Oh no he da-dn't



Ironically some of the most shared/ posted/ re-blogged/ quotes by Leonardo da Vinci were not by him at all. Here are some of "his" top quotes that are mis-attributed. 
"I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men."
  • This wasn't said by da Vinci but is from a fictional book about Leonardo called "The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci by Dmitri Merejkowski. Leonardo was a vegetarian though!
Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.

  • Quote is actually from Tom Peters: The Best Corporate Strategy? None, Of Course. Chicago Tribune July 11, 1994

"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."

  • Quote is actually from Russell C. Taylor of the LDS Church, given during the October 1984 General Conference of the LDS Church.


"I awoke, only to find that the rest of the world is still asleep."

  • This wasn't by Leonardo but by Sigmund Freud about Leonardo. He really said:  "He was like a man who awoke too early in the darkness, while the others were all still asleep."

And strangely enough the quote most associated with Leonardo that there is not evidence he actually said it is: 
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." 
There is no record of this being attributed to Leonardo until Wisdom Through the Ages : Book Two (2003) by Helen Granat. It  was used as an early slogan at Apple Computer in 1984, but the first known use was in The Recognitions (1955) by William Gaddis, p. 457:
Stop being so God Damn humble … You know God damn well that … that humility is defiance … simplicity today is sophisticated … simplicity is the ultimate sophistication today."


Simplicity was definitely not Leonardo's slogan. The Mona Lisa alone consists of thousands (potentially hundreds of thousands) of layers of paint, most of which is clear with each layer being thinner than a human hair. He designed a mechanical calculator, submarine, airplane, and rail gun. There wasn't much simplicity going on. Even his handwriting was highly stylized, erratically spelled, and not to mentioned mirrored. 
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