I was shocked and intrigued when a work colleague at Let's Talk Science mentioned that Edison invented a concrete piano. What a stupendously stupid idea! Then, it seemed odd that I was shocked, since common sense and experience says that everyone makes mistakes. When I dug a little deeper, I found that most great inventors had blemished records, though the flops were not exactly front and center in the accounts. Then I researched Edison, and was surprised, yet again, by the concrete piano – because it was not at all the stupid idea I assumed it was; rather it was a great invention. It was only a failure because society said it was. Misperceptions, great characters, and obscure inventions whose stories might yield nuggets of wisdom: these are the reasons I wrote these 70 000 words.  

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