It was not true, as his onetime protégé Nicola Tesla insisted, that Edison disdained literature or ideas. He read compulsively, for instance&mash;classics as well as newspapers. Edison often said that an early encounter with the writings of Thomas Paine had set his course in life. He maintained a vast library in his laboratory and pored over chemistry texts as he pursued his inventions. At the same time, however, he scorned talk about scientific theory, and even admitted that he knew little about electricity.Jon Gertner, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation (New York: Penguin, 2012), p.