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What Were They Thinking?: Really Bad Ideas Throughout History

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9173cf6c) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91163d74) out of 5 stars A Humorous Look at Some Bad Ideas. 26 April 2004
By Dave_42 - Published on
Format: Paperback
"What Were They Thinking?" by Bruce Felton is a humorous look at bad ideas throughout history. Given the subject, it is easy to see that this is not a complete collection, and one could easily imagine that it will develop into a series of books. The book has several sections and covers many areas such as: politics, the arts, popular culture, war and peace, science, sports, business, etc... Mixed in with the stories of people trying to implement bad ideas are lists of bad ideas such as cars, books, movies, etc, and ill-advised quotes. Some of the "bad ideas" are fairly well known, some are actually urban legends, and others are much more obscure.
This is not a great book, but it is fun, and it certainly does not demand to be read in one sitting. Rather it seems well suited to picking it up occasionally and reading the selections that catch one's eye. This book is an above average selection, and worthwhile for those looking for some light reading.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91101798) out of 5 stars Great light reading 18 July 2005
By joedriver252 - Published on
Format: Paperback
Bruce Felton's "What Were They Thinking?" is a breezy examination of Strange laws, bizarre beliefs, and downright crazy ideas throughout history. There's not a lot of detail in any one description of a bad idea, and I agree with another reviewer that some context may have shed a different light on certain ideas that are presented as off-the-wall, but I feel Felton's effort, on balance, is worthwhile. This book is intended strictly as light reading, and it fits that bill quite nicely. A typical story is that of a fellow who proposed blowing up the moon, so that the Earth's tilt would change, resulting in constant springlike weather worldwide. I'm not sure which aspect of the story is more astounding - that someone would come up with this idea, or that others would take him seriously enough to present detailed arguments as to why his idea wasn't such a good one. "What Were They Thinking" is full of amusing antecdotes, and is great for some lighthearted reading.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x916890a8) out of 5 stars What was the author thinking? 10 April 2004
By Arnold V. Loveridge - Published on
Format: Paperback
Really BAD ideas throughout history. A collection of tales, some of which really look like urban legends, which show that intelligence in the human species tends to be rather scattered. However, some of the tales told out of context when looked at with a little bit of sympathy could easily be construed as the best the persons involved could come up with at that time and in that circumstance. It does make for interesting bathroom reading, somewhat like reading a joke book or a book of trivia.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91692b70) out of 5 stars Entertaing if a little short on detail 25 Oct. 2003
By JimjamKrotz - Published on
Format: Paperback
Some people are blunderers, and some people are just plain stupid. Mr. Felton makes no judgement on the level of intelligence of each individual, group of people or nation. He just tells the story like it is, and lets the reader judge for her/himself. The book divides up into fifteen separate categories including government blunders, cultural blunders, and the ubiquitous "dumb crook" blunders. A laugh on every page, and a reason to thank God that you haven't been as stupid. Or at least that you haven't been caught being as stupid...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91348e7c) out of 5 stars Tee-hee! 29 Nov. 2005
By JHenzo - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a fun, light-hearted book that was easy to read in my schedule allowed. It's not a serious or hearty read, so considering what it was meant to be, it hit the mark!
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