My husband found this book at the library while visiting with family. Every so often, he would share some of the book, which piqued my interest in reading it.
The book is a collection of some of the worst ideas in history. There are common ones, such as the tale of Bernie Madoff, the countless opportunities to prevent the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and all the things that went wrong with the Titanic.
One thing that made me sad was to read about brilliant inventors who lived poor, miserable lives, despite their great inventions. There was Robert Kearns, who invented intermittent windshield wipers. Without a patent, he brought the idea to Ford, who promptly stole it, followed by Chrysler, GM, Mercedes and others. Kearns became obsessed with suing the giant car companies, and despite winning, his obsession costs him his marriage, his career and his health.
Norman B. Larsen sold his invention of WD-40 for $10,000, thinking he could later invent something better. He never did and lost out on what has now become a company worth $528 billion. These stories and others made me realize we put too much focus on coming up with that “million dollar idea” and not enough focus spent towards learning the craft of business.
My gripe with the book is the authors’ overuse of humor. For example, in a story where a couple is sued by McDonald’s for defamation, the authors write about “McDonald’s McLegal Team” is “beefier than a triple Quarter Pounder.” “McDonald’s burger brass flips its collective bun lid.” “As the sesame seed settle,” the defendants are “Happier than a Happy Meal,” leading “Free speech champions everywhere [to] declare: ‘I’m lovin’ it.'”
I noticed the overuse of humor about halfway in, and then, I saw it EVERYWHERE. It detracted from the quality of the book. Don’t get me wrong, this book is great. It adequately summarizes and explains difficult conflicts happening throughout history. It’s knowledgable yet entertaining. However, the corny jokes felt forced, like they were shoved into any place possible.
All in all, the book is still a great read for vacation. It’s a quick and easy to read. The frequent breaks make it easy to pick up and read in a spare few minutes.