Who Said Genius is 1 Percent Inspiration and 99 Percent Perspiration?

Definition: Good ideas are only slightly about creativity. They are mostly about hard work.

Origin of Genius is 1 Percent Inspiration and 99 Percent Perspiration

This is a famous quote attributed to Thomas Edison, a famous and prolific American inventor. The idea that hard work is the most important aspect of new inventions existed before Edison gave his quote, however.

The idea behind this quote is that it is easy to have a good idea, or a creative insight. However, to follow through with that idea, and turn it into a reality, takes a level of patience and dedication that few people have.

Examples of Genius is 1 Percent Inspiration and 99 Percent Perspiration

genius is one percent inspiration quote Here is an example in which two roommates are discussing a new idea that they had.

Mario: Eureka! I’m a genius!

Axel: Why?

Mario: I just had an idea that is going to make me millions. The idea involves wireless energy. Imagine if you could charge your phone just through the air!

Axel: I think Nikola Tesla had that idea over a hundred years ago. Also, it’s not enough to have the idea. Remember that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. After you have the idea you need to have the ability and willingness to take all the time necessary to bring it to fruition.

Thomas Edison quotes In this example, a school administrator is excited about his new idea.

Administrator: I just had an idea that could save us a ton of money in running our public schools.

Assistant: Really? What is it?

Administrator: Instead of hiring janitorial staff to clean the schools, we’ll make the children do it! And that’s not even the best part. Remember that old saying that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration? In this case, I get to be a genius without any hard work! We’ll make the children work!

Assistant: It might be more work than you think. The janitors have a union, and the parents won’t want their kids spending time cleaning when they should be learning. The kids might not like it either.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article that seeks to give career advice.

  • As Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” Career success is often defined by moments of creative genius. But we can’t just wait for brilliant ideas to come to us—we have to put in the work, too. –Forbes

The second example attributes the quote to Albert Einstein.

  • Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that “genius is 1 percent talent and 99 percent hard work.” To make anything pay off, one must be a dedicated and persistent individual. –Greenwich Time


The quote genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration is a famous Thomas Edison quote that shows the importance of dedication and hard work over mere creativity.