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22 Quotes From Albert Einstein to Take You Inside His Mind

Albert Einstein is arguably the most famous physicist of all time. His theory of relativity forever changed the way we perceive the world and opened the door for a whole new theory in physics. Ironically, this humble man who had no desire for notoriety wound up becoming one of the most well known individuals of his time.

Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Einstein wasn’t just a brilliant physicist, however. He was also a remarkably wise man with incredible insights on society. Along with his groundbreaking discoveries in physics, his innovative views on a wide variety of topics ensure that he will be remembered for centuries to come.

In this article I would like to share some of Einstein’s most inspiring and incisive quotes with you. It is my hope that these quotes will provide you with a better understanding of the kind of human being he was.

1. On life

“People are like bicycles. They can keep their balance only as long as they keep moving.” —Letter to Eduard Einstein, February 5, 1930

2. On imagination

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” —Cosmic Religion and Other Opinions and Aphorisms, 1931

3. On thinking

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” —The Ultimate Quotable Einstein (2010 edition), Princeton University Press

4. On value

“If there is no price to be paid, it is also not of value.” —Aphorism, June 27, 1927

5. On peace

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” —Speech to the New History Society, 14 December 1930

6. On happiness

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects.” —Quotes by Ernst Strauss in French, Einstein: A Centenary Volume, 32.

7. On human destiny

“The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.” —Science and Religion, 1939

8. On work ethic

“The state of mind which enables a man to do work of this kind … is akin to that of the religious worshipper or the lover; the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart.” —From a Speech “Principles of Research”, 1918

9. On politics

“I am by heritage a Jew, by citizenship a Swiss, and by makeup a human being, and only a human being, without any special attachment to any state or national entity whatsoever.” —The Yale Book of Quotations

10. On ambition

“Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty; it stems rather from love and devotion towards men and towards objective things.” — To F.S. Wada, July 30, 1947

11. On knowledge

“The only source of knowledge is experience” —The Ultimate Quotable Einstein (2010 edition), Princeton University Press

12. On stupidity

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” — The World As I See it

13. On common sense

“Common sense is nothing more than a deposit of prejudices laid down in the mind before you reach eighteen.” —The Universe and Dr. Einstein

14. On social conditioning

“Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.” — Ideas and Opinions

15. On standing against the crowd

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.” — Letter to Morris Raphael Cohen (19 March 1940)

16. On the intellect

“We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.” — Out of My Later Years

17. On wealth

“I am absolutely convinced that no wealth in the world can help humanity forward, even in the hands of the most devoted worker in this cause. The example of great and pure individuals is the only thing that can lead us to noble thoughts and deeds. Money only appeals to selfishness and irresistibly invites abuse. Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus, or Gandhi armed with …money-bags?” — Ideas and Opinions

18. On talent

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” — Letter to Carl Seeling (11 March 1952)

19. On mastery

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” — Letter, July 1947

20. On freedom

“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.” —Address at the commencement of Swarthmore College, 1938

21. On solitude

“I am truly a ‘lone traveler’ and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude.” — The World As I See It

22. On humility

“The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained to liberation from the self.” —The World As I See It

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