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Charles F. Kettering Quotes
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Charles F. Kettering Quote: “What I believe is that, by proper effort, we make the future almost anything we want to make it.”

What I believe is that, by proper effort, we make the future almost anything we want to make it.

— Charles F. Kettering



Charles F. Kettering Quote: “Great steps in human progress are made by things that don’t work the way philosophy thought they should. If things always worked the way they should, you could write the history of the world from now on. But they don’t, and it is those deviations from the normal that make human progress.”

Great steps in human progress are made by things that don’t work the way philosophy thought they should. If things always worked the way they should, you could write the history of the world from now on. But they don’t, and it is those deviations from the normal that make human progress.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “My definition of an educated man is the fellow who knows the right thing to do at the time it has to be done. You can be sincere and still be stupid.”

My definition of an educated man is the fellow who knows the right thing to do at the time it has to be done. You can be sincere and still be stupid.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “We are just in the kindergarten of uncovering things; there is no downcurve in science.”

We are just in the kindergarten of uncovering things; there is no downcurve in science.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “I expect to spend the rest of my life in the future, so I want to be reasonably sure of what kind of future it’s going to be. That is my reason for planning.”

I expect to spend the rest of my life in the future, so I want to be reasonably sure of what kind of future it’s going to be. That is my reason for planning.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “A problem thoroughly understood is always fairly simple. Found your opinions on facts, not prejudices. We know too many things that are not true.”

A problem thoroughly understood is always fairly simple. Found your opinions on facts, not prejudices. We know too many things that are not true.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “We must look forward to the future as that is where most of us will be spending the rest of our lives.”

We must look forward to the future as that is where most of us will be spending the rest of our lives.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “People think of the inventor as a screwball, but no one ever asks the inventor what he thinks of other people.”

People think of the inventor as a screwball, but no one ever asks the inventor what he thinks of other people.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “The person who doesn’t know something can’t be done will often find a way to go ahead and do it.”

The person who doesn’t know something can’t be done will often find a way to go ahead and do it.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “I think that the greatest education in the world is the education which helps one to be able to do the right things at the time it has to be done.”

I think that the greatest education in the world is the education which helps one to be able to do the right things at the time it has to be done.

— Charles F. Kettering



Charles F. Kettering Quote: “I could do nothing without my problems; they toughen my mind. In fact, I tell my assistants not to bring me their successes for they weaken me, but rather to bring me their problems, for they strengthen me.”

I could do nothing without my problems; they toughen my mind. In fact, I tell my assistants not to bring me their successes for they weaken me, but rather to bring me their problems, for they strengthen me.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “I often say that research is a way of finding out what you are going to do when you can’t keep on doing what you are doing now.”

I often say that research is a way of finding out what you are going to do when you can’t keep on doing what you are doing now.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “Don’t bring anything to me but trouble.”

Don’t bring anything to me but trouble.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “In many ways ideas are more important than people – they are much more permanent.”

In many ways ideas are more important than people – they are much more permanent.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “The whole fun of living is trying to make something better.”

The whole fun of living is trying to make something better.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “Industry prospers when it offers people articles which they want more than they want anything they now have. The fact is that people never buy what they need. They buy what they want.”

Industry prospers when it offers people articles which they want more than they want anything they now have. The fact is that people never buy what they need. They buy what they want.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “Thinking is one thing no one has ever been able to tax.”

Thinking is one thing no one has ever been able to tax.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “The typical eye sees the ten per cent bad of an idea and overlooks the ninety per cent good.”

The typical eye sees the ten per cent bad of an idea and overlooks the ninety per cent good.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “And there is the point exactly, we are all the time blaming difficulties on to something else. Our real trouble is that we are too soft to solve the problem.”

And there is the point exactly, we are all the time blaming difficulties on to something else. Our real trouble is that we are too soft to solve the problem.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “In America we can say what we think, and even if we can’t think, we can say it anyhow.”

In America we can say what we think, and even if we can’t think, we can say it anyhow.

— Charles F. Kettering



Charles F. Kettering Quote: “I’ve never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.”

I’ve never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “I object to people running down the future. I am going to live all the rest of my life there.”

I object to people running down the future. I am going to live all the rest of my life there.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “Bankers regard research as most dangerous a thing that makes banking hazardous due to the rapid changes it brings about in industry.”

Bankers regard research as most dangerous a thing that makes banking hazardous due to the rapid changes it brings about in industry.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “Obsolescence is a factor which says that the new thing I bring you is worth more than the unused value of the old thing.”

Obsolescence is a factor which says that the new thing I bring you is worth more than the unused value of the old thing.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “An inventor is simply a fellow who doesn’t take his education too seriously.”

An inventor is simply a fellow who doesn’t take his education too seriously.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “The Wright brothers flew right through the smoke screen of impossibility.”

The Wright brothers flew right through the smoke screen of impossibility.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “It is easy to build a philosophy – it doesn’t have to run.”

It is easy to build a philosophy – it doesn’t have to run.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “The future can be anything we want it to be, providing we have the faith and that we realize that peace, no less than war, required blood and sweat and tears.”

The future can be anything we want it to be, providing we have the faith and that we realize that peace, no less than war, required blood and sweat and tears.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “The sure ways to create new ventures of discovery are to keep an open mind.”

The sure ways to create new ventures of discovery are to keep an open mind.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “We have a lot of people revolutionizing the world because they’ve never had to present a working model.”

We have a lot of people revolutionizing the world because they’ve never had to present a working model.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “There has never been any 30-hour week for men who had anything to do.”

There has never been any 30-hour week for men who had anything to do.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “We have reason not to be afraid of the machine, for there is always constructive change, the enemy of machines, making them change to fit new conditions.”

We have reason not to be afraid of the machine, for there is always constructive change, the enemy of machines, making them change to fit new conditions.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “Don’t be afraid to stumble. Any inventor will tell you that you don’t follow a plan far before you strike a snag. If, out of 100 ideas you get one that works, it’s enough.”

Don’t be afraid to stumble. Any inventor will tell you that you don’t follow a plan far before you strike a snag. If, out of 100 ideas you get one that works, it’s enough.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “The biggest job we have is to teach a newly hired employee how to fail intelligently. We have to train him to experiment over and over and to keep on trying and failing until he learns what will work.”

The biggest job we have is to teach a newly hired employee how to fail intelligently. We have to train him to experiment over and over and to keep on trying and failing until he learns what will work.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “We have been measuring too much in terms of the dollar. What we should do is think in terms of useful materials-things that will be of value to us in our daily life.”

We have been measuring too much in terms of the dollar. What we should do is think in terms of useful materials-things that will be of value to us in our daily life.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “When I was research head of General Motors and wanted a problem solved, I’d place a table outside the meeting room with a sign: “Leave slide rules here.” If I didn’t do that, I’d find someone reaching for his slide rule. Then he’d be on his feet saying, “Boss, you can’t do it.””

When I was research head of General Motors and wanted a problem solved, I’d place a table outside the meeting room with a sign: “Leave slide rules here.” If I didn’t do that, I’d find someone reaching for his slide rule. Then he’d be on his feet saying, “Boss, you can’t do it.”

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “The simplest way to assure sales is to keep changing the product the market for new things is indefinitely elastic. One of the fundamental purposes of advertising, styling, and research is to foster a healthy dissatisfaction.”

The simplest way to assure sales is to keep changing the product the market for new things is indefinitely elastic. One of the fundamental purposes of advertising, styling, and research is to foster a healthy dissatisfaction.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “You are always too late with a development if you are so slow that people demand it before you yourself recognize it. The research department should have foreseen what was necessary and had it ready to a point where people never knew they wanted it until it was made available to them.”

You are always too late with a development if you are so slow that people demand it before you yourself recognize it. The research department should have foreseen what was necessary and had it ready to a point where people never knew they wanted it until it was made available to them.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “If a fellow wants to be nobody in the business world, let him neglect sending the mailman to somebody on his behalf.”

If a fellow wants to be nobody in the business world, let him neglect sending the mailman to somebody on his behalf.

— Charles F. Kettering


Charles F. Kettering Quote: “If I want to stop a research program I can always do it by getting a few experts to sit in on the subject, because they know right away that it was a fool thing to try in the first place.”

If I want to stop a research program I can always do it by getting a few experts to sit in on the subject, because they know right away that it was a fool thing to try in the first place.

— Charles F. Kettering

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