Tag Archives: Facts

From Pint to Print!

Ever had a grouse about a (Red) Grouse? Well, Sir Hugh Beaver did. Sir Beaver wasn’t quite convinced whether the Red Grouse was the fastest game bird in Europe. You see, he had been out hunting that afternoon and the hunting party had missed a few Golden Plovers; his argument therefore, was that the Plover was the faster of the two birds in Europe.
 
As arguments over drinks tend to go – as he realised must be regular case in pubs all round Britain and Ireland – for ever, he soon accepted that there was no definitive solution to this, in the sense of a published reference. And so on, November 10th, 1951, a magnificent thought occurred to him; all because his hunting expedition in the North Slob, by the River Slaney in County Wexford, Ireland earlier that day was slightly unsuccessful.
That evening at Castlebridge House, a revelation dawned upon him that, a book that researches and chronicles such details would really come in handy to settle such arguments and therefore, might prove pretty successful.
 
Was he right about it or was he right! He was at that point, the managing director of a famous brewery – somewhat legitimising his concerns for drunk debates – and so proposed the idea of compiling such a book. (Sir) Christopher Chataway (Olympian, television broadcaster, politician) had just graduated Oxford and was at this point employed in the same company. Sir Chataway heard of the idea and suggested the services of his university friends, fellow sprinters, twins and proprietors of a fact finding agency in London. Norris and Ross McWhirter.
 
And so, history was written, at 107 Fleet Street, London. The brothers employed a curious method to collecting information – “When writing to an expert they did not ask for a direct bit of information, but stated a fact that they figured might be close enough to being right and asked the expert to correct it” – “We found that people who have a total resistance to giving information often have an irresistible desire to correct other people’s impressions”
 
The first 198 page edition was ready on 27th August 1955 and was soon topping best seller lists in the UK and the USA. A book that lists records, curiously holds the record for the world’s best selling copyright book ever.
 
Something that began as a debate over drinks is such a huge marketing success that (arguably) more people know of the book than the parent brewery. The story literally went from a pint to print (different pronunciations not withstanding); what a difference an added letter can make to history!
 
Sir Hugh Beaver, engineer, industrialist, and founder of the Guinness Book of Records!
 
PS: For the record, it was the Red Grouse which was faster.

Mythbusting: The Importance of Facts – Viral Bill Gates Memes.

William Henry Gates III, the founder of Microsoft, billionaire, philanthropist and according to the internet, a stingy tipper. He is also regularly hailed as a ‘drop out icon’, that he managed to succeed despite being a drop out.

We here would like to point out a few obvious things in the interest of education and intelligence.

download

If you read the above meme, it very sagely points out how one must never forget one’s past. Sound advice we must agree. But peddling absolute falsehood as well. Bill Gates is a famous philanthropist and one of the richest people in the world, he is a good person to tell us about financial prudence. It also so happens that he isn’t the son of a woodcutter. He is the son of a lawyer and a banker. And there’s a lot to learn from him, from his achievements and his life, all it takes is reading and researching, not spreading falsehoods.

images

Similarly, this meme somehow portrays that Gates achieved success despite being a drop out. Now, this is not just misleading but also dangerous for young impressionable minds. Yes Gates did drop out, but he did so because he was amazing at what he did. He didn’t drop out because he didn’t want to learn, he dropped out because he had reached the limit of learning that Harvard could offer in his field at that point in time. And he had a plan, he had financing, he knew what he was going to do, he didn’t drop out and then achieve success, he was successful enough already to take that step.

Our point is a little more universal than these two specific memes, what we are trying to say is that there are enough random, ‘inspiring’ anecdotes and quotes out there but it helps to go in depth, research and peel of the layers. Especially in the field of academics and education, there is a lot to learn and appreciate and maybe pandering to rhetoric isn’t the best idea for a student. Facts always triumph, facts are your biggest weapon, stick to the facts and nothing but the facts.

Bill Gates, billionaire, philanthropist, genius, business magnate – an inspiration not just for potential entrepreneurs and business students but for everyone. Let us not make him into a meme propagating falsehood.