Famous Nikola Tesla Quotes, a Genius Inventor Who Inspired Elon Musk

Nikola Tesla was a profound inventor, engineer, and futurist whose life greatly inspired Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla, Inc.

Who Was Nikola Tesla?

Nikola Tesla (1868 – 1943) was a Serbian-America inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist.

He is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. 

During his lifetime Tesla was granted over 100 U.S. patents (111 patents to be exact) for various apparatuses, machines, and methods.

Many of these patents are related to alternating current, lighting, electric motors, power transmission, and power generation.

Nikola Tesla is best known inventing the AC Electrical System, the Hydroelectric Power Plant, and the Tesla Coil

Nikola Tesla and Elon Musk

Similar to Elon Musk, Nikola Tesla was a visionary, who frequently conceptualized a world far into the future.

And like Musk, Tesla was able to execute on his ideas and create a significant positive impact to society. 

Tesla was constantly questioning the “norm” and like Musk was constantly badgered by skeptics who thought his ideas were impossible and even “crazy”. 

Through their relentless drive and perseverance they have been able to stretch the boundaries of what is considered possible.

In doing so, they have proven that with a combination of hard work, inquisitiveness, and most importantly the laws of physics, there is more to our universe than we currently know. 

Quote 1

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” – Nikola Tesla

This quote is strongly embodied by Elon Musk’s compass which drives him to look at problem from a “first principles“perspective. 

The first principles strategy is an effective method for breaking down complicated problems and generating original solutions.

Elon Musk has frequently been quoted referring to this fundamental thinking process.   

Quote 2

“I don’t care that they stole my idea … I care that they don’t have any of their own.” – Nikola Tesla

Elon Musk has never been the most secretive of people.

In fact, he is known for publicly releasing his patents and has been quoted saying Tesla

"will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology."

Elon Musk

Elon Musk has also made a similar stance to Nikola Tesla as seen in his current lawsuit against Rivian for allegedly stealing company trade secrets. 

Quote 3

“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.” – Nikola Tesla

It is not uncommon to see pause during an interview to think before clearly articulating a complex response. 

Elon Musk has demonstrated both deep and clear thinking which is shown in his execution of complex feats stemmed by a spark of an idea in his head. 

Quote 4

“Of all things, I liked books best.” – Nikola Tesla

Like Nikola Tesla, Elon Musk highly enjoys reading.

As mentioned in an article by Peter Economy of Inc., it is said that “he read the entirety of the Encyclopedia Britannica at age 9, and would read science fiction novels for more than 10 hours a day.”

Quote 5

“Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.” – Nikola Tesla

Similar to Tesla, Musk is all about working towards creating a future he would like to be part of.

Let’s think about all of Elon Musk’s companies for a second here:

1. PayPal: envisioned a highly secure online payment system.

2. Tesla: envisioned a future sustainable planet using electricity as its main energy transportation source.

3. SpaceX: envisioned humans as a multi-planetary species.

4. Boring Company: envisioned an efficient underground tunnel transportation highway. 

5. Neuralink: envisioned enhanced brain capacity by the application of a brain wired computer chip. 

6. Starlink: envisioned a future earth with high speed internet accessible from any location.

Quote 6

“The feeling is constantly growing on me that I had been the first to hear the greeting of one planet to another.” – Nikola Tesla

It is no secret that Elon Musk likes space …….. like a lot!

SpaceX is an entire company dedicated to the exploration of Space and colonizing Mars.

Quote 7

“If your hate could be turned into electricity, it would light up the whole world.” – Nikola Tesla

Similar to Nikola Tesla, Elon Musk is well aware that he has some “haters” and skeptics on his back at all times. 

The Tesla Short Shorts are a great example of this, a pair of actual short shorts used to mock investors who were shorting TSLA stock. 

Quote 8

“My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration.” – Nikola Tesla

Elon Musk’s brain is a receiver for knowledge, a information sponge.

Quote 9

“All that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combated, suppressed — only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle.” – Nikola Tesla

The first electric cars were developed more than 100 years ago. 

And during this time the new technology was not only never adopted, but largely either combated or completely ignored. 

This didn’t stop Musk from creating Tesla a company “destined to fail”.

Quote 10

“Life is and will ever remain an equation incapable of solution, but it contains certain known factors.” – Nikola Tesla

This quote is well embodied in Elon Musk’s strong background in science, a tool defining the fundamental building blocks that create our reality. 

Quote 11

“We crave for new sensations but soon become indifferent to them. The wonders of yesterday are today common occurrences.” – Nikola Tesla

Similar parallels to Quote 9. 

Quote 12

“Invention is the most important product of man’s creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs.” – Nikola Tesla

Elon Musk and Nikola Tesla both believe strongly in harnessing the resources around us to invent things that are beneficial to our society. 

Quote 13

“What one man calls God, another calls the laws of physics.” – Nikola Tesla

Parallels can be drawn to Elon Musk’s solid science background and belief in first principles.

Quote 14

“Most certainly, some planets are not inhabited, but others are, and among these there must exist life under all conditions and phases of development.” – Nikola Tesla

Elon + Mars. One day Mars may be colonized as human migrate from Earth to develop another planet. 

Quote 15

“As I review the events of my past life I realize how subtle are the influences that shape our destinies.” – Nikola Tesla

Elon Musk has been cited on many occasions stating how SpaceX was 1 more failed rocket launch away from going out of business. 

This shows how drastically the trajectory of a person / company can change based on relatively small moments in time.


There are so many parallels that can be drawn between Elon Musk and Nikola Tesla. 

Reading through some of Nikola Tesla’s quotes reveals how much of an impact his life has had on Elon Musk. 

Oh yea, and let’s not forget, Elon Musk named an entire company based on the Nikola Tesla!

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