What Did Einstein Really Say?

Today, it is almost impossible to scroll down any social media more than a few times and not stumble upon some epic quote attached to Einstein. He is the most quoted scientist in history. It seems that this genius said most of the smart things humanity has to quote. But is that really so? Once and for all we are going to reveal what were Einstein’s words and what quotes were stripped from their creators and attached to him.

Everybody Is a Genius Quote

This is the famous quote half of the Facebook attributes to Einstein:

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Animal Allegory

There is no substantive evidence Albert ever said or wrote this. In the self-help book “The Rhythm of Life” there is a chapter with the title “Everybody is Genius.” The book appeared in 2004 which is 50 years after Einstein’s death.

As for the fish climbing a tree part, it is based on an allegorical framework that has been circling around education for decades. To be more precise, we think of tales about school for animals. A brief overview of the story would be that elephant, monkey, and Kangaroo were set for the animal school board. It was up to them to establish the educational and grading system as well as content the pupils were going to learn. After a long discussion, they agreed that all animals should be equally good at everything. They expected from every being to be able to jump like kangaroos, climb trees like monkeys, and look wise like elephants. An eagle, for example, was able to reach the top of the tree but not in a way monkies considered legitimate. So, the eagle was laughed, ridiculed, and discarded as stupid and useless.

The original author of the story was Amos E. Dolbear of Tufts College. It was written in 1898. Alterations of the allegory are what ensued until its essence was reduced to a quote later merged with the statement that everyone is a genius and attributed to Einstein.

The Ultimate Quotable Einstein

The Theory of Relativity Quote

Albert Einstein And Mileva Maric Are Example of Relativity Theory - When They Are Together Times Goes Faster

Albert Einstein And Mileva Maric

One of the most famous sayings attributed to Einstein is his simplified explanation of relativity theory.

When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.


Despite sounding so beautiful, this was not Einstein’s quote. This funny explanation emerged from the anecdote that was circling around him during 1929.

Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun

There is no evidence that Einstein said this. This quote can be traced back to a concluding sentence of an article in Harvard alumni magazine. The title of the article was “Mind Play” and it was published in March 1984. The original sentence was:

Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun.

The author of the article was George Scialabba. He graduated from the university in 1969. With time the imagination was switched with creativity and the quote as we know it was attributed to Albert Einstein.

Einstein Education Quote

One of the most famous quotes regarding education is:

Education is that which remains, if one has forgotten everything he learned in school


However, while Einstein did fully agree with this, it was not his saying. The quote came from the anonymous wit and appeared in the book “Out of My Later Years” written by Albert Einstein.

God Does Not Play Dice

This is also one of Einstein’s most famous quotes. But did he really say it? This one is debatable. The quote was extracted and paraphrased from the translated letter Einstein wrote to his friend and colleague theoretical physicist Max Born.

Quantum mechanics… delivers much, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the Old One. I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not play dice.

Piece from Einstein’s letter

We can see from here that Einstein uses the term the Old One(Der Alte) instead of God(Gott). While this may pass as his, it is very debatable if the spirit of Albert saying inside the letter could be transferred to the current quote.

The definition of insanity

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Rita Mae Brown

Actually, these are not his words either. After his death, Einstein was affixed to many wise sayings that came out of other people’s mouths. The same applies to the definition of insanity. Rita Mae Brown might be the genuine author of the quote as it appears in her novel “Sudden Death”.

Does Counting Count?

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

William Bruce Cameron

Another famous quote credited to Einstein is actually the creation of sociologist William Bruce Cameron in his Informal Sociology(1963).

Einstein Supported Astrology

Astrology is a science in itself and contains an illuminating body of knowledge. It taught me many things and I am greatly indebted to it.

Magazine Skeptical Inquirer in 2007

In 2007 Magazine Skeptical Inquirer attempted to present Albert Einstein as a man who perceived the astrology as legitimate science. However, the truth was exactly the opposite.

I fully agree with you concerning the pseudo-science of astrology. The interesting point is that this kind of superstition is so tenacious that it could persist through so many centuries.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein considered astrology to be nothing more than a superstition. The misinterpretation was intentionally implemented for commercial purposes. The authority of astrology received a rapid boost with having a mind like Einstein’s to back it up.

Einstein Quotes Book

There are dozens in not hundreds of sentences attributed to Einstein. Some of them did come out from his mouth and some of them did not. If you are interested in deep elaboration check out the book below.


The book goes into deep detail and features around 1,600 quotes in all.

Interesting Facts About Einstein

Facts About When Did Little Einstein Start To Talk

Little Einstein

Here are some other interesting facts about Albert Einstein:

  • He was born a German but in 1895 he moved to Switzerland and in 1896 he renounced his German citizenship and became a Swiss citizen.
  • In 1939 Einstein encouraged Roosevelt to build an atomic bomb. However, he was horrified by its use in 1945.
  • In 1933 Einstein openly opposed Nazi Germany and fled to the United States.
  • Einstein had a set of weird rules for his wife Mileva. She was supposed to get silent at his will, serve three meals a day, and expect no intimacy from him.
  • Albert’s second marriage was with his cousin.
  • Contrary to popular beliefs Einstein did not have a speech disability. He did start to speak words a little later than usual(around two).
  • Einstein was not a bad student. He was familiar with college physics before he was 11 years old. Albert was also a very good violin player and had received high marks in Latin and Greek. Before 15 he had already mastered calculus.
  • The time when Albert started to speak is also a very popular object of debate. Some say it was not before he was 5. Others claim it was three. Without any doubt, Einstein did start to speak a little later. However, between 2-3 he was capable of saying multi-word sentences.

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