First Fasab Fact File Feast For 2015.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi and welcome to the first fasab fact feast for 2015.

If you like a random selection of interesting tidbits this is the place to be.

I hope you enjoy.

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did you know2

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There are

169,518,829,100,544,000,000,000,000,000

ways to play the first ten moves of any chess game.

chess game

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James Bond works for MI6,

which is a real agency,

except of course that he isn’t real,

so therefore he doesn’t.

I hope that’s cleared that up.

James Bond Daniel Craig

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Although the phrase ‘get out of hand’

has several different meanings nowadays,

still the most common is to describe when

someone loses control of things or a situation.

The phrase has its origins in the old days

when failure to keep a firm grip on the reins

would result in a team of horses

getting “out of hand.”

STAGECOACH

 

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The estimates of the number of workers

involved in the construction of the pyramids

differ significantly but it could have

been as many 100,000 people.

construction of the pyramids

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A polar bear has particularly developed

sense of smell and can track an

icebound seal up to 20 miles (32 kilometers) away,

or sniff-out a seal’s breathing hole in the ice

more than half a mile away, even if the seal is absent.

polar bear

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Harry S. Truman’s middle name

was just S.

According to Truman,

the S as his middle name was a

compromise of his two grandfathers,

Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young.

Harry S. Truman

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Football star and American war hero Pat Tillman

rejected a multimillion-dollar contract to play

the game professionally and instead

chose to serve his country.

In 2002 he enlisted in the U.S. Army,

but sadly his career and life were cut short

when he was killed in action in 2004.

Even though the exact circumstances

of his death are still in question,

his legacy is not and Tillman is considered

one of the bravest American athletes

who turned his back on a comfortable,

luxurious life for the love of his country.

A great man.

Pat Tillman

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YouTube was founded

by three former PayPal employees,

Chad Hurley, Steven Chen, and Jawed Karim.

They registered the domain name in February 2005

and the site was officially launched that December.

youtube founders

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On the planet Mars there exists

what is known as the “face on Mars”.

It is believed to be an optical illusion

created from natural looking Martian hills.

face on Mars

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Greece’s national anthem

has 158 stanzas.

Greece's national anthem

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In 1938 Adolf Hitler was named

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

and in 1939 was nominated

for the Nobel Peace Prize.

World War II began in 1939!

Adolf-Hitler-TIME-Man-of-the-Year

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Male mice sing love songs for female mice.

The songs they sing are ultrasonic,

and humans are unable to hear them,

but presumably the female mice can.

Male mice sing love songs for female mice

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The scene in the movie ‘Titanic’

when the band members continue playing

to calm down the passengers as the ship is sinking

is based on fact.

The band did continue to play for hours

after the ship hit the iceberg.

band members continue playing on titanic

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Alcohol more easily causes dehydration

and dilates blood vessels

which can result in headaches;

it also increases stomach acid and

decreases the rate the stomach empties itself

which can lead to vomiting.

We call this infliction a hangover.

hangover

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Contrary to what you see in the movies,

real Tequila does not have a worm in it.

The worm, or gusano, actually originated

with tequila’s ‘lower-quality’ cousin, mezcal,

largely as a marketing ploy.

The gusano is the larvae of a type of moth

that lives on the agave plant.

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They’ve Got It Wrong AGAIN!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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russia-sanctions

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I wrote a short post the other day on the subject of failure. I think it was a success 🙂

What hasn’t been a success, however, is America’s foreign policy. I’ve also written about this many times in the past. I find it very annoying that a country as great as America and with so many brilliant people within it can neither elect a smart politician, or even a not so smart politician but one who has enough brains to hire smart advisers.

The current President, Barack Obama, has continued the trend of failure. Particularly with regard to foreign policy, at which he has not only failed but added indecision and procrastination to the mix.

The examples are many, but the latest foreign policy debacle is the leading role America has taken in the imposition of sanctions against Russia. Sanctions that may have been aimed against Russia but which are already starting to backfire against the US.

I noted in another post that sanctions have been imposed in regard to Russian oil and natural gas, which Europe (particularly Germany and France) needs, but America doesn’t; but that the sanctions were not imposed on nuclear fuels, which America does need.

Believe me, the hypocrisy of that has not been lost on the European governments or its public.

And the hypocrisy does not end there.

rosneft getty

On the one hand there have been hyped up media statements telling everyone that Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company, and its head Igor Sechin, have been targeted in the sanctions.

But what hasn’t been trumpeted so loudly is the fact that British oil company BP, owns almost 20% of Rosneft, and has confirmed that it would not be severing ties with the Russian firm.

Similarly, Norway’s Statoil is continuing its partnership with Rosneft to search for oil in the Norwegian section of the Barents Sea.

And France’s major oil and gas company, Total, has announced that it is seeking financing for its next gas project in –  where else? –  Russia. When they get that financing, amounting to something in the region of $27 billion, it will be in Roubles or maybe even Yuan, but certainly not in US dollars – again thanks to the ill thought out sanctions.

This will set a trend for similar deals that will also exclude the US dollar, inevitably lowering its standing as the world’s reserve currency. I expect more such deals to be done with the Russians by German companies in particular as the sanctions fail to bring the promised results and as a consequence start to fall apart.

But it gets worse.

Before any of the US Senators or Congressmen stand up and start to call names at the Brits or the Norwegians or the French for backtracking on sanctions, they would be better to take a look nearer home.

It now seems that American Companies are not paying attention to the sanctions either.

ExxonMobil_Challenges

For example, ExxonMobil, America’s largest oil company, has continued drilling offshore in the Russian Arctic, also with Rozneft.

If the sanctions were anything more than a bit of public posturing by Obama, ExxonMobil shouldn’t (and wouldn’t) be doing any more work with the Russians in Russia. But using the excuse that it is environmentally safer to complete the well than to allow the Russians to do it alone, ExxonMobil got permission to continue.

No doubt the company will express its gratitude when the next round of electioneering fund raising comes along! (Gosh, I’m such a cynic!)

Now, if Obama and his advisers had thought for a moment about the consequences of sanctions, they would have realized that, in cases like this, companies such as ExxonMobile had not really got a choice. If they hadn’t continued to work with Rozneft, the Russian company would simply have gone ahead without them with a consequent dilution of ExxonMobile’s return if/when the well is a success.

In addition to that, if the Russian company did need other help you can be sure there would have been a Chinese energy company there ready and willing and eager to take up the slack.

Whilst Obama and his predecessors have been blundering around the world pissing off friend and foe alike, the strategy of the Russian President has been to cultivate new friends and thereby new markets and customers for his country’s vast energy reserves.

It has been a clever move.

Sanctions or not, game to Putin this time I think.

sanctions against Russia

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Failure.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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success failure

They say that success breeds success and to a great extent that is true. If, for example, you have a successful business it can give you the confidence and the cash to acquire or set up another.

But is the opposite also true? Does failure breed failure?

I think it does. Most people tend to get the confidence knocked out of them when they fail. That’s why most never really succeed after one or two set backs. Some are so afraid of failure that they won’t even try the first time.

But, when they fail, some do get up, dust themselves down, and try again. And they are the ones who prove that failing a few times can, in the long run, actually lead to greater success that would otherwise have been the case.

Most of the world’s greatest serial entrepreneurs have had their failures. Some have even been bankrupt or been close to it. It may have dented their confidence a little and made them more cautious for the next time, but it didn’t stop them trying and that’s the key to real success.

Sure, plan well, be smart, work hard and all those good things, but don’t give up.

Do not give up

Does that mean you are bound to succeed? Well, no it doesn’t. There can always be extenuating circumstances well out of your control that makes things go wrong, but on average you should come out ahead. And you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you did your best and that’s as much as any of us can hope for.

It also helps if you set you sights at a realistic level. Barring a highly unlikely win on the lotto you won’t become a millionaire overnight, no matter how many of those self-help books you buy or how many internet webinars you attend. Nor will you become a Hollywood superstar if you move to L.A. and fill in the time waiting tables in the hope that some famous producer will stop by and ‘discover’ you.

Winston Churchill perhaps summarized it best when he said that success was going from one failure to the next without any loss of enthusiasm. Be sensible and it may be success that waits round the corner for you.

failure-sucess

 

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Did You Know? – It’s Another Fact Filled Tuesday.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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A curious mixture of facts today, or maybe they’re always hat way?

Anyway, I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

But whatever conclusion you come to I hope you enjoy.

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did you know2

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As with many things, Penicillin was discovered accidently

when Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming came back from vacation

and noticed that his bacteria were all being killed off by a strange fungus.

Alexander_Fleming

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Every two minutes, we take as many photos

as all of humanity took during the 1800s.

Smile please!

taking-picture-photographer

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If you think no one cares if you’re alive,

try leaving some debts unpaid.

debts unpaid

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In 1942 Dr. Harry Coover found that a substance he created,

cyanoacrylate, was a failure.

It stuck to everything it touched just a little too well.

So he invented Super Glue.

Dr. Harry Coover superglued

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When Warner Brothers formed,

the Ottoman Empire was still in being.

warner brothers logo

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John Pemberton didn’t start out wanting to be a successful businessman.

He just wanted to cure headaches.

His recipes consisted of two things – coca leaves and cola nuts.

When his lab assistant accidentally mixed the two with carbonated water

Coke was born.

John Pemberton coca cola

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The oldest living person’s birth

is closer to the signing of the US Constitution

than present day.

signing of the US Constitution

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John Tyler, America’s 10th President,

has two living grandchildren.

Tylers-Son-and-Grandsons

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The last time the Chicago Cubs won a World Series,

women were not allowed to vote.

(Sorry for reminding you Cubs fans.)

Chicago Cubs

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If it weren’t for the last minute

nothing would ever get done.

last-minut

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While building an ocillator to record heart beat sounds in animals

at Cornell University Wilson Greatbatch accidentally grabbed the wrong transistor.

After switching on the device he found it to have

a very familiar rhythmic pulsing sound, very similar to a human heart.

So now we have Pacemakers!

GREATBACH-obit-articleInline

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Basque, a language spoken in the

mountains between France and Spain

is the only European language

not related to any other known language.

Basque

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President Kennedy was the fastest

random speaker in the world

with upwards of 350 words per minute.

President Kennedy

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Sometimes your mouth is like a zipper,

by the time you realize it’s open

it has already embarrassed you.

zipper

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The bagpipe was originally made

from the whole skin of a dead sheep.

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More Of Those Questions That Are Well Worth Asking, But Nobody Bothers To Ask

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Well, apparently I was right, last week’s selection of questions that are worth asking, but nobody bothers to ask, weren’t life changing. But some people seemed to like them, so here is another batch for your consideration.

As usual, enjoy.

 

 

What can deaf people use instead of an Alarm Clock?

 

Why are Softballs hard?

 

Why aren’t Blueberry’s blue?

 

Do Butterfly’s make butter?

 

Does the Queen Bee have a King?

 

Can you carry a Kangaroo on your back?

 

Is a gold knife or fork still considered Silverware?

 

Why isn’t Chocolate considered a vegetable if it comes from Cocoa Beans?

 

What happens when you get ‘half scared to death’ twice?

 

Is it true cannibals don’t eat clowns because they taste funny?

 

If all the world’s a stage, where does the audience sit?

 

Why are the alphabets in the order that they are? Is it because it’s a song?

 

If you write a book about failure, and it doesn’t sell, is it called success?

 

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

 

If work is so terrific, how come they have to pay you to do it?

 

Are the good things that come to people who wait, the leftovers of people who went before them?

 

Why did Yankee Doodle name the feather in his hat Macaroni?

 

Isn’t Disney World a people trap operated by a mouse?

 

Why is Greenland called Greenland, when it’s white and covered with ice?

 

If something ‘goes without saying’, why do people still say it?

 

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Three Interesting Letters Of Rejection

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I wrote a post last week about now famous and successful authors who had been the victims of intellectually challenged publishers and who as a consequence had suffered the indignity of receiving letters and comments rejecting their work. (Possibly The Most Rejected Book Manuscript In The World)

Back on the theme of rejection letters I found a few other examples that I thought were interesting and, I hope, amusing. Here are three of the best.

Enjoy.

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The first was sent to an aspiring author of a novel. It was either a very bad manuscript or the publisher was having a particularly bad day.

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Dear Bad Writer,

Unfortunately it falls to me to inform you that Harlequin will not be publishing your novel, Kisses In January.

While it is customary to send out a form letter in cases of such rejection, your novel was so strikingly inept, I felt I had to say a few words.

One, you are not welcome to submit any future work to our offices.

Two, both myself and my assistant are considering legal action against you for wasting our valuable time with your relentless tripe.

Among the areas needing vast improvement: Description, character development, and dialogue. The less said about the love scenes the better.

Should this novel have been published, it would have likely resulted in the end of modern book sales.

Trying to Forget,

Judith P Esterman, Editor

Harlequin American Romance.

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The second is a curious letter of rejection. In fact you could say it is a rejecting rejection letter.

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Herbert A. Millington
Chair – Search Committee
412A Clarkson Hall, Whitson University
College Hill, MA 34109

Dear Professor Millington,

Thank you for your letter of March 16. After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me an assistant professor position in your department.

This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.

Despite Whitson’s outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at this time. Therefore, I will assume the position of assistant professor in your department this August. I look forward to seeing you then.

Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.

Sincerely,
Chris L. Jensen

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And the third is perhaps the letter we have all secretly wanted to write at some time in our lives. It is a farewell letter from someone who worked in the Dublin office of Ernst & Young. Now this is closure!

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My leaving letter: 

Dear Co-Workers,

As many of you probably know, tomorrow is my last day. But before I leave, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what a great and distinct pleasure it has been to type “Tomorrow is my last day.”

For nearly as long as I’ve worked here, I’ve hoped that I might one day leave this company. And now that this dream has become a reality, please know that I could not have reached this goal without your unending lack of support. Words cannot express my gratitude for the words of gratitude you did not express.

I would especially like to thank all of my managers: in an age where miscommunication is all too common, you consistently impressed and inspired me with the sheer magnitude of your misinformation. It takes a strong man to admit his mistake – it takes a stronger man to attribute his mistake to me.

Over the year and a half, you have taught me more than I could ever ask for and, in most cases, ever did ask for. I have been fortunate enough to work with some absolutely interchangeable supervisors on a wide variety of seemingly identical projects – an invaluable lesson in overcoming daily tedium in overcoming daily tedium in overcoming daily tedium.

Your demands were high and your patience short, but I take great solace knowing that my work was, as stated on my annual review, “mostly satisfactory.” That is the type of praise that sends a man home happy after even a ‘10 hour’ day, smiling his way through half a bottle of mostly satisfactory scotch.

And to most of my peers: even though we barely acknowledged each other within these office walls, I hope that in the future, should we pass on the street, you will regard me the same way as I regard you: sans eye contact.

But to those few souls with whom I’ve actually interacted, here are my personalized notes of farewell:

To Caulfield: I will always remember sharing lunch with you, despite having clearly labeled it with my name.

To Mairead: I will miss detecting your flatulence as much as you will clearly miss walking past my cubicle to deliver it.

To Linda: Best wishes on your ongoing campaign to popularize these “email forwards.” I sincerely hope you receive that weekend full of good luck, that hug from an old friend, and that baby for your dusty womb.

And finally, to Kat: you were right – I tested positive. We’ll talk later.

So, in parting, if I could pass on any word of advice to the individual who will soon be filling my position, it would be to cherish this experience like a sponge and soak it up like a good woman, because a job opportunity like this comes along only once in a lifetime.

Meaning: if I had to work here again in this lifetime, I would sooner kill myself.

Very truly yours,

Cian Kelliher

 

PS: I will be throwing myself a happy hour farewell party at the Oden 5.30 tomorrow evening if anybody is interested in drinks!

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Possibly The Most Rejected Book Manuscript In The World

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Gilbert Young was as aspiring writer, something that will find sympathy with many bloggers and blog readers I’m sure.

But Mr Young has not been the most successful of authors. In the 1970s he wrote a book, World Government Crusade, and last reports indicate that it was rejected by more publishers that any other manuscript. He even wrote to the Soviet Ambassador to see if Russian publishers might be interested. They were not.

He amassed a collection of 205 rejection slips.

It’s all hardly surprising since the subject matter of his book outlined the policies of the ‘World Government and Old Age Pensioners’ Party’ that he had founded in 1958.

But whilst Mr Young’s manuscript may well have been worthy of rejection, sometimes publishers have made serious errors when assessing work submitted to them by aspiring authors. Stupidity is indeed everywhere!

Take a look at these famous examples and the publisher’s comments. It’s a fairly long list, but interesting to see the variety of great writers who started off their careers being rejected. At least some of them will surprise you!

Thank goodness they were persistent enough to carry on. Another good lesson there for aspiring writers today.

Perhaps rather fittingly, whilst the authors and books they criticized have gone on to become household names, the publishers doing the rejecting have long been forgotten.

Enjoy.

 

 

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by D H Lawrence

‘for your own sake do not publish this book.’

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“The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame

‘an irresponsible holiday story’

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“Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

‘an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.’

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“Watership Down” by Richard Adams

‘older children wouldn’t like it because its language was too difficult.’

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“Valley of the Dolls” by Jacqueline Susann 

Susann’s “Valley Of The Dolls” received this response, “…she is a painfully dull, inept, clumsy, undisciplined, rambling and thoroughly amateurish writer whose every sentence, paragraph and scene cries for the hand of a pro. She wastes endless pages on utter trivia, writes wide-eyed romantic scenes …hauls out every terrible show biz cliché in all the books, lets every good scene fall apart in endless talk and allows her book to ramble aimlessly …”

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“Crash” by J  G Ballard

‘The author of this book is beyond psychiatric help.’

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“The Torrents of Spring” by Ernest Hemingway

Regarding his novel, “The Torrents of Spring”, Ernest Hemingway was rejected with, “It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it.”

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“Moby Dick” by Herman Melville

Melville was told, “We regret to say that our united opinion is entirely against the book as we do not think it would be at all suitable for the Juvenile Market in (England). It is very long, rather old-fashioned…”

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William Faulkner

Faulkner may be a classic writer to this, as well as prior, generation, but back when he was trying to crack the publishing market, he had to read letters like this one, “If the book had a plot and structure, we might suggest shortening and revisions, but it is so diffuse that I don’t think this would be of any use. My chief objection is that you don’t have any story to tell.” This was kinder than the rejection he would receive just two years later, “Good God, I can’t publish this!”

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“The Deer Park” by Norman Mailer

‘This will set publishing back 25 years.’

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“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” by Anita Loos

‘Do you realize, young woman, that you’re the first American writer ever to poke fun at sex.’

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“The Diary of Anne Frank”

‘The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the “curiosity” level.’ 

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“Lust for Life” by Irving Stone

Stone’s manuscript “Lust For Life” was rejected 16 times, with letters like this, “A long, dull novel about an artist.” Eventually he found a publisher and went on to sell about 25 million copies.

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“Barchester Towers” by Anthony Trollope

‘The grand defect of the work, I think, as a work of art is the low-mindedness and vulgarity of the chief actors.  There is hardly a lady” or “gentleman” amongst them.’

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“Carrie” by Stephen King

‘We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias.  They do not sell.’

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“Catch – 22” by Joseph Heller

‘I haven’t really the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say… Apparently the author intends it to be funny – possibly even satire – but it is really not funny on any intellectual level … From your long publishing experience you will know that it is less disastrous to turn down a work of genius than to turn down talented mediocrities.’

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“The Spy who Came in from the Cold” by John le Carré

‘You’re welcome to le Carré – he hasn’t got any future.’

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“The War Of The Worlds”  &  “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells

Wells had to endure the indignity of a rejection when he submitted his manuscript, “The War of the Worlds” that said, “An endless nightmare. I do not believe it would “take”…I think the verdict would be ‘Oh don’t read that horrid book’.”

And when he tried to market “The Time Machine,” it was said, “It is not interesting enough for the general reader and not thorough enough for the scientific reader.”

———————-

“Animal Farm” by George Orwell

‘It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA’

———————–

Edgar Allen Poe

Poe was told, “Readers in this country have a decided and strong preference for works in which a single and connected story occupies the entire volume.”

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 “A Wrinkle In Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle In Time” was turned down 29 times.

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“Bridge Over River Kwai” by Pierre Boulle 

A rejection letter said, “A very bad book.”

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“The Clan of Cave Bear” by Jean Auel

Auel was told, “We are very impressed with the depth and scope of your research and the quality of your prose. Nevertheless … we don’t think we could distribute enough copies to satisfy you or ourselves.”

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“Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach

The publisher of a magazine refusing an offer to bid on the paperback rights to Bach’s best selling novel said, “Jonathan Livingston Seagull will never make it as a paperback.” Avon Books eventually bought those rights and sales totaled more than 7.25 million copies.

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“The Fountainhead” & “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand

Before Ayn Rand became known as an intellectual and her books as classics, she too received rejections. Of “The Fountin Head” they said, “It is badly written and the hero is unsympathetic,” and, “I wish there were an audience for a book of this kind. But there isn’t. It won’t sell.”

Of “Atlas Shrugged” doing the rounds some fourteen years later, “… the book is much too long. There are too many long speeches… I regret to say that the book is unsaleable and unpublishable.”

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“Lady Windermere’s Fan” by Oscar Wilde

‘My dear sir, I have read your manuscript.  Oh, my dear sir.’

—————————–

Jorge Luis Borges

‘utterly untranslatable’

——————————-

Isaac Bashevis Singer

‘It’s Poland and the rich Jews again.’

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Anais Nin

‘There is no commercial advantage in acquiring her, and, in my opinion, no artistic.’

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Dr Seuss

“too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”

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Beatrix Potter

“The Tale Of Peter Rabbit” was turned down so many times, Potter initially self-published it.

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Rudyard Kipling

Kipling received this from the editor of the San Francisco Examiner, “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”

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“Journey Back to Love” by Mary Higgins Clark

Although mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark more recently has received a $60 plus million dollar advance on her next five books, in the early 1960s when she was sending out her manuscript of “Journey Back to Love” the publishers were not so generous, saying things like, “We found the heroine as boring as her husband did.”

————————–

Colette

Classic writer Colette was told in a letter of rejection, “I wouldn’t be able to sell 10 copies.”

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Emily Dickinson

Only seven of Emily Dickinson’s poems were ever published during her lifetime. A rejection early in her career said, “(Your poems) are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.”

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Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

‘… overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian … the whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy.  It often becomes a wild neurotic daydream … I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.