A Club For Failures


We like winners. We care about who wins the gold medal, the Oscar, the Pulitzer Prize, but what about all the people who never win? Well, we just forget about them. That’s what prompted journalist Stephen Pile to create the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain in 1976. The organization was designed to celebrate all of those who shoot for the stars and land in the mud. To qualify for membership, you had to demonstrate your mediocrity or your “special incompetence.” At meetings, members would discuss and show off their inability to do things, and there was only one rule — absolutely no success! At the first meeting, Pile reportedly messed up big time by catching a falling soup tureen before it hit the floor. For this demonstration of ability, by his own bylaws, he had to step down from his role as club president. Over the next few years, Pile collected some of his favorite tales of failure and published them as The Book of Heroic Failures: The Handbook of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain. Unfortunately, Pile had included a Not Terribly Good Club membership form in the back pages. As the book’s popularity grew, so did the club, thus violating another of its bylaws. In the face of such embarrassing success, Pile had no choice but to disband the organization. You can still pick up his book for less than $1, but all you really need to do is keep failing and find someone to fail with you…….just don’t get too good at it.