Quotes I’m Glad We DIDN”T Live By

Some of most famous Presidents, Scientists, Professors, CEOs and talent scouts have opened their mouth and placed their foot squarely inside.  If we had listened to any one of these quotes and changed our direction or stopped striving to improve our technology we would still be in the middle ages. Three Cheers for American ingenuity and persistence.


“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out anyway.”—President of Decca Records rejecting the audition of “The Beatles” 1962

“You ain’t going nowhere, son, you ought to go back to driving a truck.” —Jim Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry in firing Elvis Presley after a performance in 1954

“You better learn secretarial work or else get married.” —director of the Blue Book Modeling Agency speaking to Marilyn Monroe, 1944

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” —H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927

“Taking the best left-handed pitcher in baseball and converting him into a right fielder is one of the dumbest things I ever heard.” —Tris Speaker, baseball expert, talking about Babe Ruth, 1919


“No one will pay good money to get from Berlin to Potsdam in one hour when he can ride his horse there in one day for free.” —King William I of Prussia on hearing of the invention of trains, 1864

“What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?” —The Quarterly Review, 1825

“The horse is here to stay; the automobile is only a fad.” —–this was advice given by the President of Michigan Savings Bank to Horace Rackham, lawyer for Henry Ford, 1903. Mr. Rackham ignored the banker (hooray) and invested $5000 with Henry Ford….he cashed out later for $12.5 million

“Airplanes are interesting toys, but of no military value.” —Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, French forces 1904

“It is apparent to me that the possibilities of the aeroplane, which two or three years ago were thought to hold the solution to the “flying machine” problem, have been exhausted, and that we must turn elsewhere.” —Thomas Edison, inventor, 1895 (oh Tommy, say you didn’t say that)

“Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible.” —Simon Newcomb, Canadian born/American astronomer, 1902

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” —Ken Olson, President of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

“Television won’t last. It’s a flash in the pan.” —Mary Somerville, radio program producer, 1948

“Television won’t last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” —Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” —Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

“The radio craze will die out in time.” —Thomas Edison, inventor, 1922 (Tommy, you done good…shut up already)

“While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.”  Lee DeForest, radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, 1926

“The phonograph has no commercial value at all.” —Thomas Edison, inventor, 1880s (OK Tommy, I’m done quoting you)


“Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” —Pierre Pachet, British surgeon, 1872

“The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.”—Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon Extraordinaire to Queen Victoria, 1873

“X-Rays will prove to be a hoax.” —Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, President of the British Royal Society, 1892(I think you’re running a temperature, your lordship)

“Space travel is bunk.” —Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of the UK, 1957(what’s with these British dudes?  Two weeks later Sputnik orbited our Earth…cool)

“There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom. The glib supposition of utilizing atomic energy when our coal has run out is a completely unscientific Utopian dream, a childish bug-a-boo.” —Robert Milikan, American physicist and Nobel Prize winner, 1923

“Drill for oil?  You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” —potential partner talking to Edwin Drake, oil pioneer, 1859

“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable.  It would mean the atom would have to be shattered at will.” —Albert Einstein, 1932 (oh, oh, we’ve based a lot of our theories on Albert)


Always my favorite quotes. 

“Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote” —Grover Cleveland, U.S. President, 1905

“I am tired of all this sort of thing called science here…We have spent millions in that sort of thing for the last few years, and it is time it should be stopped.”— Simon Cameron, U.S. Senator, PA, on the Smithsonian Institute, 1901

“Dear Mr. President: The canal system of this country is being threatened by a new form of transportation known as ‘railroads’…As you may well know, Mr. President, ‘railroad’ carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by ‘engines’ which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children.  The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.” —Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, 1828

 “It’s a great invention but who would want to use it anyway.” —Rutherford B. Hayes, U.S. President, after seeing a demo of Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, 1872

“We will bury you.” —Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet Premier, 1958

“If anything remains more or less unchanged, it will be the role of women.” —David Riesman, conservative American social scientist, 1967

“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And in as much as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race —Abraham Lincoln, Charleston, 1858

“To believe in evolution is almost like a cult following.” —Michele Bachman, 2011

About bakoheat

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3 Responses to Quotes I’m Glad We DIDN”T Live By

  1. Apparently, the genius that can invent is rarely the genius that can market…

    • bakoheat says:

      You nailed it! Another IBM story I didn’t print was their reply to a young man, stating, “Our best estimates are the entire world’s need for copiers is less than 5000.” That young man walked out of IBM and founded Xerox.

  2. It is possible to surely see your knowledge in the paintings you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to mention how they feel. Always follow your heart.

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