American inventor, engineer, businessman, and the holder of 140 patents
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- You know, you read about the future. You can't help that. I don't look upon the future. I am not a politician. I am not worried about the future at all. I don't like to run it down. I don't like to think of it being too dark because I expect to spend all the rest of my life there and I don't want to have a nasty end to it.
- "Mr. Kettering's Talk", News and Views, General Motors Acceptance Corporation, General Exchange Insurance Corporation, Motors Insurance Corporation, 1936, p. 46
- I object to people running down the future. I am going to live all the rest of my life there, and I would like it to be a nice place, polished, bright, glistening, and glorious.
- My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.
- The whole fun of living is trying to make something better.
- As quoted in Dynamic Work Simplification (1971) by W. Clements Zinck, p. 12
- A problem thoroughly understood is always fairly simple. Found your opinions on facts, not prejudices. We know too many things that are not true.
- As quoted in Dynamic Work Simplification (1971) by W. Clements Zinck, p. 122
- The key to economic prosperity is the organized creation of dissatisfaction.
- As quoted in The End of Work (1995) by Jeremy Rifkin, p. 19
- 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.
- As quoted in Scientific American (August 1934) p. 243
- Why is the human skull as dense as it is? Nowadays we can send a message around the world in one-seventh of a second, but it takes years to drive an idea through a quarter-inch of human skull.
- As quoted in Boss Ket (1961) by Rosamond McPherson Young p. 194
- We think we are smart because we have been flying for about sixty years. Birds and bees and butterflies have been flying for hundreds of thousands of years.
- as quoted in Boss Ket (1961) by Rosamond McPherson Young p. 194
- We find that in research a certain amount of intelligent ignorance is essential to progress; for, if you know too much, you won't try the thing.
- quoted in Professional Amateur: The Biography Of Charles Franklin Kettering, Thomas Alvin Boyd, 1957 page 106 (Internet Archive)
- Professional Amateur: The Biography Of Charles Franklin Kettering, Thomas Alvin Boyd, 1957 (Internet Archive)
- Prophet of progress: selections from the speeches of Charles F. Kettering, editor Thomas Alvin Boyd, 1961
- More Tales of Boss Ket: An Informal and Unpublished Sequel to the Book, "Professional Amateur, the Biography of Charles Franklin Kettering", Thomas Alvin Boyd, 1969