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Dumbest Moments In Business History [Paperback]

Adam Horowitz
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 28 2004
Pocket-sized text presents an array of dumbest corporate mistakes every made in business history. Discusses useless products, ridiculous deals, and other signs of unintelligent life in the workplace. DLC: Industrial management--History--Anecdotes.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Review

This is the most hilarious work of nonfiction I've ever read. Inside American big business, a clueless, boneheaded, myopic, dimwitted, shifty, fatuous, self-serving, tangle-footed boob has been crying to be let out - and with The Dumbest Moments in Business History, Horowitz has done it. Bruce McCall, humorist for The New Yorker; I laughed from the first page to the last. Why other people's dumbness should be funny is a question for the ages, one that we may never be able to answer. All I know is that it truly is, and this hilarious, eminently readable book is a reminder to executives everywhere that there is a banana peel lurking around every corner. Stanley Bin, author of The Big Bing and Throwing the Elephant --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Adam Horowitz is the executive editor of Business 2.0 and a creator of "The 101 Dumbest Moments in Business," one of the magazine's most popular annual features. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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A bad idea has to start somewhere. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
Doesn't live up to it's billing. Basically a hodge-podge of anecdotes and quotes, many of them familiar, or even tired, by now. A lot of the anecdotes pertain to criminal scams instead of business blunders. Many of the pieces relate incidents that happened a long time ago...early 20th Century or earlier. If you're expecting to find a good source of useful business lessons learned, you'll likely be disappointed. Also, the authors better not quit their day jobs...they don't show much promise as comedy writers. Most of their attempts at humor are forced and/or fall short...I didn't laugh out loud once as I read the book (and I think I have a pretty good sense of humor). At about 150 pages, with lots of white space, this book does not deliver the value you'd expect based on its current price. If you feel you must read it, at least wait until the paperback comes out or buy it used.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Who Has 20/20 Hindsight? Feb. 10 2004
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Whether or not these are, in fact, the dumbest may be subject to debate but they will certainly serve the purposes of Horowitz and the editors of Business 2.0 magazine, assisted by Mark Athitakis and Mark Lasswell. (For my own purposes, I will simply refer to them collectively as the book's co-authors.) Throughout nine chapters, they examine "useless products, ruinous deals, clueless bosses, and other signs of unintelligent life in the workplace." The material offers substantial entertainment value ("What on earth were they thinking?") but also provides several legitimate business lessons which, hopefully, will enable an enlightened reader to avoid making the same mistakes. How were these "moments" selected? There were three primary criteria: First of all, nobody gets killed...Second, the stories must have a discernible moment of utter fatuity rather than a slowly festering brainlessness...Third, when some form of business buffoonery is particularly chronic, only the choicest example makes the cut." These are obviously not dumb criteria.
The titles of the nine chapters correctly indicate how the co-authors organized evidence of "unintelligent life in the workplace." It seems eminently appropriate that in Chapter One: Research and Development, they include this familiar observation: "Everything that can be invented has been invented." Charles H. Duell, Federal Office of Patents commissioner, 1899. Subsequent chapters examine Human Resources, Manufacturing and Production, Senior Management, Public Relations, Sales and Marketing, Accounting, Legal, and Information Technology. The usual suspects include New Coke, the Edsel, the Waterworld film, 17th century tulip bulbs, and Charles K. Ponzi. However, there are dozens of other "moments" of which I was previously unaware.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious Feb. 3 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
It's about time someone wrote a book like this, exposing the greed and stupidity rampant in American capitalism. It's like Esquire's Dubious Achievements for the business world, and one of the funniest books I have ever read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Has 20/20 Hindsight? Feb. 10 2004
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Whether or not these are, in fact, the dumbest may be subject to debate but they will certainly serve the purposes of Horowitz and the editors of Business 2.0 magazine, assisted by Mark Athitakis and Mark Lasswell. (For my own purposes, I will simply refer to them collectively as the book's co-authors.) Throughout nine chapters, they examine "useless products, ruinous deals, clueless bosses, and other signs of unintelligent life in the workplace." The material offers substantial entertainment value ("What on earth were they thinking?") but also provides several legitimate business lessons which, hopefully, will enable an enlightened reader to avoid making the same mistakes. How were these "moments" selected? There were three primary criteria: First of all, nobody gets killed...Second, the stories must have a discernible moment of utter fatuity rather than a slowly festering brainlessness...Third, when some form of business buffoonery is particularly chronic, only the choicest example makes the cut." These are obviously not dumb criteria.
The titles of the nine chapters correctly indicate how the co-authors organized evidence of "unintelligent life in the workplace." It seems eminently appropriate that in Chapter One: Research and Development, they include this familiar observation: "Everything that can be invented has been invented." Charles H. Duell, Federal Office of Patents commissioner, 1899. Subsequent chapters examine Human Resources, Manufacturing and Production, Senior Management, Public Relations, Sales and Marketing, Accounting, Legal, and Information Technology. The usual suspects include New Coke, the Edsel, the Waterworld film, 17th century tulip bulbs, and Charles K. Ponzi. However, there are dozens of other "moments" of which I was previously unaware.
I also appreciate the wealth of quotations, especially when provided by those (such as Mr. Duell) who should have known better. For example, then president and CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation Kenneth Olson at the annual convention of the World Future Society in 1977: "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home." Years earlier, Thomas Watson, Sr. (then CEO of IBM) estimated that the worldwide market for personal computers was fewer than ten. Presumably those who headed Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) agreed with Watson and Olson. How else to explain their generous provision of information to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak which enabled them to complete the design of what became the Apple I computer?
As I read this entertaining as well as informative book, I recalled the suggestion (but not the source) that Russian historians can predict the past with absolute accuracy and Theodore Roosevelt's comments about "the man in the arena." Also Thomas Edison's response to an assistant's frustration after 90+ "failures" of a research project. Edison did not view them as failures. Rather, he explained, those efforts had merely indicated how NOT to solve the given problem.
For me, at least, the most valuable lessons to be learned are from failures, not successes. Now more than ever before, success in the business world heavily depends upon innovative thinking. Presumably the co-authors agree with me that "useless products, ruinous deals, clueless bosses, and other signs of unintelligent life in the workplace" are probably the inevitable price to be paid for achieving that success.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The book would be even funnier if the Corporate world stopped making the same damn mistakes over and over. Sept. 24 2008
By Chad Riley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The book is more or less funny, but should be given to people about to become CEO's. Turns out they still do the stupid greedy and self serving grasps, grafts, and grabs laid out here.

"We have seen the tulip futures and they are us."
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay...Only Marginally Instructive & Misses the Funny Bone March 31 2004
By A. J Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Doesn't live up to it's billing. Basically a hodge-podge of anecdotes and quotes, many of them familiar, or even tired, by now. A lot of the anecdotes pertain to criminal scams instead of business blunders. Many of the pieces relate incidents that happened a long time ago...early 20th Century or earlier. If you're expecting to find a good source of useful business lessons learned, you'll likely be disappointed. Also, the authors better not quit their day jobs...they don't show much promise as comedy writers. Most of their attempts at humor are forced and/or fall short...I didn't laugh out loud once as I read the book (and I think I have a pretty good sense of humor). At about 150 pages, with lots of white space, this book does not deliver the value you'd expect based on its current price. If you feel you must read it, at least wait until the paperback comes out or buy it used.
5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious Feb. 2 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It's about time someone wrote a book like this, exposing the greed and stupidity rampant in American capitalism. It's like Esquire's Dubious Achievements for the business world, and one of the funniest books I have ever read.
0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sad that it is unavailable Nov. 9 2006
By Mick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Unfortunately, I'm being asked to review a product that after 45 days, I was informed it was unavailable.
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