The Little Book of Big F*#k Ups: 220 of History's Most-Regrettable Moments

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F+W Media, Apr 18, 2011 - Reference - 240 pages
2 Reviews
Nobody's perfect. Every day, some guy forgets his wife's birthday, some schmuck drives his Corolla into the Lexus in front of him, and some mother forgets to make cupcakes for her kid's school bake sale. But you'll never sweat the small stuff again. This book gives these denizens of disaster a major self-esteem boost by detailing 220 of the world's most easily avoided catastrophes, such as: The Donner party camping trip. Oh, pioneers! The Sierra Nevadas are not a winter wonderland. Guess you learned the hard way. The sinking of the RMS Titanic. Hello!? Does anyone see that huge iceberg? No? Okay then. Madame Curie's death from radium poisoning. Come on, Marie, put on a Hazmat suit, will ya? Your creepy glow-in-the-dark skin is freaking everyone out. After all, everyone makes mistakes. It's just that some people's faux pas are worse--way, way worse--than others.

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User Review  - Chris177 - LibraryThing

I really like the idea behind this book, 220 of history’s most regrettable moments. After all, people that don’t remember history tend to repeat it. The book chronicles 220 one page stories throughout ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This was really an awful book.
Fist off, the articles are way too profane. (The book is also sold under the title "The Little Book of Big F*#K Ups", which should give you a sense of the tone.) I
personally don't mind profanity, but it added nothing to the prose, and the sheer amount eventually seemed juvenile, as if the author's weren't creative or motivated enough to come up with something else to say. Parents, I really can't stress this enough, don't get this book for your little kid!
Even ignoring the profanity, the writing style was far too colloquial. Given, the authors were going for an "easy reading" style, but the stories often end in the deaths of many people, and the sarcasm comes off as insulting and crass.
The entries are a bit dubious at best (Adam and Eve as the first entry?) and fail to show evidence of research or, at times, even common sense. For instance, the authors devote an entire entry to Y2K, but fail to notice the effort put in by scores of computer wizards, engineers, and day-to-day employees that kept it from becoming a fiasco. There's a mocking entry describing the 1998 Bangladesh flood, at one point stating "Houseboats people, houseboats" and ignoring the tragedy hundreds of poor people who drowned.
I'd say nearly 1/3 of the book is devoted to sports, mostly baseball. If you're not a fan, feel free to tear out 1/3 of the book and move on.
The sarcastic tone starts off fun, but somewhere in the middle it begins to feel forced, then grating. The book begins to seem like a celebration not of history, but of how dumb *other* people are. It seems like a long, drawn out insult designed to make the authors feel better about themselves by mocking others. And in the process, it becomes annoying and no fun to read.
It's worth noting that the only review of the book on its jacket is by the best friend of the author, and it features a shameless plug for his business. The foreword is by the same friend, who mentions the same business 5 (!) times in the one-page forward. If the only good word for the book is the author's friend, and his praise is really an advertisement, it doesn't bode well for the content.
Final word of advice: I threw this book away after flipping through it. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, not parents, not kids, not avid readers or occasional ones. I wouldn't even recommend it for fans of trivia: there are far better books available, ones that don't insult your intelligence with misleading stories, obnoxious sarcasm, pointless profanity, or plain old mean-spirited writing.

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About the author (2011)

Ken Lytle is by day a mild-mannered accountant and by night a passionate trivia jockey who hosts bar trivia. He combined his love for words and numbers with his vast array of odd facts and figures to assemble this collection of catastrophes.

Katie Corcoran Lytle, MA loves any and all trivial pursuits and put her love of arcane knowledge to use by earning her MA in nineteenth century American literature. A former professor, Katie currently works as a publishing professional.

Foreword writer Bob Carney is the founder and owner of nationwide bar trivia machine Stump! Trivia. His trivia empire, once confined to only four bars in Boston, has expanded to hundreds of bars in states from New Hampshire to Hawaii.

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