Tip: Mistakes Are More Fun Than Tips

Here’s a continuing trend: tips and what-not-to-do lists get better readership as lists of mistakes.  It’s not a new trend, it’s not a surprising one, but one worth remembering.

What reminds me this morning is a collection of posts by Geoffrey James on BNET:

Notice on these posts we get a double dose: Not just mistakes, but superlative mistakes, and in an “of all time” context. It’s an interesting approach. The lists include some I’d never heard of (I’d never heard of Six Sigma, listed as the #1 stupidest management fad of all time), some very general (“leadership” is listed as #2 dumbest management concept of all time), and several well reasoned takes on long-term thinking, well worth reading.  Geoffrey does a good job at standing back and poking holes on some overused phrases.

On the same theme, you might notice in my illustration here that the most popular item at BNET today is “Business Blunders of the Year.” There are some mixed reviews on that particular piece, by the way, perhaps because a slide-show format, nice for lists of five or 10 points, doesn’t hold up to lists of 75 (yes, that’s 75 business blunders).

Being contrarian really works.


  • ronika says:

    All things being equal, I am more likely to read a tip post than a mistake one. Of course if you throw ‘dimwitted’ in the title, chances are high that I will click on it…

  • Jacqueline Wales says:

    We are all failing our way to success. That being said, we are intrigued by the stupidity of mankind! Bring on the mistakes!

  • Fred Leo says:


    You certainly seem to be right, but I really hate reading about mistakes. I rarely uncover anything of value in those types of posts. But, I guess I am in the minority.

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