≡ Menu

Einstein Was Hilarious And Humble: Three Great Quotes

If you ever happen to think about Albert Einstein, what do you think of?  The hair?  E=mc squared?  The Atom bomb?  Time travel? Hilarious quotes?



I’m guessing you didn’t say sense of humor.  But hear this!  Einstein was a hilarious guy with a witty streak rivaled only by his theorems and other assorted acts of brilliance.

He was also humble.  We talked recently about Kurt Vonnegut, his sense of humor, and some of his most memorable quotes.  I think he would have been great pals with Einstein, the man who said

1. You ask me if I keep a notebook to record my great ideas. I’ve only ever had one…

2. Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.

3. If A equals success, then the formula is: A = X + Y + Z, X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut.

This fits in nicely with our discussion of humor yesterday.  Much humor is self-defensive in nature and most humor seems (to me at least) to have at least a bit of sadness behind it, if not a lot.

Each of these three witty remarks above suggests a man who has learned lessons and paid his dues.

Albert and Kurt, wish you were here.  You can’t have too many modest and funny geniuses.

If any of you readers have any funny Einstein quotes, please feel free to share them.


If you liked this post, please Subscribe To The RSS feed.

And if you enjoy the site, you’ll love the Newsletter

You might also like:

Being Stupid Makes Life Harder

The Night I Discovered Time Travel

The Freshwater Cyclops of Wal-Mart

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Casey August 12, 2009, 9:12 am

    My favorite quote is when Albert was deriving a theorem for a colleague… Some where he lost his place and forgot how to finish it so he waved his hands, wrote “Then a miracle happened” and wrote the answer.

    I tried that on a test once, funny thing, the teacher didn’t give me credit.
    (She later told me that if I ever published a paper that fundamentally alters our understanding of the universe she would give me those points back)

  • Daisy August 12, 2009, 10:19 am

    Word on the street is that Einstein may have been on the autism spectrum. It’s impossible to know now, but it’s also likely that he was simply so highly gifted that he did not fit in with most neurotypical folks.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 12, 2009, 10:33 am

      Daisy, interesting. I admit I do not have my ear to the ground on the same street you do:)

  • nic August 12, 2009, 12:06 pm

    A few Einstein quotes I like:

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

    “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

    “I am convinced that He (God) does not play dice.”

    “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”

    “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.”

    “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the the universe.”

    “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

    “No, this trick won’t work…How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?”

    “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

    And those are confined just to his quotes with humour in them; and as Josh wrote of Einstein’s humility:

    “Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.”

    And finally, possibly my favourite quote of his:

    “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

    Sorry to take over your post, Josh, I’ll get my coat and take my leave!

    • Josh Hanagarne August 12, 2009, 12:37 pm

      Nic, you didn’t take over the post, Einstein did. I happily give the floor to him. Are you really wearing a coat? I’m stifling here in Utah right now.

    • mk akan February 11, 2010, 8:42 am

      i love all the quotes …great…he was truly a great man…

      • Josh Hanagarne February 11, 2010, 1:13 pm

        There’s nothing better than a humble genius:)

  • Leah August 12, 2009, 12:32 pm

    These days I think of time travel, probably due to the hype of the soon-to-be-released movie, “The Time Traveler’s Wife”. It was one of the best books I’ve read in the past few years. I just hope the movie doesn’t kill me… So few movies do the book justice. A few notable ones: To Kill a Mockingbird, Fried Green Tomatoes. Sad, I can’t think of any others now– more a statement on my memory than the movies and books themselves.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 12, 2009, 12:38 pm

      Leah, I started Tim Traveler’s Wife since I knew it had a librarian in it, and I didn’t get through it. Can’t remember why. Just wasn’t time, I guess. Never read Fried Green Tomatoes. Can you recommend it?

  • Klaus @ TechPatio August 13, 2009, 3:05 am

    I wonder what’s the story behind that picture with the tongue out… he looks like a crazy old man, which surely can’t be true.

  • nic August 13, 2009, 6:07 am


    My wife was teaching in Utah last week, said it was extremely hot!

    I’m in the UK, and it’s warm here too!

    • Josh Hanagarne August 13, 2009, 7:40 am

      Nic, why didn’t she come say hi? What does she teach?

  • nic August 13, 2009, 6:08 am

    I’ll get my coat is a UK expression, similar to ‘I’m out of here’. Is it a phrase used in the USA?

    • Josh Hanagarne August 13, 2009, 7:40 am

      @nic. I got the gist of the phrase, I was just being “hilarious” and disagreeable:)

  • The Crazy Suburban Mom August 14, 2009, 9:23 am

    I think almost all humor stems from a kind of defense against the pain in the world…but in a ya know, good way. That and observation. Finding the common that most people miss and pointing it out to them.

    I would rather laugh than, well, pretty much anything.

    Just found your blog via problogger. As to going on and just doing… yes, you’re so right. Its funny the things you can accomplish. I’ve found I’ve accomplished the most remarkable things because I was too stupid to know I shouldn’t be able to accomplish them. People cover themselves with ceilings of their own making.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 14, 2009, 9:25 am

      @The Crazy Suburban Mom: You win “phrase of the day” for “ceilings of our own making.” Very, very nice, and even truer than nice.

  • the crazy suburban mom August 15, 2009, 3:54 am

    Phrase of the day? An honor as I truly love words and phraseology. Words are my thing….

    On a more practical note, is there perhaps a fruit of the month prize involved? I also love produce.


  • Gayze August 16, 2009, 2:58 pm

    Albert Einstein is one of my most favorite humans. When asked “who I’d like to sit and chat to for hours on end”, he’s usually the first person who comes to mind.

    I don’t think you can be a genius without a brilliant sense of humor.

    Go, Al!

    • Josh Hanagarne August 16, 2009, 3:41 pm

      Gayze, thanks for the comment. Who else is on your “chat for hours on end” list?

  • Gayze August 18, 2009, 6:53 pm

    “Gayze, thanks for the comment. Who else is on your “chat for hours on end” list?”

    Oh, a fun question! Let’s see….

    Gene Roddenberry
    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    Carl Sagan
    John Edward

    I’d be interested in hearing others’ answer to the question, too. 🙂