While not everyone will agree, we take it as a given that ideas matter, that they shape the world in which we live for good or for ill. If we didn’t believe in the power of ideas, we wouldn’t have this website.

Ideas are powerful precisely because they are ideas — they live far beyond the man who first came up with them. Killing them is far more difficult than killing a person. Inspiring people to action can remake the world with greater power than just about anything. History is filled with examples where ideas are even more powerful than armies in motion.

We live in a time when ideas both develop and transmit faster than ever thanks to changes in technology. This has also democratized the marketplace of ideas. Just about anyone can now access the information needed to innovate, whether that be in the tech sector or on the battlefield of ideas.

What’s more, this democratized access to ideas makes it easier than ever for us to expand our own mind and to achieve a better and more nuanced understanding of ideas. What once required advanced graduate study can now easily be done at home in our spare time.

This means that anyone can now put their informed and fully developed ideas out into the world, for better or for worse.

The following quotes illustrate just how powerful and important ideas are in our world.


Quotes About the Power of Ideas


Pablo Picasso

“You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea.”

– Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso on Ideas Quotes

Pablo Picasso’s quote suggests the importance of having a general direction or vision for one’s actions, but leaving room for creativity and spontaneity in the process. He advocates for a balance between structure and flexibility, acknowledging that overly rigid plans can stifle innovation and limit possibilities. Picasso’s words encourage embracing uncertainty and allowing ideas to evolve organically, fostering an environment where creativity can flourish. This quote speaks to the value of open-mindedness and adaptability in navigating the creative process and finding new avenues for expression.


Victor Hugo

“The most powerful thing in the world is an idea whose time has come.”

– Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo on Ideas Quotes

Victor Hugo’s quote highlights the immense influence and impact of ideas when they align with the prevailing circumstances and societal context. He emphasizes that when the conditions are ripe and conducive, even a single idea has the potential to spark profound and far-reaching change. Hugo’s words underscore the transformative power of ideas, suggesting that they possess an inherent force that can shape the course of history. This quote serves as a reminder of the importance of timing and receptivity in realizing the full potential of visionary concepts and innovations.


H.G. Wells

“Human history is, in essence, a history of ideas.”

– H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells on Ideas Quotes

H.G. Wells’ quote encapsulates the notion that the progression of humanity is fundamentally driven by the evolution and dissemination of ideas. He suggests that pivotal moments in history, from cultural shifts to scientific advancements, can be traced back to the emergence and propagation of new concepts and ideologies. Wells emphasizes the central role that ideas play in shaping societies, influencing behaviors, and driving progress. This quote serves as a testament to the enduring significance of intellectual exploration and innovation in the collective narrative of human civilization.


Jim Rohn

“Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need is just one more in a series of good ideas. It’s like dialing the numbers into the lock. You’ve got 5 or 6 numbers dialed into the lock, and the lock still won’t come up. But you don’t need 5 or 6 more numbers. Maybe you just need one more.”

– Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn on Ideas Quotes

Jim Rohn’s quote illustrates the transformative potential of ideas and the cumulative effect they can have on one’s life. He uses the metaphor of dialing numbers into a lock to convey the incremental nature of progress and the importance of persistence in pursuing new ideas. Rohn suggests that even a single, well-timed idea has the power to unlock doors to success and fulfillment. This quote emphasizes the significance of continuously seeking inspiration and innovation, as each new idea has the potential to bring us closer to our goals and aspirations.


Aldous Huxley

“It is possible to argue that the really influential book is not that which converts ten millions of casual readers but rather that which converts the very few who at any given moment succeed in seizing power.  Marx and Sorel have been influential in the modern world.  Not so much because they were best sellers.  But because among their few readers were two men called respectively Lenin and Mussolini.”

– Aldous Huxley, speaking on how ideas influence people

Aldous Huxley on Ideas Quotes

Aldous Huxley’s quote reflects on the profound impact that ideas can have on individuals who hold positions of power and influence. He argues that while some books may reach a vast audience, it is the select few who grasp and implement these ideas that ultimately shape history. By referencing Marx, Sorel, Lenin, and Mussolini, Huxley highlights how certain ideologies, despite not being widely read, can significantly influence the course of events through the actions of a determined few. This quote underscores the critical role of intellectual thought in shaping political and social movements, emphasizing the importance of discernment and critical thinking among leaders and decision-makers.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Goethe on Ideas Quotes

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s quote likens daring ideas to chess pieces strategically advanced on the board. While these ideas may face opposition or defeat, they possess the potential to initiate a sequence of actions that lead to success. Through this analogy, Goethe suggests that even if daring ideas encounter setbacks, they can still catalyze progress and ultimately contribute to achieving victory. This quote underscores the importance of boldness and innovation in navigating challenges and pursuing meaningful change.


John F. Kennedy

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.”

– John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy on Ideas Quotes

John F. Kennedy’s quote reflects on the enduring power of ideas, which outlast individuals and even entire nations. While individuals and nations may perish, the impact of transformative ideas persists through time. Kennedy suggests that ideas possess a timeless quality, continuing to shape and influence the course of history long after their originators have passed. This quote emphasizes the profound and lasting influence that ideas can have on humanity, transcending mortal limits and contributing to the ongoing evolution of society and civilization.


Nolan Bushnell

“Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.”

– Nolan Bushnell

Nolan Bushnell on Ideas Quotes

Nolan Bushnell’s quote highlights the ubiquitous nature of ideas and the crucial distinction between mere conception and impactful action. While everyone may conceive ideas, Bushnell emphasizes that it is those who actively pursue their ideas beyond contemplation—those who take tangible steps to realize them—who effect meaningful change. By emphasizing the importance of action, Bushnell underscores the transformative potential that lies in translating ideas into concrete actions, ultimately making a difference in the world.


Marie Curie

“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”

– Marie Curie

Marie Curie on Ideas Quotes

Marie Curie’s quote urges a shift in focus from people to ideas, advocating for a greater curiosity towards intellectual pursuits rather than interpersonal matters. By prioritizing curiosity about ideas, Curie encourages individuals to delve into the realm of knowledge, exploration, and innovation. This quote reflects Curie’s own dedication to scientific inquiry and suggests that the pursuit of knowledge and understanding holds greater value than mere social curiosity.


Mark Twain

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

– Mark Twain

Mark Twain on Ideas Quotes

Mark Twain’s quote suggests that innovation doesn’t involve creating entirely new concepts but rather rearranging existing ideas in novel ways. Using the metaphor of a kaleidoscope, he illustrates how humans continuously recombine old ideas to form fresh perspectives and inventions. This perspective highlights the iterative nature of creativity and emphasizes the timeless nature of fundamental concepts throughout history.


Joke about artificial intelligence

“A modern textile mill employs only a man and a dog – the man to feed the dog, and the dog to keep the man away from the machines.”

– Joke about artificial intelligence

Joke about artificial intelligence on Ideas Quotes

This humorous quote plays on the idea of automation and artificial intelligence in modern industry. It suggests that with advanced technology, such as in a textile mill, only a man and a dog are needed for operation. However, their roles are comically simple: the man’s task is to feed the dog, while the dog’s role is to prevent the man from interfering with the machines. The joke satirizes the potential displacement of human labor by automation, highlighting the whimsical outcome of technological progress.