Everyone surely knows the story of 'The Not Terribly Good Club.' Stephen Pile began this long ago in 1979 with his book 'The Book of Heroic Failures,' in which he told the stories of inept burglars, handymen, navies and so on, people from every walk of life. Folks like you and me. This book was so successful, worldwide, that he was forced to write a follow up and resign from the club! His success was not the stuff of which the members were made. I recently dusted off my copy of the second volume and have read with interest the story of a man who in his attempt to obtain a peaceful life moved to the peaceful and lightly inhabited Falkland Islands. Five days later the Argentinians invaded! The woman who threw herself off the 86th floor of the Empire State Building only to be blown in an open window on the 85th floor intrigued me, as did Canadian Mr Kelly. He attempted to tranquilize a donkey with Rompun, allowed the syringe to slip, it stuck in his finger, and he then enjoyed the sleep of his life. The donkey just laughed. The book is full of such tales, I would say both books are full but someone borrowed mine and it has note yet returned. that was in 1986!
One chapter deals with getting opinions wrong. "Sentimental rubbish....show me one page that contains an idea." Odessa Courier on Anna Kareninna, by Leo Tolstoy. 1877.
"I'm sorry Mr Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language." The San Francisco Examiner's rejection letter to Rudyard Kipling in 1889.
"Had he submitted this music to a teacher, the latter, it is to be hoped, would have torn it up and thrown it at his feet.," L.Rellstab, reviewing Chopin's Mazurkas,1833.
"I scarcely think it will be able to keep the stage for any length of time." E.A.Kelly reviewing Wagner's Lohengrin. 1854.
"And for the tourist who really wants to get away from it all, safari's in Vietnam." Newsweek, predicting popular holidays for the late 60's.
"Very interesting Whittle my boy, but it will never work." The Professor of Aeronautical Engineering at Cambridge University when shown Frank Whittles plan for the jet engine.
I am not sure after reading through all the mistakes that I gain confidence in my own abilities, or whether it's just not worthwhile attempting to go on! Still, read it if you can, laughter is good for you.