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1% inspiration, 29% perspiration, 70% plagiarism

Posted by Lewis on April 11, 2006

In Reply to: One percent inspiration and nintynine perspiration posted by Brian from Shawnee on April 11, 2006

: : : "Genius is one percent inspiration and nintynine perspiration"what does this phrase means.

: :
: : Just what it says. That to be a genius you need not only to have inspiration, but to work and sweat to make your inspiration bear fruit.

: That was originally said by Thomas Alva Edison, "the Wizard of Menlo Park", who worked, lived, and died in my hometown of West Orange, New Jersey.

In the days when Patents were often difficult to register and breaches of confidence commonplace, it was not difficult for a well-organised commercial laboratory to use others' ideas and then claim the Patent. I have read suggestions that the Edison Lab was one such place and that they were not in themselves the creative genii that history generally names them. They may have merely been good at spotting good unprotected ideas and developing them/patenting them.

it is like the Alexander Fleming story - he discovered penicillin, but didn't develop it or initially appreciate the importance of his discovery. when he got the Nobel Prize - the two guys who did the crucial follow up work turning his minor discovery into a life-saver shared the prize - yet it is his name, not theirs that is associated with the discovery.

there are many other ideas for which a populariser gained the credit.

Edison was something of a Gates-like entrepreneur from what I hear and were it not for their ilk, many great ideas would never get the publication they deserve.

Still - I think "plagiarism" ought to be added to the quote...