Paul McCartney is one of the most famous singer/ songwriters of all time. According to the Guinness Book of Records, his Beatles song "Yesterday" (1965) has the most cover versions of any song ever written and, according to record label BMI, was performed over seven million times in the 20th century.
The tune for "Yesterday" came to Paul McCartney in a dream...
The Beatles were in London in 1965 filming Help! and McCartney was staying in a small attic room of his family's house on Wimpole Street. One morning, in a dream he heard a classical string ensemble playing, and, as McCartney tells it:
"I woke up with a lovely tune in my head. I thought, 'That's great, I wonder what that is?' There was an upright piano next to me, to the right of the bed by the window. I got out of bed, sat at the piano, found G, found F sharp minor 7th -- and that leads you through then to B to E minor, and finally back to E. It all leads forward logically. I liked the melody a lot, but because I'd dreamed it, I couldn't believe I'd written it. I thought, 'No, I've never written anything like this before.' But I had the tune, which was the most magic thing!"http://www.brilliantdreams.com/product/famous-dreams.htm
The Idea for Google
The April 9, 2012 edition of Fortune magazine shared a story of how Larry Page and Sergey Brin got the idea for "downloading the entire web onto computers". Larry Page dreamed it one night when he was 23 years-old. Page is quoted as saying, "I spent the middle of that night scribbling out the details and convincing myself it would work."
In the summer of 1816, nineteen-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and her lover, the poet Percy Shelley (whom she married later that year), visited the poet Lord Byron at his villa beside Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Stormy weather frequently forced them indoors, where they and Byron's other guests sometimes read from a volume of ghost stories. One evening, Byron challenged those present to each write a ghost story themselves.
Mary's story, inspired by a dream, became Frankenstein.
"When I placed my head upon my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think... I saw -- with shut eyes, but acute mental vision -- I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous Creator of the world.
...I opened mine in terror. The idea so possessed my mind, that a thrill of fear ran through me, and I wished to exchange the ghastly image of my fancy for the realities around. ...I could not so easily get rid of my hideous phantom; still it haunted me. I must try to think of something else. I recurred to my ghost story -- my tiresome, unlucky ghost story! O! if I could only contrive one which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that night!
Swift as light and as cheering was the idea that broke upon me. 'I have found it! What terrified me will terrify others; and I need only describe the specter which had haunted me my midnight pillow.' On the morrow I announced that I had thought of a story. I began that day with the words, 'It was on a dreary night of November', making only a transcript of the grim terrors of my waking dream."
Insight into Human Biology- Dr. Otto Loewi
Otto Loewi (1873-1961) won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1936 for his work on the chemical transmission of nerve impulses. In 1903, Loewi had the idea that there might be a chemical transmission of the nervous impulse rather than an electrical one, which was the common held belief, but he was at a loss on how to prove it. He let the idea slip to the back of his mind until 17 years later he had the following dream. According to Loewi:
"The night before Easter Sunday of that year I awoke, turned on the light, and jotted down a few notes on a tiny slip of paper. Then I fell asleep again. It occurred to me at 6 o'clock in the morning that during the night I had written down something most important, but I was unable to decipher the scrawl. The next night, at 3 o'clock, the idea returned. It was the design of an experiment to determine whether or not the hypothesis of chemical transmission that I had uttered 17 years ago was correct. I got up immediately, went to the laboratory, and performed a single experiment on a frog's heart according to the nocturnal design."It took Loewi a decade to carry out a decisive series of tests to satisfy his critics, but ultimately the result of his initial dream-induced experiment became the foundation for the theory of chemical transmission of the nervous impulse and led to the Nobel Prize!
Dr. Loewi noted: "Most so called 'intuitive' discoveries are such associations made in the subconscious."
Madame C.J. Walker - From Dream to Millionaire
Madame C.J. Walker (1867-1919) is cited by the Guinness Book of Records as the first female American self-made millionaire. She was also the first member of her family born free.
Dream of a Cure for Scalp Infection
Madame Walker founded and built a highly successful African-American cosmetic company that made her a millionaire many times over. Walker was suffering from a scalp infection that caused her to lose most of her hair in the 1890’s. She began experimenting with patented medicines and hair-care products.
Then, she had a dream that solved her problems:
“He answered my prayer, for one night I had a dream, and in that dream a big, black man appeared to me and told me what to mix up in my hair. Some of the remedy was grown in Africa, but I sent for it, mixed it, put it on my scalp, and in a few weeks my hair was coming in faster than it had ever fallen out. I tried it on my friends; it helped them. I made up my mind to begin to sell it.”
Walker was an entrepreneur, philanthropist and social activist. She best sums up her rise from a childhood in the poor south to being the head of an international, multimillion dollar corporation in the following quote:
"I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations....I have built my own factory on my own ground."The Sewing Machine
Elias Howe invented the sewing machine in 1845. He had the idea of a machine with a needle which would go through a piece of cloth but he couldn't figure out exactly how it would work. He first tried using a needle that was pointed at both ends, with an eye in the middle, but it was a failure. Then one night he dreamed he was taken prisoner by a group of natives. They were dancing around him with spears. As he saw them move around him, he noticed that their spears all had holes near their tips.
Inventors like Elias Howe reported that information came to them in dreams. Elias Howe was trying to build a machine that would automate the process of sewing, so that it could be done more quickly. He took a regular needle with a point on one end and a hole on the other end and tried to build a machine that could manipulate the needle and thread the way a seamstress' fingers could.
It didn't work. It was frustrating.
Then he had the dream. Apparently his frustration was influencing his dreams: He dreamed that he had been captured by natives and they had ordered him to invent the machine by morning or he would be executed.
He still couldn't do it, even in his dream.
His dream continued. He dreamed that it was morning, and the natives were closing in on him, thrusting their spears back and forth menacingly as they got closer to him. Now the tips of the spears were almost touching him as the natives thrust them forward.
Suddenly he realized that there was something different about the spears: They had holes going through the points of the spears, from one side to the other. A hole...at the point end of the spear...moving back and forth, back and forth...
He woke up, rushed into his shop and did just the opposite of what he had done before - something that was so "illogical" that he hadn't thought of it in the beta waking state: He drilled a small hole in the point end of the needle instead of the back end, put thread through the hold, pushed it through the cloth, used another threat below the cloth...and he had invented the sewing machine.
When he woke up he realized that the dream had brought the solution to his problem. By locating a hole at the tip of the needle, the thread could be caught after it went through cloth thus making his machine operable.
He changed his design to incorporate the dream idea and found it worked.
Mathematical Genius and Dreamer- Srinivasa Ramanujan
Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920) was one of India's greatest mathematical geniuses. He made substantial contributions to the analytical theory of numbers and worked on elliptical functions, continued fractions, and infinite series. In 1914, he was invited to work at Cambridge University by the English mathematician GH Hardy who recognized his unconventional genius. He worked there for five years producing startling results and proved over 3,000 theorems in his lifetime.
According to Ramanujan, inspiration and insight for his work many times came to him in his dreams...
A Hindu goddess, named Namakkal, would appear and present mathematical formulae which he would verify after waking. Such dreams often repeated themselves and the connection with the dream world as a source for his work was constant throughout his life.
Infinite series for π. Example of formulae Ramanujan developed that led to new directions of research.
Ramanujan described one of his dreams of mathematical discovery:
"While asleep I had an unusual experience. There was a red screen formed by flowing blood as it were. I was observing it. Suddenly a hand began to write on the screen. I became all attention. That hand wrote a number of results in elliptic integrals. They stuck to my mind. As soon as I woke up, I committed them to writing..."Source: Ramanujan, the Man and the Mathematician, S. R. Ranganathan, 1967
Artillery Gun Leveler
We never thought that Bell Labs would rely on a dream of one of its engineers to invent a new device.
In 1940, when Nazi armies were victorious everywhere, D.B. Parkinson was designing a carded potentiometer for civilian telephones. One night, he dreamed he was on the Continent close to an Allied artillery piece. The remarkable thing about this gun was that every shell it fired it nailed a German plane. Parkinson expanded on this part of his dream:
"After three or four shots one of the men in the crew smiled at me and beckoned me to come closer to the gun. When I drew near he pointed to the exposed end of the left trunnion. Mounted there was the control potentiometer of my level recorder. There was no mistaking it. It was the identical item."
Bell Lab engineers quickly saw how Parkinson's potentiometer could be applied to antiaircraft gun control. The M9 gun director was the practical result of Parkinson's dream. In one week in August of 1944, the M9's were credited with destroying 89 of 91 V-1 buzz bombs launched from the Antwerp area toward England.
(Schindler, George; "Dreaming of Victory," New Scientist, p. 53, May 31, 1997.)
The history of science is full of stories of scientists claiming a "flash of inspiration" which motivated them. One of the best known is from the chemist August Kekulé (1829-1896), who proposed that structure of molecules followed particular rules. Kekulé recounted that the structure of benzene came to him in a dream, in which rows of atoms wound like serpents before him; one of the serpents seized its own tail: "the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. I came awake like a flash of lightning. This time also I spent the remainder of the night working out the consequences of the hypothesis".
• ↑ cited in Bargar RR, Duncan JK (1982) Cultivating creative endeavor in doctoral research J Higher Educ 53:1-31 doi
Hannibal, who many described as a military genius, based his battle plans against the Romans on his dreams.
According to Richard Panek, the author of, The Invisible Century: Einstein, Freud, and the Search for Hidden Universes,
Chemistry - The Periodic Table
Nineteenth-century Chemist Dimitri Mendeleyev fell asleep while chamber music was being played in the next room. He understood in a dream that the basic chemical elements are all related to each other in a manner similar to the themes and phrases in music. When he awakened, he was able to write out for the first time the entire periodic table, which forms the basis of modern chemistry.
Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity
A young Albert Einstein conceived the theory of relativity in a dream. He dreamed that he was sledding down a steep mountainside, going faster and faster, approaching the speed of light, which caused the stars in his dream to change their appearance. Meditating upon that dream, Einstein eventually worked out his extraordinary scientific achievement, the principle of relativity. Einstein then had to go back, and while employing great intricacy and detail, study the math he had been able to skip during college. It took eight years to accomplish this.
After years of working to figure out the general theory of relativity, the solution came to Einstein suddenly in a dream "like a giant die making an indelible impress, a huge map of the universe outlined itself in one clear vision". ^ Einstein: A Life by Denis Brian p.159 (1996)
Celebrated Mathematician Henri Poincare tried day after day to discover some general method by which a whole group of equations could be solved. He related that one night he retired to rest, after thinking deeply on the problem for a long time, and on getting up the next morning discovered to his intense surprise on his table several sheets of paper on which he had worked out a complete solution to the problem.
In 1932, the famous Naturalist Professor Agassiz was busy with his monumental study of fossil fishes. In one case he could not reconstruct the fish from the imprint left on the slab. At this juncture he experienced three dreams of the fish on succeeding nights. In the third dream the entire fish stood reconstructed before him. He then drew on paper in the dark a copy of his vision and on consulting the slab in the morning found that the dream reconstruction was correct.
Multiple Scientific Problems
Scientist and Philosopher Goethe solved many scientific problems in his dreams.
NOBEL PRIZE WINNER OTTO LOEWI
The Chemical Transmission of an Electron
Otto Loewi (1873-1961) was a German physiologist who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1936 for his work on the chemical transmission of nerve impulses. In 1903, Loewi had the idea that there might be a chemical transmission of the nervous impulse rather than an electrical one, which was the common held belief, but he was at a loss on how to prove it. He let the idea slip to the back of his mind until 17 years later he had the following dream:
The night before Easter Sunday, I awoke, turned on the light, and jotted down a few notes on a tiny slip of paper. Then I fell asleep again. It occurred to me at 6 o'clock in the morning that during the night I had written down something most important, but I was unable to decipher the scrawl. The next night, at 3 a.m. the idea returned. It was the design of an experiment to determine whether or not the hypothesis of chemical transmission that I had uttered 17 years ago was correct. I got up immediately, went to the lab, and performed a single experiment on a frog's heart according to the nocturnal design.
It took Loewi a decade to carry out a decisive series of tests to satisfy his critics, but ultimately the result of his dream delineated experiment became the foundation for the theory of chemical transmission of nerve impulses and led to a Nobel Prize! Loewi noted:
Most so called 'intuitive' discoveries are such associations made in the subconscious.The Discovery of Neurotransmitters, Elliot S Valenstein; Otto Loewi, An Autobiographical Sketch, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Fall 1960.
FRIEDRICH A. KEKULE MAKES TWO DISCOVERIES IN DREAMS
The Structure Theory of Molecules
The other anecdote he told in 1890, of a vision of dancing atoms and molecules that led to his theory of structure, happened (he said) while he was riding on the upper deck of a horse-drawn omnibus in London. If true, this probably occurred in the late summer of 1855. [12 ^ Alan J. Rocke, Image and Reality: Kekulé, Kopp, and the Scientific Imagination (University of Chicago Press, 2010), pp. 60-66.
"I fell into a reverie, and lo, the atoms were gamboling before my eyes! Whenever, hitherto, these diminutive beings had appeared to me, they had always been in motion; but up to that time, I had never been able to discern the nature of their motion. Now, however, I saw how, frequently, two smaller atoms united to form a pair; how a larger one embraced the two smaller ones; how still larger ones kept hold of three or even four of the smaller; whilst the whole kept whirling in a giddy dance. I saw how the larger ones formed a chain, dragging the smaller ones after them, but only at the ends of the chain. . . The cry of the conductor: “Clapham Road,” awakened me from my dreaming; but I spent part of the night in putting on paper at least sketches of these dream forms. This was the origin of the Structural Theory."The Benzene Structure
Later, he had a dream that helped him discover that the Benzene molecule, unlike other known organic compounds, had a circular structure rather than a linear one... solving a problem that had been confounding chemists:
"...I was sitting writing on my textbook, but the work did not progress; my thoughts were elsewhere. I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes. This time the smaller groups kept modestly in the background. My mental eye, rendered more acute by the repeated visions of the kind, could now distinguish larger structures of manifold conformation; long rows sometimes more closely fitted together all twining and twisting in snake-like motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke; and this time also I spent the rest of the night in working out the consequences of the hypothesis."The snake seizing it's own tail gave Kekulé the circular structure idea he needed to solve the Benzene problem. Said an excited Kekulé to his colleagues, “Let us learn to dream!”
Location of a Martyr's Grave
In the name of Christ. There was in France, by God's gracious providence, a learned Priest who set about to journey towards Italy, that he might discover where were the bones of our father St Benedict, no longer worshiped by men. [Note: Monte Cassino, St Benedict's own monastery on a spur of the Apennines between Rome and Naples, had been destroyed by the Lombard barbarians in 580, and was not inhabited again until 718]. At length he came into a desert country some 70 or 80 miles from Rome, where St Benedict of old had built a cell whose indwellers had been bound together in perfect charity. Yet, even then, this Priest and his companions were disquieted by-the uncertainties of the place, since they could find neither vestiges of the monastery nor any burial-place, until at last a swineherd showed them, or hire, exactly where the monastery had stood; yet he was utterly unable to find the sepulcher' until he and his companions had hallowed themselves by a two or three days' fast. Then it was revealed to their cook in a dream, and the matter became plain unto them; for in the morning it was shown unto them by him who seemed lowest in degree, that St Paul's words might be true (I Cor. 1: 27), that God despises that which is held in great esteem among men
From C.G. Coulton, ed, Life in the Middle Ages, (New York: Macmillan, c.1910), Vol IV, 29-31
Solution for Kevlar Weaving Machinery
Sleeping on the job may be nothing new, but would you be interested in being paid for it? Suppose you could go to sleep at night and come up with the right answers to your work-related problems? No time cards required. Just a nice soft bed, lights out, and a pad and pencil on the nightstand.
That's what happened to Floyd Ragsdale, an employee at DuPont, who was having trouble with a machine that manufactured Kevlar fiber, the material in bullet-proof vests. Because down-time on this machine cost the company $700 a minute, duPont assigned its best engineers to fix the problem, but none were successful. One night, Ragsdale, an engineer with no college education, had a dream in which he saw the tubes of a machine and springs. He came to work the next day and told his boss about the dream. He received a typical reaction: his boss scoffed and told him to forget about it. When Ragsdale's shift ended, he went ahead and inserted springs into the tubes, and the machine worked perfectly, saving the company more than $3 million!
"Invention Result Of Dream"
Hendershot Made First Fuelless Motor For His Son’s Toy Plane
The invention of the fuelless motor, tested at Detroit, was the result of a dream by its inventor, Lester Jennings Hendershot, who lives on "the street back of the railroad" in this town of about 3,000 inhabitants, 15 miles from Pittsburgh.
Although Hendershot was on his way from Selfridge Field today and is not expected home until tomorrow, his wife told of his conception of the machine and how the miniature model was constructed from the parts of a worn out radio which had been given to the inventor by his uncle.
Several years ago the vision of a machine which would operate from "earth currents" came to Hendershot in a dream, according to his wife, but it was not until last November that he actually started working on it.
His 4-year old boy had built a small airplane at that time and was considerably chagrined because it would not operate. The father was disturbed too, so he told his son he would build an airplane which would work. The result of that was the fuelless machine.
Clarification of Satellite Photos
Sometime after meeting with Benoit Mandelbrot and his revolutionary fractal mathematics, Michael Barnsley began work on a practical application of Benoit's discovery of the formula of infinite iterations (Z=Z squared + c). He speculated that one such practicality could be the construction of a particular software that allowed the compression, and hence clarification, of photographic images that were fuzzy, such as those taken from satellites. It was at this point that the scene of his old nightmare reappeared, but no longer in its former, terrifying form, but as a eureka experience. Here is what he said about the crucial time: "the discovery of how to automatically calculate the collage of an arbitrary picture came to me in a dream. (In it) I saw how you could straighten out the switchboard, how all the wires would come untangled and be nicely connected and how you would join all the wires from big blocks to little blocks in the grid. I woke up in the morning and I knew I had discovered the total secret to fractal image compression. How to automatically look at a digital picture and a) how to turn it into a formula, and b) an entity of infinite resolution. So the goal is now to be able to capture this fire of Prometheus, this fractal wonder, put it in a box and being able to make this available to everyone." (From a documentary film, Colours of Infinity, hosted by Arthur C. Clark.) http://www.improverse.com/ed-articles/kurt_forrer_2007_jun_cinderella_complex.htm
Extreme Cold Weather Protection
Local resident Ben S. could be accused of being a dreamer. At least that's how he came up with his idea for a new product to keep people warm when they have to be outdoors in chilly weather. "I dreamed it," Ben said. "I saw it in a dream. When I woke up, I drew it." Then, Ben said, he let the drawings inspired by that dream languish for about six months before he decided to pursue his invention. Finally, however, he made up his mind that he would "just go for it" and see if he could generate any interest in his new product. Ben said he saw a television advertisement for Invention Technologies, Inc. and decided to send the company his plans for "Coat," a product that Ben believes will become very useful for outdoor enthusiasts, including campers and hunters. "Coat," he explained, lets people enjoy outdoor events in extremely cold weather without having to feel the cold.
Invention Technologies describes "Coat" as an ingenious new product guaranteed to keep wearers warm. An item of clothing, "Coat" eliminates the bulk. Made of a durable, waterproof material, "Coat" is described as compact, unique and simple to use. Ben said he believes "Coat" will prove useful for those who enjoy outdoor activities. "People who like to go to outdoor sporting events would benefit from it," he said. With "Coat," people will no longer have to go to the trouble of lugging around extra blankets, comforters or sleeping bags.
25. Insulin, Treatment for Diabetes 1921 [Frederik Banting, Charles Best]
It came to Banting in a dream one night: the Nobel-prize winning idea of how to treat diabetes with insulin. With the help of Charles Best, he finally isolated the compound that has changed the lives of millions of diabetics ever since.
Canada’s Digital Collections: “Insulin: Saving Millions of Lives Worldwide”
Canadian inventor discovers x-ray vision, maybe
By Donald Melanson posted Jan 20th 2005 11:30AM
Canadian inventor Troy Hurtubise, who some of you may know as the creator of the grizzly bear-proof suit and fire-resistant paste, claims to have built a device that sees through walls. Doc Brown-style, Hurtubise says he saw the entire device, called the Angel Light, in a dream and built it without any blueprints or schematics. He later showed the device to representatives from the French government who were so impressed they gave him $40,000 on the spot to finish it. After talking to some contacts at MIT, he also discovered that the device could also detect stealth material and cause electronic devices to stop working (or, so he says). And, like any good mad scientist, he tested the device on himself. Sticking his hand in front of it, he claims to have been able to see muscles and blood vessels, but now says he has no feeling in a finger on that hand. Ah, the perils of science.
Rose O'Neill continued working in New York and building on her client base; over the years her drawings would appear in the most popular magazines of the era, including "Good Housekeeping," "Ladies Home Journal," "Life," "Puck," and many others. She married Gray Lathan in 1896 (whom she divorced in 1901) and began using the signature O'Neill Lathan on her works, as at the time the field was dominated by men and this was somewhat of a help to her career. She also illustrated a variety of books, written by such authors as Parker Fillmore and Harry Leon Wilson, literary editor of "Puck," to whom she was married from 1902 to 1908.
According to O'Neill, the cherubic-looking characters upon which the Kewpie doll was based came to her in a dream; she began including these chubby, child-like "elves" in the backgrounds of many of her drawings. When the "Ladies Home Journal" editor asked her to make a series of illustrations of just these creatures alone, she did so for the publication, which planned to write verses to accompany them so they would have their very own story. Thus the "Kewpies," which performed good deeds for regular people, took on a life of their own.
This is a list of scientists who use dreams to find breakthroughs. Americanheritage.com
The Twilight Series of books and movies was based on a dream by American Stephenie Meyer. From the IMDb:
Parts of the Twilight story are based on a dream that Meyer had. In her dream, the vampire sparkled in the sun. She included this detail when she transcribed her dream, and wove it into the storyline as she turned the account of her dream into the novel. The pseudo-scientific reason as to why sunlight makes vampires' skin sparkle is stated in her website: "They appear to have skin like ours, albeit very fair skin. The skin serves the same general purpose of protecting the body. However, the cells that make up their skin are not pliant like our cells, they are hard and reflective like crystal." The hard and reflective cells of the skin of the vampires is what gives them strong, unbreakable skin and the "sparkling" effect from the sunlight. It also works well as a plot device that adds to the mystique of the vampires. In most vampire stories, sunlight kills vampires; in some, it does not. For example, the original Count Dracula (in Bram Stoker's novel) was not harmed by sunlight and could go about the town during the day. In the Twilight world that Meyer created, sunlight won't kill a vampire, but what it does to their skin would attract a lot of attention and potentially expose them to the general public.(IMDb.com 2008. Retrieved March 11, 2011, from: Twilight Dream)
Standardization at Ford
In February, 2002, Phil Martens, head of Ford's new product development group, woke up in the middle of the night and had a revelation that would help solve Ford's problems in producing new vehicles that cost too much for the U.S. market: "Copy with pride. That's our mantra." In effect, what he was suggesting was for vehicle design teams to share designs and technologies among similar vehicles.
Quoted in Bozarth and Handfield, 2007 Operations and Supply Chain Management textbook. Original source: Cox and Blackstone, APICS Dictionary.
H.P. Lovecraft Hears the Title of "Necronomicon" in a Dream:
Lovecraft wrote horror novels. One theme he inserted into more than one of his books is a book of instructions on how to interact with the dead. It is called the Necronomicon. Though most believe the book to be a work of Lovecraft's imagination, it is very likely the book title was actually acquired supernaturally through his dream. In gematria, the letters of Necronomicon, in Hebrew, add up to 555, which is also the number for antichrist. 555 was also Hitler's favorite number. It was his membership number in the Nazi party, too.
H.P Lovecraft also dreamed many of his books. He began to suffer nightmares at the age of 5 following the death of his grandmother. H.P. wrote many horror books based on his nightmares. One of these is Beyond the Wall of Sleep (1919). Other pristine examples are The Statement of Richard Carter (also 1919) and Nyarlathotep (1920).
Jonathan Livingston Seagull - This book by author Richard Bach came in two phases. First, a voice whispered the title to him while he was piloting a plane. Bach produced much of the book following that event. After eight years, he saw the remainder of the book in a dream, and finished the book. It became the best-sold book of all time. It surpassed even Gone with the Wind for hardback sales.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson dreamed the storyline of this dark tale. Allegedly aided by large amounts of cocaine, Stevenson finished the first draft in just three days.
The novel and later film Misery are based on a dream author Stephen King had on a plane. King credits several of his other book ideas on dreams as well.
Books that Came in Dreams, an article on Squidoo.