Poor Albert Einstein gets attributed many quotes he never uttered. I have a feeling this is one of them, because I couldn't find a proper citation.

Intelligence is not the ability to store information, but to know where to find it.

Did Einstein ever say that?

See e.g. this IPS SE answer and Google.

  • 5
    I can trace it back to one book in 1999, but no further citation. On the web, it appears to be quoted the first time on 01.02.2001. Maybe someone with access to a digital library could run a comprehensive search of books and newspaper articles for the phrase to find an original citation. – Polygnome Jan 12 '18 at 15:12
  • I found "The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.", though. – Takahiro Waki Jan 17 '18 at 5:46
  • Came from exactly the same SE question... Anyways, I found it on this on page 59, probably the same as the one @Polygnome found – Mads Marquart Mar 13 '18 at 21:40
  • Einstein was born in Ulm. Therefore the search has to cover the widely attributed (and equally shady) "Wissen heisst:, wissen, wo es geschrieben steht." ––/–– I don't know why, but somehow, I'd like to advocate: "every quote without an exact source citation is likely totally made up and everyone copying it permanently labeled a notorious lier, per default.; or perhaps: comedian?" – LangLаngС Nov 28 '18 at 1:25

Quote Investigator did an article on a similar quote and I think the answer applies here too.

It could be a quote that's a vague memory of someone else's vague memory of something Einstein actually said. In Philipp Frank's biography of him, “Einstein: His Life and Times” (1947), there is the following quote:

While Einstein was in Boston, staying at the Hotel Copley Plaza, he was given a copy of Edison’s questionnaire to see whether he could answer the questions. As soon as he read the question: “What is the speed of sound?” he said: “I don’t know. I don’t burden my memory with such facts that I can easily find in any textbook.”

Nor did he agree with Edison’s opinion on the uselessness of college education. He remarked: “It is not so very important for a person to learn facts. For that he does not really need a college. He can learn them from books. The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.”

The event mentioned happened in 1921 and around that time the New York Times reported that he said a paraphrased version of the first quote.

However, it's also possible the quote is based off something someone else said. A 1914 book by someone who isn't Einstein had the following:

Educated people are not those who know everything, but rather those who know where to find, at a moment’s notice, the information they desire.

There's also another quote from 1917 from a different source, also by someone who is not Einstein:

Someone has said that the cleverest people are not those who know everything, but those who know where to look for and find any information that is at the moment required. Which is only another way of saying that they have methodical minds and habits and know how and where to store their knowledge.

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