Be Alone, That Is the Secret of Invention; Be Alone, That Is When Ideas Are Born

Nikola Tesla? Orrin E. Dunlap Jr.? Thomas P. Hughes? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The famous inventor and futurist Nikola Tesla apparently said the following:

Be alone, that is the secret of invention.

Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1934 Nikola Tesla was interviewed in “The New York Times” by journalist Orrin E. Dunlap Jr, and the brilliant innovator highlighted the value of separateness: 1

“It is providential that the youth or man of inventive mind is not ‘blessed’ with a million dollars,” said Mr. Tesla. “He would find it difficult to think. The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think.

Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Be Alone, That Is the Secret of Invention; Be Alone, That Is When Ideas Are Born

Notes:

  1. 1934 April 8, New York Times, An Inventor’s Seasoned Ideas: Nikola Tesla, Pointing to ‘Grievous Errors’ of the Past by Orrin E. Dunlap Jr., Quote Page X9, Column 1 and 2, New York. (ProQuest)