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  1. Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.

Howard Aiken (1900-73) U.S. Computer engineer and mathematician. Quoted in Portraits in Silicon (Robert Slater; 1987)


  1. Every man with an idea has at least two or three followers.

Brooks Atkinson (1894-1984) U.S. critic and essayist. Once Around the Sun (1951)


  1. One of the greatest pains to a human being is the pain of a new idea.

Walter Bagehot (1826-77) British economist and journalist. Physics and politics (1872)


  1. Ours is the age of substitutes; instead of language, we have jargon; instead of principles, slogans; and instead of genuine ideas, bright ideas.

Eric Bentley (b.1916) British writer. New Republic (December 1952)


  1. In a restless, creative business with an emphasis on experiment and development, ideas are the lifeblood.

Richard Branson (b.1950) British entrepreneur, business executive, and founder of the Virgin Group. Speech to the Institute of Directors, London. “Growing Bigger While Still Staying Small” (May 1993)


  1. I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.

John Cage (1912-92) U.S. composer. Quoted in Conversing with Cage (1988)


  1. Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when you only have one idea.

Emile-August Chartier (1868-1951) French philosopher. Propos sur la Religion (1938)


  1. By and large our culture is a culture of corpses-deal people. The whole thrust of our interface with thinking is in historical terms.

Edward De Bono (b.1933) British creative-thinking theorist, educator, and writer. International Management (March 1988)


  1. Ideas are a commodity. Execution of them is not.

Michael Dell (b.1965) U.S. chairman and C.E.O. of Dell Computer Corporation. Fortune (1993)


  1. The important thing is that a new idea should develop out of what is already there so that it soon becomes an old acquaintance.

Penelope Fitzgerald (1916-2000) British novelist and biographer. The Gate of Angels (1990)


  1. Ideas do not rule the world. But it is because the world has ideas that it is not passively ruled by those who are its leaders or those who would like to teach it…what it must think.

Michel Foucault (1926-84) French philosopher. “Les Reportages d’Idees,” Corriere della Sera (November 12, 1978)


  1. All too often, executives expect every new idea or experiment to yield a big payoff. Such an expectation…makes a company overly conservative, and will quickly drain the portfolio of ideas and…of experiments of many interesting strategic options.

Gary Hamel (b.1954) U.S. academic, business writer, and consultant. Interview, Barnes & Noble (September 2000)


  1. Ideas are useless unless used.

Theodore Levitt (b.1925) U.S. management theorist, writer and editor. Article title, Inc. (February 1981)


  1. Field theory is a method of analyzing causal relations and of building scientific constructs.

Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) U.S. author. Field Theory in Social Science: Selected Theoretical Papers (D. Cartwright, ed.; 1951)


  1. There is nothing so practical as a good theory.

Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) U.S. author. Field Theory in Social Science: Selected Theoretical Papers (D. Cartwright, ed.; 1951)


  1. An idea isn’t responsible for the people who believe in it.

Don Marquis (1878-1937) U.S. journalist and humorist. Attrib.


  1. The newness of an idea matters less than its ease of use.

Mari Matsunaga (b.1954) Japanese IT designer. Fortune (October 2000)


  1. If new ideas are the lifeblood of any thriving organization…managers must learn to revere, not merely tolerate, the people who come up with the ideas.

Mark McCormack (1930-2003) U.S. entrepreneur, founder and C.E.O. of the International Management Group. McCormack on Managing (1985)


  1. If you go through life convinced that your way is always best, all the new ideas in the world will pass you by.

Akio Morita (1921-99) Japanese business executive. Made in Japan (1986)


  1. the most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

William S. Paley (1901-90) U.S. founder of Columbia Broadcasting Corporation. What I Believe (1930)


  1. In the long run, no ideas, no information.

Theodore Roszak (1933-81) U.S. historian, writer and editor. The Cult of Information (1994)


  1. Once the idea of inevitability is accepted the reality of inevitability is created.

Vandana Shiva (b.1944) Indian academic. Globalisation: Gandhi and Swadeshi (2000)


  1. Never dump a good idea on a conference table. It will belong to the conference.

Jane Trahey (1923-2000) U.S. copywriter and author. New York Times (September 18, 1977)


  1. When an idea is not robust enough to stand expression in simple terms, it is a sign that is should be rejected.

Luc De Clapiers Vauvenargues (1715-47) French soldier and writer. Reflections and Maxims (1746)


  1. You are always going to have people who copy things that work.

Jay S. Walker, U.S. entrepreneur, founder of, and C.E.O. of Walker Digital Corporation. “It’s a Completely New Way of Buying,” Business Week (Diane Brady; 1999)


  1. The only ideas that count are “A” ideas. There is no second place. That means we have to get everybody in the organization involved. If you do that right, the best ideas will rise to the top.

Jack Welch (b.1935) U.S. former chairman and C.E.O. of General Electric. “GE Keeps These Ideas Coming,” Fortune (Thomas A. Stewart; 1991)


  1. Every really new idea looks crazy at first.

A.N. Whitehead (1861-1947) British philosopher and mathematician. An Introduction to Mathematics (1911)


  1. Sometimes the first step is the hardest: coming up with an idea. Coming up with an idea should be like sitting on a pin-it should make you jump up and do something.

Kemmons Wilson (1913-2003) U.S. entrepreneur, founder and chairman of Holiday Inn. “What Makes for Success?,” Imprimis (March 1997)


  1. We’re not awarding ideas awards. We’re creating businesses.

Ann Winblad (b.1953) U.S. venture capitalist. Wall Street Journal (1999)


  1. The only people in the whole world who can change things are those who can sell ideas.

Lois Wyse (b.1926) U.S. advertising executive and writer. The Rosemary Touch (1974)