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Copyrighted © 1996 By Gerald Beals All rights Reserved
My main purpose in life is to make enough money to create ever more inventions.... The dove is my emblem.... I want to save and advance human life, not destroy it.... I am proud of the fact that I have never invented weapons to kill....
I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others... I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent....
My principal business consists of giving commercial value to the brilliant, but misdirected, ideas of others.... Accordingly, I never pick up an item without thinking of how I might improve it.
I readily absorb ideas from every source, frequently starting where the last person left off.
Because ideas have to be original only with regard to their adaptation to the problem at hand, I am always extremely interested in how others have used them....
A good idea is never lost. Even though its originator or possessor may die without publicizing it, it will someday be reborn in the mind of another....
I am not overly impressed by the great names and reputations of those who might be trying to beat me to an invention.... Its their 'ideas' that appeal to me. I am quite correctly described as 'more of a sponge than an inventor....'
- "Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration. Accordingly, a 'genius' is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework."
- Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
- The first requisite for success is to develop the ability to focus and apply your mental and physical energies to the problem at hand - without growing weary. Because such thinking is often difficult, there seems to be no limit to which some people will go to avoid the effort and labor that is associated with it....
- I never did anything worth doing entirely by accident.... Almost none of my inventions were derived in that manner. They were achieved by having trained myself to be analytical and to endure and tolerate hard work.
- Inspiration can be found in a pile of junk. Sometimes, you can put it together with a good imagination and invent something.
- Personally, I enjoy working about 18 hours a day. Besides the short catnaps I take each day, I average about four to five hours of sleep per night.
- Most of the exercise I get is from standing and walking all day from one laboratory table to another. I derive more benefit and entertainment from this than some of my friends and competitors get from playing games like golf.
- If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves....
- Our schools are not teaching students to think. It is astonishing how many young people have difficulty in putting their brains definitely and systematically to work....
- The three things that are most essential to achievement are common sense, hard work and stick-to-it-iv-ness.....
- 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....
- Many of life's failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
- Pretty much everything will come to him who hustles while he waits. I believe that restlessness is discontent, and discontent is merely the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.
- 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.
- Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do in the first place doesn't mean it's useless....
- Results? Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward....
- Surprises and reverses can serve as an incentive for great accomplishment. There are no rules here, we're just trying to accomplish something.
- As a cure for worrying, work is far better than whiskey. I always found that, if I began to worry, the best thing I could do was focus upon doing something useful and then work very hard at it. Soon, I would forget what was troubling me.
- Barring serious accidents, if you are not preoccupied with worry and you work hard, you can look forward to a reasonably lengthy existence.... Its not the hard work that kills, its the worrying that kills.
- The only time I really become discouraged is when I think of all the things I would like to do and the little time I have in which to do them.
- The thing I lose patience with the most is the clock. Its hands move too fast.
- Time is really the only capital that any human being has and the thing that he can least afford to waste or lose...
- From his neck down a man is worth a couple of dollars a day, from his neck up he is worth anything that his brain can produce.
- The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human body, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.
- Whatever the mind of man creates, should be controlled by man's character.
- I love great music and art, but I think 'cubist' songs and paintings are hideous.
- Someday, man will harness the rise and fall of the tides, imprison the power of the sun, and release atomic power.
- I am both pleased but astonished by the fact that mankind has not yet begun to use all the means and devices that are available for destruction. I hope that such weapons are never manufactured in quantity.
- The United States, and other advanced nations, will someday be able to produce instruments of death so terrible the world will be in abject terror of itself and its ability to end civilization.... Such war-making weapons should be developed - but only for purposes of discovery and experimentation
- The dove is my emblem.... I want to save and advance human life, not destroy it.... I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill...
- To me, the idea and expectation that the day is slowly and surely coming when we will be able to honestly say we are our brother's keeper and not his oppressor is very beautiful .
- Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge....
- Its obvious that we don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.
- I believe that the science of chemistry alone almost proves the existence of an intelligent creator.
- We have merely scratched the surface of the store of knowledge which will come to us. I believe that we are now, a-tremble on the verge of vast discoveries - discoveries so wondrously important they will upset the present trend of human thought and start it along completely new lines .
- Be courageous! Whatever setbacks America has encountered, it has always emerged as a stronger and more prosperous nation.... Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith and go forward!
- If parents pass enthusiasm along to their children, they will leave them an estate of incalculable value....
- The memory of my mother will always be a blessing to me....
- Life's most soothing things are a child's goodnight and sweet music....
- Great music and art are earthly wonders, but I think 'cubist' songs and paintings are hideous.
- Even though I am nearly deaf, I seem to be gifted with a kind of inner hearing which enables me to detect sounds and noises that the listeners do not perceive.
- Of all my inventions, I liked the phonograph best...."
Paraphrased Edison quote with respect to his work on perfecting the light bulb:
From "Edison The Man And His Work" by George S. Bryan 1926.
"The electric light has caused me the greatest amount of study and has required the most elaborate experiments.... Although I was never myself discouraged or hopeless of its success, I can not say the same for my associates.... Through all of the years of experimenting with it, I never once made an associated discovery. It was deductive... The results I achieved were the consequence of invention - pure and simple. I would construct and work along various lines until I found them untenable. When one theory was discarded, I developed another at once. I realized very early that this was the only possible way for me to work out all the problems.
"The terrible thing about interest is that those people who will not be turning a shovel full of dirt on this (Muscle Shoals Dam Project) or be contributing a pound of material towards it will collect more money from the United States than will the People who supply all the material and do all the work on it."
Edison's favorite piece of poetry was stanza nine from Thomas Gray's Elegy To A Country-Churchyard, which he perpetually recited within earshot of his many associates:
"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike the inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
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