Creativity Quotes

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The quotations here fall into two main categories.

The first category is from people who have had a very restricted vision, with hindsight their comments can be used as powerful examples of what can happen if you don't allow creative thoughts to flourish.

The second category is from people who have had a much more creative, open view of life.

1

  • "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." --Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
  • "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." --Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
  • "I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." --The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
  • "But what ... is it good for?" --Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
  • "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." --Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
  • "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." --Western Union internal memo, 1876.
  • "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" --David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
  • "The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." --A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)
  • "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" --H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.
  • "I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper." --Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With the Wind."
  • "A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make." --Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies.
  • "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." --Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
  • "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." --Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.
  • "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 the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M "Post-It" Notepads.
  • "So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'" --Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and H-P interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.
  • "Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." --1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work.
  • "You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your muscles? It can't be done. It's just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training." --Response to Arthur Jones, who solved the "unsolvable" problem by inventing Nautilus.
  • "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." --Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.
  • "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." --Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.
  • "Aeroplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." --Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.
  • "Everything that can be invented has been invented." --Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.
  • "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction". --Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872
  • "The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon". --Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.
  • "640K ought to be enough for anybody." -- Bill Gates, 1981

2

  • "Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity" -- Michael Porter, Harvard Business School
  • "There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes." -- Buckminster Fuller
  • "If at first, the idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it." -- Albert Einstein
  • "Whenever you see a successful business someone once made a courageous decision" - - Peter F Drucker.
  • "Standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world. Imagination is the highest kite one can fly" -- Lauren Bacall.
  • "The ability to learn faster than the competition is often the only sustainable competitive advantage a company can have" -- Arie de Geus
  • "In the long history of humankind (and animalkind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." -- Charles Darwin.
  • "Just as energy is the basis of life itself, and ideas the source of innovation, so is innovation the vital spark of all human change, improvement and progress" -- Theodore Levitt
  • "Backwards understood be only can but, forwards lived be must life." -- Kierkegaard Soren
  • "Instead of pouring knowledge into people's heads, we need to help them grind a new set of eyeglasses so that we can see the world in a new way." -- J S Brown.
  • "And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more." -- Erica Jong.
  • "Come to the edge. We might fall. Come to the edge. It's too high! Come to the edge! And they came, and he pushed...... and they flew." -- Christopher Logue
  • "The 'silly' question is the first intimation of some totally new development." -- Alfred North Whitehead.
  • "Someone once said that for every problem there is a solution that is simple, attractive ... and wrong." -- Arthur C Clarke.
  • The opposite of creativity is cynicism. -- Esa Saarinen
  • "Problems cannot be solved by thinking within the framework in which the problems were created." -- Albert Einstein.
  • "As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might." -- Marian Anderson
  • "Since finding out what something is is largely a matter of discovering what it is like, the most impressive contribution to the growth of intelligibility has been made by the application of suggestive metaphors." -- Jonathan Miller.
  • "The metaphor is probably the most fertile power possessed my men." -- Ortega Y Gassett.
  • "The greater the emphasis on perfection the further it recedes" -- Haridas Chaudhuri.
  • "When a finger points to the moon the imbecile looks at the finger" -- Chinese proverb.
  • "Go some distance away because the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and a lack of harmony of proportion is rapidly seen." -- Leonardo da Vinci.
  • "The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity." -- Ludwig Wittgenstein.
  • "Some people will like me and some won't. So I might as well be myself, and then at least I'll know that the people who like me, like me." -- Hugh Prather.
  • "You see things: you say 'Why?' But I dream things that never are: and say 'Why not?'" -- George Bernard Shaw in Back to Methuselah
  • "Exhilaration is that feeling you get just after a great idea hits you and just before you realise what's wrong with it." -- Anonymous.
  • "Creativity is the ability to see relationships where none exist." -- Thomas Disch
  • "A problem is a chance for you to do your best." -- Duke Ellington.
  • "When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before." -- Mae West.
  • "As soon as you have made a thought, Laugh at it." -- Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher.
  • "All great discoveries are made by people whose feelings run ahead of their thinking." -- C H Oakhurst.
  • "If you can dream it, you can do it." -- Walt Disney.
  • "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." -- Henry David Thoreau.
  • "Analysis kills spontaneity. The grain once ground into flour, springs and germinates no more." -- Henri Frederic Amiel.
  • "An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come." -- Victor Hugo.
  • "Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different." -- Albert Szent Gyorgi.
  • "Think before you speak is criticism's motto; speak before you think, creation's." -- E M Forster.
  • "Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one's head." -- Mark Twain.
  • "There are some things that are so serious you have to laugh at them." --Niels Bohr.
  • "I pressed down on the mental accelerator. The old lemon throbbed fiercely. I got an idea." -- P G Wodehouse.
  • "Between the idea and the reality falls the shadow." -- T S Eliot.
  • "Launching a breakthrough idea is like shooting skeet. People's needs change, so you must aim well ahead of the target to hit it." -- Raymond Kurzweil.
  • "Half the failures in life arise from pulling on one's horse as it is leaping." -- Julius Hare, 1795 1855.
  • "Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger." -- Franklin P Jones.
  • "None of us are as smart as all of us." -- Japanese proverb
  • "Tread softly because you tread on my dreams." -- W B Yeates.
  • "Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream." -- Malcolm Muggeridge.
  • "There is no limit to what a man can achieve as long as he doesn't care who get's the credit" -- Bob Woodruff. Coca Cola.
  • "Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself." -- Doris Lessing.
  • "Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprang up." -- Oliver Wendell Holmes.
  • "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves." -- Carl Jung.
  • "Without problems there would be no reason to improve." -- Benjamin C Jones.
  • "CREATIVITY is everyone's ABILITY, but, its COMPLEXITY lies in its USAGE." --CreativeCupid aka Madhan Neelapu
  • "Thinking CREATIVELY makes you know your actual ability to think"--CreativeCupid aka Madhan Neelapu
  • "CREATIVITY is the HEART of every ART"--CreativeCupid aka Madhan Neelapu
  • "CREATION is the DIVINE art"--CreativeCupid aka Madhan Neelapu
  • "None can confiscate CREATIVITY..........."--CreativeCupid aka Madhan Neelapu
  • "CREATIVITY is not just the way I like to think, its the way I like to live in"--CreativeCupid aka Madhan Neelapu