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John Adair's 100 Greatest Ideas for Smart Decision Making by John Adair

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Idea 81: Creativity in action – Thomas Edison

A successful man is a friend to failure.

Chinese proverb

Continually called a genius himself, Thomas Edison gave some thought to what the word meant, coming up with the famous definition: ‘Genius is 1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration.’ He enlarged on this to his secretary:

Well, about ninety-nine per cent of it is a knowledge of the things that will not work. The other one per cent may be genius, but the only way that I know to accomplish anything is everlastingly to keep working with patient observation.

Even with Edison’s phenomenal work rate, however, it is unlikely that most of us would come up with even one invention of the calibre of the light bulb in the course of a lifetime. ...

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