The Economist quotes Henry Ford approvingly in a recent article. “If I’d listened to my customers, I’d’ve given them a faster horse” says the great man, in effortless counterpoint to all received wisdom concerning customer focus.
And that is not the end of his wit and wisdom, a large selection of which is collected here for your reading pleasure.
There are some interesting parallels among these gems. For example, “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking” brings to mind Lord Curzon’s “A gentleman is a man who uses the butter knife when no-one can see him.” Perhaps there was more to the use of the word “quality” for the upper crust than later egalitarians would like to admit. Or perhaps they were both just massive snobs.
But it’s not all insightful brilliance. “History is bunk” is superficially interesting, but when one finds “Exercise is bunk” a few lines down, one detects a pattern emerging. And it’s all downhill from there. “Mercedes is bunk” is frankly embarrassingly parti pris, while “My other bed is a bunk” can only be excused as the sad product of his declining years.
What’s your choice of most over-rated quote?
Henry Ford in 1896, yesterday. Somewhat better at creating cars than creating aphorisms, on the whole…