Arthur D. Little biography, quotes and publications

Arthur D. Little - Toolshero

Arthur D. Little (1863 – 1935) was a pioneer and free thinker who focused on opportunities rather than difficulties. He was also founder of the worldwide consulting company Arthur D. Little and creator of the famous ADL matrix.


Even though there was little interest in chemistry from an economic perspective in the late 1800s, Arthur D. Little decided to study chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His enthusiasm and innovative spirit were clearly reflected in the foundation of the campus magazine “Tech“.

Because of financial problems, he was not able to finish his studies and he had to leave the MIT without a diploma.

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After having gained some work experience, Arthur D. Little founded “Griffin en Little, Chemical Engineers” with his partner Roger B. Griffin on 1 October 1886. The focus of the company was on chemical analyses and testing with respect to paper making.

After the sudden death of Griffin in 1893, the company was renamed “ADL consultancy”.

In 1910 Arthur D. Little received an offer to set up a research laboratory for General Motors. This assignment turned out to be the foundation of the modern services that are now provided by Arthur D. Little.

Spectacular projects followed and made the company the first management consulting firm with a focus on key areas such as strategy, technology and innovation.

A famous strategic management model that was developed by Arthur D. Little, is the Strategic Condition Matrix (ADL-matrix). This model helps organizations gain insight into their competitive position.

The organization has been providing services to large clients from its establishment in 1886 to help them think about certain issues and to translate new insights into practice using their expertise in the three key areas.

Arthur D. Little died in 1935 and left a wonderful organization that continues to exist today.

Arthur D. Little quotes

  • “Research serves to make building stones out of stumbling blocks.”
  • “If knowledge is to be humanized it must first be translated.”

Publications and books by Arthur D. Little et al.

  • 1928. The Handwriting on the Wall: A Chemist’s Interpretation (Essays). Little, Brown.
  • 1913. Industrial Research in America, Science 7, November 1913: 643-656. (presidential address at the forty eighth meeting of the American Chemical Society, Rochester, New York).
  • 1913. Industrial Research in America, Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, v5, 1913, p. 793.
  • 1910. The Paper-Makers Trouble Book
  • 1894. The Chemistry of Paper-Making, together with the principles of general chemistry; a handbook for the student and manufacturer. New York : Howard Lockwood & Co.

How to cite this article:
Van Vliet, V. (2011). Arthur D. Little biography, quotes and publications. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero:

Published on: 02/19/2011 | Last update: 12/14/2022

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Vincent van Vliet
Article by:

Vincent van Vliet

Vincent van Vliet is co-founder and responsible for the content and release management. Together with the team Vincent sets the strategy and manages the content planning, go-to-market, customer experience and corporate development aspects of the company.


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