.

Griff Niblack


We like to test things… no matter how good an idea sounds, test it first.

Henry Block (American Businessman, Founder of H&R Block)


Ideas are, in truth, force.

Henry James (1843-1916, American Author)


We are not to make the ideas of contentment and aspiration quarrel, for God made them fast friends. A man may aspire, and yet be quite content until it is time to raise; and both flying and resting are but parts of one contentment. The very fruit of the gospel is aspiration. It is to the heart what spring is to the earth, making every root, and bud, and bough desire to be more. –

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887, American Preacher, Orator, Writer)


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 (1900-1973, American Inventor)


Little words hurt big ideas.

Howard W. Newton


Good ideas and innovations must be driven into existence by courageous patience.

Hyman G. Rickover (1900-1986, Naval Engineering Officer)


You look at any giant corporation, and I mean the biggies, and they all started with a guy with an idea, doing it well.

Irvine Robbins (American Businessman, Co-Founder of Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream)


It first appeared like a crazy idea. It turned out he had a great idea.

Richard Munro (American Businessman, CEO of Time, Inc.)


A single idea, if it is right, saves us the labor of an infinity of experiences.

Jacques Maritain (1882-1973, French Philosopher)


Ideas control the world.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881, Twentieth President of the USA)


There is nothing in the world more powerful than an idea. No weapon can destroy it; no power can conquer it except the power of another idea.

James R. Smith


To love an idea is to love it a little more than one should.

Jean Rostand (1894-1977, French Biologist, Writer)


Labor gives birth to ideas.

Jim Rohn (American Businessman, Author, Speaker, Philosopher)


Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea.

Jim Rohn (American Businessman, Author, Speaker, Philosopher)


Lots of people know a good thing the minute the other fellow sees it first.

Job E. Hodges


Whenever I hear people talking about liberal ideas, I am always astounded that men should love to fool themselves with empty sounds. An idea should never be liberal; it must be vigorous, positive, and without loose ends so that it may fulfill its divine mission and be productive. The proper place for liberality is in the realm of the emotions.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German Poet, Dramatist, Novelist)


Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German Poet, Dramatist, Novelist)


A good idea plus capable men cannot fail; it is better than money in the bank.

John Berry


Ideas are the factors that lift civilization. They create revolutions. There is more dynamite in an idea than in many bombs.

John H. Vincent


The public interest is best served by the free exchange of ideas.

John Kane


It is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946, British Economist)


The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946, British Economist)


The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946, British Economist)


The point, simply, is that we are doing more rediscovering these days than discovering coming anew upon truths that ignorant people refused to examine, over the centuries, because the wise people who held custody of the fundamental truths of nature were unpopular.

John Williamson


An idea is a putting truth in check-mate.

Jose Ortega Y Gasset (1883-1955, Spanish Essayist, Philosopher)


Hang ideas! They are tramps, vagabonds, knocking at the back-door of your mind, each taking a little of your substance, each carrying away some crumb of that belief in a few simple notions you must cling to if you want to live decently and would like to die easy!

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924, Polish-born British Novelist)


Nothing dies harder than a bad idea.

Julie Cameron (American Author of “The Artist’s Way”)


I’m not impressed with the power of a corporate president. I am impressed with the power of ideas.

Ken Mason (American Businessman, President of Quaker Oats)


Ideas that enter the mind under fire remain there securely and for ever.

Leon Trotsky (1879-1940, Russian Revolutionary)



Get your ideas on paper and study them. Do not let them go to waste!

Les Brown (1945-, American Speaker, Author, Trainer, Motivator Lecturer)


The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.

Linus Pauling (1901-1994, American Chemist, 2 Time Nobel Winner)


A powerful idea communicates some of its strength to him who challenges it.

Marcel Proust (1871-1922, French Novelist)


When an idea reaches critical mass there is no stopping the shift its presence will induce.

Marianne Williamson (1952-, American Author, Lecturer on Spirituality)


A crank is someone with a new idea — until it catches on.

Mark Twain (1835-1910, American Humorist, Writer)


There are more ideas on earth than intellectuals imagine. And these ideas are more active, stronger, more resistant, more passionate than “politicians” think. We have to be there at the birth of ideas, the bursting outward of their force: not in books expressing them, but in events manifesting this force, in struggles carried on around ideas, for or against them. Ideas do not rule the world. But it is because the world has ideas… that it is not passively ruled by those who are its leaders or those who would like to teach it, once and for all, what it must think.

Michel Foucault (1926-1984, French Essayist, Philosopher)


Ideas are powerful things, requiring not a studious contemplation but an action, even if it is only an inner action. Their acquisition obligates each man in some way to change his life, even if it is only his inner life. They demand to be stood for. They dictate where a man must concentrate his vision. They determine his moral and intellectual priorities. They provide him with allies and make him enemies. In short, ideas impose an interest in their ultimate fate which goes far beyond the realm of the merely reasonable.

Midge Decter (1927-, American Author, Editor, Social Critic)


The idea is in my head to put it down is nothing.

Milton Avery (1893-1965, American Painter)


Long is the road from conception to completion.

MoliFre (1622-1673, French Playwright)


We are governed not by armies, but by ideas.

Mona Caird


Man’s fear of ideas is probably the greatest dike holding back human knowledge and happiness.

Morris L. Ernst (1888-18?, American Lawyer, Statesman, Author)


All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970, American Speaker, Motivational Writer, “Think and Grow Rich”)


Ideas… they have the power…

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970, American Speaker, Motivational Writer, “Think and Grow Rich”)


Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprung up.

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American Author, Wit, Poet)


A new and valid idea is worth more than a regiment and fewer men can furnish the former than command the latter.

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American Author, Wit, Poet)


A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American Author, Wit, Poet)


Man’s mind, stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American Author, Wit, Poet)


But how shall I get ideas? “Keep your wits open! Observe! Observe! Study! Study! But above all, Think! Think! And when a noble image is indelibly impressed upon the mind — Act!

Orison Swett Marden (1850-1924, American Author, Founder of Success Magazine)


There is no adequate defense, except stupidity, against the impact of a new idea.

W. Bridgman (1882-1961, American Professor, Philosopher)


An idea is a point of departure and no more. As soon as you elaborate it, it becomes transformed by thought.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish Artist)


It’s very good for an idea to be commonplace. The important thing is that a new idea should develop out of what is already there so that it soon becomes an old acquaintance. Old acquaintances aren’t by any means always welcome, but at least one can’t be mistaken as to who or what they are.

Penelope Fitzgerald (1916-, British Author)


If you pray for only one thing, .let it be for an idea.

Percy Sutton (American Businessman, President of Inner City Broadcasting)


If you want to get across an idea, wrap it up in a person.

Ralph Bunche


It is a lesson which all history teaches wise men, to put trust in ideas, and not in circumstances.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American Poet, Essayist)


Ideas must work through the brains and the arms of good and brave men, or they are no better than dreams.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American Poet, Essayist)



We are prisoners of ideas.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American Poet, Essayist)


There is no prosperity, trade, art, city, or great material wealth of any kind, but if you trace it home, you will find it rooted in a thought of some individual man. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American Poet, Essayist)


You have to hatch ideas — and then hitch them.

Ray D. Everson


Very simple ideas lie within the reach only of complex minds

Remy De Gourmont (1858-1915, French Novelist, Philosopher, Poet, Playwright)


An idea is never given to you without you being given the power to make it reality. You must, nevertheless, suffer for it.

Richard Bach (1936-, American Author)


The difference between people and ideas is… only superficial.

Richard Rorty (1931-, American Philosopher)


Brain cells create ideas. Stress kills brain cells. Stress is not a good idea.

Richard Saunders


An idea is a feat of association, and the height of it is a good metaphor.

Robert Frost (1875-1963, American Poet)


Our greatest lack is not money for any undertaking, but rather ideas, If the ideas

are good, cash will somehow flow to where it is needed.

Robert H. Schuller (1926-, American Minister (Crystal Cathedral), Author, Social Leader)


Many ideas are good for a limited time — not forever.

Robert Townsend (American Businessman, President of Avis)


Once I thought ideas were exceptions not the rule. That is not so. Ideas are so plentiful that they ride by on air. You’ve only to reach out and snatch one…

Rod Mckeun


It’s easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out-of-date.

Roger Von Oech


Every new idea is an impossibility until it is born.

Ron Brown (Secretary of Commerce)


Such as take lodgings in a head that’s to be let unfurnished.

Samuel Butler (1612-1680, British Poet, Satirist)


I had a monumental idea this morning, but I didn’t like it.

Samuel Goldwyn (1882-1974, American Film Producer, Founder, MGM)


The wise only possess ideas; the greater part of mankind are possessed by them.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834, British Poet, Critic, Philosopher)


There are well-dressed foolish ideas, just as there are will-dressed fools.

Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort (1741-1794, French Writer, Journalist, Playwright)


A man is not necessarily intelligent because he has plenty of ideas, any more than he is a good general because he has plenty of soldiers.

Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort (1741-1794, French Writer, Journalist, Playwright)


Sometimes the best, and only effective, way to kill an idea is to put it into practice.

Sidney J. Harris (1917-, American Journalist)


The human mind treats a new idea the way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it.

Sir Peter Medawar (1915-1987, British Immunologist)


The most important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.

Sir William Bragg (1862-1942-, Australian Physicist, 1915 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics)


Concepts, like individuals, have their histories and are just as incapable of withstanding the ravages of time as are individuals. But in and through all this they retain a kind of homesickness for the scenes of their childhood.

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855, Danish Philosopher, Writer)


Not just in commerce but in the world of ideas too our age is putting on a veritable clearance sale. Everything can be had so dirt cheap that one begins to wander whether in the end anyone will want to make a bid.

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855, Danish Philosopher, Writer)


A new idea is like a child. It’s easier to conceive than to deliver.

Ted Koysis


Great ideas originate in the muscles.

Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931, American Inventor, Entrepreneur, Founder of GE)



The value of an idea lies in the using of it.

Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931, American Inventor, Entrepreneur, Founder of GE)


To have a great idea, have a lot of them.

Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931, American Inventor, Entrepreneur, Founder of GE)


Ideas lose themselves as quickly as quail, and one must wing them the minute they rise out of the grass, or they are gone.

Thomas F. Kennedy


If you are possessed by an idea, you find it expressed everywhere, you even smell it.

Thomas Mann (1875-1955, German Author, Critic)


Great people talk about ideas. Small people talk about other people.

Tobias S. Gibson


When patterns are broken, new worlds can emerge.

Tuli Kupferberg


There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885, French Poet, Dramatist, Novelist)


Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885, French Poet, Dramatist, Novelist)


An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of revelation.

William James (1842-1910, American Psychologist, Professor, Author)


A new idea is first condemned as ridiculous and then dismissed as trivial, until finally, it becomes what everybody knows.

William James (1842-1910, American Psychologist, Professor, Author)


The thinker dies, but his thoughts are beyond the reach of destruction. Men are mortal, but ideas are immortal.

William Lippmann


What you need is an idea.

William P. Lear


The ideas of a time are like the clothes of a season: they are as arbitrary, as much imposed by some superior will which is seldom explicit. They are utilitarian and political, the instruments of smooth-running government.

Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957, British Author, Painter)


An idea discovered is much better possessed.


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