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Creative quotes and quotations
On Ideas...


Ideas are the sparks of light that leap from creative abrasions. They come unbidden and dance just beyond our fingertips. They can be crystal clear to us and as clear as mud to others. They are total fun and total frustration, both rolled into one.

See also

being creative, dreaming, fragility*, illumination, imagination, innovation, inspiration, invention, mind, tension, robustness*, unpredictability*

‘Few ideas are in themselves practical. It is for want of imagination in applying them that they fail. The creative process does not end with an idea–it only starts with an idea.’

John Arnold

‘A good idea turns every cog in your mind, making you scared of bed in case the whole machine grinds to a halt.’

Trevor Baylis

‘Every composer knows the anguish and despair occasioned by forgetting ideas which one has no time to write down.’

Hector Berlioz

‘You can imprison a man, but not an idea. You can exile a man, but not an idea. You can kill a man, but not an idea.’

Benazir Bhutto

‘Ideas are like matter, infinitely divisible. It is not given to us to get down so to speak to their final atoms, but to their molecular groupings–the way is never ending and the progress infinitely delightful and profitable....’

Christian Bovee

‘Everyone who's ever taken a shower has an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes the difference.’

Nolan Bushnell

‘Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.’

Émile Chartier

‘There are only two kinds of scholars; those that love ideas and those that hate them.’

Émile Chartier

‘Only the wise possess ideas; the greater part of mankind are possessed by them.’

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

‘Ideas are the root of creation.’

Ernest Dimnet

‘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 Alva Edison

‘Keep on the lookout for novel ideas that others have used successfully. Your idea has to be original only in its adaptation to the problem you're working on.’

Thomas Alva Edison

‘These days, the problem isn't how to innovate; it's how to get society to adopt the good ideas that already exist.’

Douglas Engelbart

‘Abstract ideas are the patterns two or more memories have in common.’

Rudolph Flesch

‘To die for an idea is to set a rather high price upon conjecture.’

Anatole France

‘When ideas fail, words come in handy.’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

Samuel Goldwyn

‘Great ideas need landing gear.’

C. D. Jackson

‘It is better to entertain an idea than to take home to live with you for the rest of your life.’

Randall Jarrell

‘A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.’

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

‘Ideas shape the course of history.’

John Maynard Keynes

‘Ideas are useless unless used.’

Theodore Levitt

‘We are apt to think that our ideas are the creation of our own wisdom ‘The thinker dies, but his thoughts are beyond the reach of destruction. Men are mortal; but ideas are immortal.’

Walter Lippmann

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

Thomas Mann

‘We are apt to think that our ideas are the creation of our own wisdom but the truth is that they are the result of the experience through outside contact.’

Konosuke Matsushita

‘A person who can create ideas worthy of note is a person who has learned much from others.’

Konosuke Matsushita

‘Any man who inflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood.’

H. L. Mencken

‘You cannot put a rope around the neck of an idea: you can not put an idea up against a barracks-square wall and riddle it with bullets: you cannot confine it in the strongest prison cell that your slaves could ever build.’

Sean O’Casey

‘In the same way as the tree bears the same fruit year after year, but each time new fruit, all lastingly valuable ideas in thinking must always be reborn.’

Albert Schweitzer

‘Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?’

Josef Stalin

‘Human history is, in essence, a history of ideas.’

H. G. Wells

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

John H. Vincent

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

Oscar Wilde

‘An idea is salvation by imagination.’

Frank Lloyd Wright

‘One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.’




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