The alkylation of ketones is taught at basic undergraduate level. In many cases this transformation leads to the formation of a new stereogenic center. However, the apparent simplicity of the transformation is belied by a number of problems. So much so, that a general method for the direct asymmetric alkylation of ketones remains an unmet target. Despite the advancement of organocatalysis and transition-metal catalysis, neither field has provided an adequate solution. Indeed, even use of an efficient and general stoichiometric chiral reagent has yet to be reported. Herein we describe the state-of-the-art in terms of direct alkylation reactions of some carbonyl groups. We outline the limited progress that has been made with ketones, and potential routes towards ultimately achieving a widely applicable methodology for the asymmetric alkylation of ketones.