Oops: 20 Life Lessons from the Fiascoes That Shaped America

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9780060780845: Oops: 20 Life Lessons from the Fiascoes That Shaped America

Americans' failures are as spectacular as their successes: bridges that collapse; flying cars that crash; sports promotions run amok; deodorant that nearly destroyed the earth; and even failures that failed to happen!

Veteran journalists Martin J. Smith and Patrick J. Kiger select twenty miscues, goofs, complications, and failures that shaped modern America and reveal the life lessons these gaffes teach, including:

  • Accentuate the Positive: How Thomas Edison Invented Trash Talk
  • Understand the Market: The 1967 Monkees–Jimi Hendrix Concert Tour
  • Desperation Is the Cradle of Bad Ideas: Cleveland Indians' Ten-Cent Beer Night
  • Sweat the Details: The Sixty-Story John Hancock Guillotine

Enriched by handy clip-'n'-save "Recipes for Disaster," Oops proves that when it comes to failure, truth is stranger than fiction!

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Martin J. Smith is an award-winning journalist and magazine editor. He is a senior editor at the Los Angeles Times Magazine and lives with his family in southern California.



Patrick J. Kiger is a journalist whose articles have appeared in GQ, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and other publications. He lives near Washington, D.C.

From Publishers Weekly:

Although its composition seems occasionally arbitrary, this addition to the weird history subgenre is as informative as it is entertaining. Smith and Kiger (Poplorica) take 20 of American history's biggest "flops, goofs, misjudgments, and fiascoes" (mainly from the 20th century) and attempt to extract a "meaningful lesson" from each, the latter more difficult than simply telling an embarrassing story. For instance, "Beware Solutions That Create New Problems" profiles Thomas Midgeley, the innovator who added poisonous lead to gasoline and invented ozone-killing CFCs, which made him responsible for more atmospheric damage than any other man in history. Most enjoyable are the chapters on jaw-droppingly ridiculous decisions, such as Jimi Hendrix opening for the Monkees in 1967 or the 1974 Cleveland Indians' 10-cent beer night that turned into one of pro sports' ugliest riots. Some subjects seem more like misguided incidents than fiascoes (e.g., inventors' unending quest for a flying car, the Y2K scare), but there are plenty of corkers, like the hubristic flameout that was the football-wrestling hybrid XFL. A "bonus" chapter crams in other goodies for a nice finish, from the well known (e.g., the CIA's Castro assassination plots) to the obscure (e.g., equine sushi ice cream). (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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