Albert Einstein – "The greatest invention of all time was compound interest."

Albert Einstein

30 Apr Albert Einstein – "The greatest invention of all time was compound interest."


The quote can exist in several forms:

“Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.”

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.”

I guess this is an urban legend and Einstein did not really say anything about compound interest, yet it is used so commonly nowadays. Here are the arguments:

From markharrison,

“The earliest mention of this quote that anyone seems to have been able to find was a 1983 article in the New York Times. The only problem was that Einstein had died in 1955 – some 28 years earlier. So it seems most unlikely that the physicist ever uttered those words.”

From Ed Darrell,

“I wrote to the Albert Einstein Institute, to the American Institute of Physics, and to other places where people might know obscure sources of Einstein’s sayings and writings, to try to verify the quote. It surely did not turn up in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, nor in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Those specialists in Einstein data and history could not verify the quote.” I hope we will stop using the quote!

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  • Mark Harrison
    Posted at 02:05h, 07 October Reply

    Thanks for referencing my blog (even though it was a post where I had to make an apology for perpetrating another such urban legend.)

    If anyone ever does have evidence that Einstein said these words, or anything similar, please let me know, and I’ll happily retract my debunking :-)

  • Alvin
    Posted at 20:08h, 07 October Reply

    Haha, I guess it is so widely used that it has already been accepted as a ‘truth’.

  • Green Stickman
    Posted at 10:40h, 13 April Reply

    Thank you for this. Personally, I believe Einstein did not say these quotes. I like the way Ed Darrell made his research on this. :)

  • Silver in Malaysia
    Posted at 00:25h, 12 December Reply

    Hmmm…If inflation is growing same rate with the compound interest, would it still be considered as a greatest invention?
    Anyway, good sharing! Keep up the good work!

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