Good morning, John. I’m gonna be completely honest. Sometimes I feel like a huge, gigantic failure. (Good start, pal.) And we all feel like that and we’re all petrified of failure. (Not me, buddy.) But John, one thing that gets me through all of my failures and keeps me trying new projects, day in and day out, despite the fact that I probably will fail is knowing that there are other people who have made decisions that led to much bigger, much, much more significant failures (Like me.) than I will ever even have the opportunity to even get close to matching the level of those failures. Today, so that you and the rest of the world can know that your failures, no matter how big they seem to you, are actually insignificant, I am going to give you a list of the Top 7 most epic fails of history that aren’t in any specific order and that are actually just the ones that I think are the most interesting. Let’s start out in 1962, when a young four-man band walked in to Decca Studios for an audition. The Decca Studios manager concluded that the band had quote, “No future in show business.” A mere two years later, that band that we all know as the Beatles, sold 50 million dollars of records. Gigantic epic fail number 2 went a little bit like this. “Men, congratulations. We have been fighting a war with the Greeks for many, many years. They have all left, and behind, all that there is is this beautiful horse that they have made us to congratulate us for our victory over them. Let us bring it into the walls of our city and leave it unguarded overnight.” Aaaaaaaah. Epic fail number 3. Getting involved in a land war in Asia. It’s one of the classic blunders. More specifically, if you’re trying to take over all of Europe, just don’t, just leave Moscow out of it. Just let them be. Similarly, if you are a small, though very technologically sophisticated and interesting island nation, don’t send a bunch of bombers over to, um, bomb a country that you are not currently at war with. Especially if that country has just developed the bomb that can destroy entire cities. Sometimes it seems like these epic fails aren’t being made by one person but they are, they’re decisions being made by men. But on a more understandable scale, we have the 1960 performance of Wim Esajas. The first Olympian from the nation of Suriname, and his performance which will go down in history as the first Olympian from Suriname, was to sleep through his race. Moving further back in time, in 1876, Western Union owned the entire system of communication in America. In 1876, Gardener Green Hubbard approached Western Union with a patent for a device called the telephone. The CEO of Western Union went ahead and bypassed the agent of sale, wrote a letter directly to Alexander Graham Bell saying that Western Union had no need of this “electrical toy.” Alexander Graham Bell, instead of closing up shop, created his own telecommunications network which he named American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T). The telephone became the most valuable patent in history. So tell me in the comments, despite the fact that none of your failures have ever led to the deaths of millions of people or to the loss of billions of dollars, why are we so afraid of failure? (Because I am one.) And in lieu of that, what is it do you think that you’re afraid of? (MYSELF, OKAY?!) John, I’ll see you on Monday. (Stay away from me.)

Comments 100

  • Did you intend for the description of this video to be "a totally failure"?

  • I'm not afraid of failure. I'm afraid of running out of time to keep failing.

  • Hannibal crossing to Spain, then the Alps WITH WAR ELEPHANTS, and reaching Rome, only to plunder smaller villages while waiting for a Roman opponent.

    He did not win the Second Punic War. Goddamnit, Hannibal.

  • Top 7 fails of history. Trojan Horse. History? HISTORY!?

  • What about that guy that waged war against Poseidon and had his troops stab the ocean?

  • go to 0:30 and skip to 0:37 XD

  • Hey John, I can tell you 5 Epic failures that surpass all of yours! Let's start in Leichenstein, when it sent 80 army men into italy and came back with 81! Or how about the Mexican president who only lasted 30 minutes in office? president Taft getting stuck in a bathtub? How about the time Hannibal went on an icy mountain trail with his army and his advisor told him it was unsafe but he laughed it off and he knocked his staff into the wall, causing a mass avalanche and killing off TONS OF HIS ELEPHANTS AND ARMY. And lastly, remember the Greek army who waged war on Poseidon and the Emperor (or King, It was pre-democracy) literally sent them to stab at the sea? And how about a bonus for the Austrian army sending troops to fight the enemy and ending up KILLING 15,000 OF IT'S OWN TROOPS. BRO. HOW DO YOU MIX UP YOUR OWN SOLDIERS???

  • My personal favorite historical fail is of the guys who accidentally forgot to shut the front gates of Constantinople when they were prepping the city for defense against the Turks.

  • In the same vein as the first one you mentioned, the editor who refused JK Rowling's Harry Potter and several years later went on to refuse Robert Galbraith's first manuscript. That is the most epic of epic fails of the history of book edition.

  • The Greek Trojan War was fiction. Fail.


  • Failure hurts. That's why I'm afraid of it.

  • Most epic fail in history? Even modern cannons of 1453 couldn't bring down the walls of Constantinople, the finally fell when, drum roll please* A greek merchant left the doors open

  • Has anyone ever told Hank he sounds exactly like the Riddler?

  • What about in 1788 when the Austrian army attacked itself and lost hundreds of men

  • when napoleon and hitler both tried to invade russia XD

  • Before I watch I just want to say that 'invading Russia during winter' needs to be on here at least once.

  • The thing with the trojan horse didn't actually happen though.

  • I'm so afraid of failure because I trained myself to be that way. As the oldest child I hold myself to an impossible standard to be the perfect example for my siblings and the child my parents want and it's led to many a breakdown and some pretty strange quirks.

  • To quote John "Unless you are the Mongols"

  • what about the most expensive hyphen in history whee nasa left out one hyphen in the launch code for the mariner I which caused the whole thing to crash.

  • The reason that the trojans let the Trojan Horse into troy was because they had been told that it was a monument to Athena that would protect the Trojan city from attack(there are reasons why the trojans thought the greeks would build this but in small detail the greeks destroyed a similar monument to athena that protected troy before and this Horse would protect them from athena's wrath)

  • I want sausage pizza from Pizza Hut

  • Have you read all those books behind you, like cover to cover?

  • I've always said if you're trying to take over Russia, you will fail. Look through the last two/three hundred years and see how many people have tried to conquer Russia… And failed.

  • Lmao I've always been kinda self-satisfied by the fact that the Beatles became so successful after their original manager said they had no future… They probably dont care, but as a fangirl its amusing

  • Both of you are so inspiring! Thank you for your job! I watch VlogBrothers for inspitation and CrashCourse for information (also, it is funny in a good way sometimes). BTW, where do you get your energy from?

    Although our nations' relations are strained at the moment, it feels so great that good things are accessible globally, regardless of nationality, social and political status!

  • Can Troy be considered history?

  • Japan declaring war on the United States of America.

  • Princess bride reference! Yay!

  • "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…"

  • Hi, I'm the largest video store chain in America and a global icon in video rental. What's that you're selling? A streaming service called [squints] net-flix? Pffff what a bunch of baloney!

  • The Trojan horse was thought by the Trojan's to be a gift to Poseidon, from the Greeks, for safe passage home and as Poseidon was a patron of Troy they couldn't destroy it, least they incur Poseidon's wrath, and had to move it to his temple… inside the city.

  • Add tonight to that list. No matter what side you are on. Tonight was an American failure.

  • 2:07 Women are better

  • Has anyone mentioned that there's no evidence the trojan horse even existed?

  • Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – the most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" – but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line"!
    -The Princess Bride

  • Steve Harvey 👀

  • When you give the video thumbs up just for the princess Bride reference

  • I think we're afraid of failure because failing at something ultimately means losing time. if we mentally invest in an idea or concept and that fails then it means you've wasted your time and have to either fix your mistake somehow or find another idea to invest in.

  • So the thing with the Trojan horse- as a Latin student, I felt I needed to contribute this. So the Trojan horse is believed by many historians to be either a metaphor, or completely made up. The horse is the symbol of Neptune/ Poseidon, so it is believed that there may have been an earthquake that knocked down Troy's walls, allowing the Greeks to attack. As Neptune is the earth shaker, for story purposes, it may have been made into an actual wooden horse. Another theory is that the battering rams of the time often resembled horses, so the Greeks may have used a battering ram to break down the walls of Troy, then Virgil dramatized it into the story we know today. Anyways, just a fun tidbit for anyone looking through old vlogbrothers videos

  • hahahah, you guys haven't heard about the 'cau cau bridge'. Look it up

  • The princess bride reference…

  • Speaking of turning down the Beatles, JK Rowling was turned down several times before she was finally published.

  • MY fails have done ALL of those things he listed at the end…. I'm a psychopath by the way…

  • Wow nearly 7 years ago

  • I'm surprised the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts circa 1907 wasn't here.

  • Before I watch… 60 shades of grey better be on here (idc if it wasn't published yet)

  • I expected Hitler and the 'invading Russia during winter to be here!" OMG! Pinterest really is life!

  • i made a stupid grammar mistake just now and i feel so much better

  • Theres an ad?

  • I love these old videos. the lighting completely changes in three consecutive shots, and it makes me smile.

  • Who else noticed that will Grayson, will Grayson was in the background 😂

  • watch with subtitles they are hilarious

  • I would also say hitler sleeping through D-Day which meant that the Germans couldn't deploy their armored reserves to stop the invasion

  • Why wasn't Pearl Harbor on here?😂

  • Pay 10 000 btc for pizza?

  • Is this the same guy that does scishow?

  • My biggest failure was that I got a D on a quiz in 6th grade.

  • What about when the Vienna art school didn't accept Adolph Hitler?

  • WW1
    Donald Trump

  • whoever did the captioning for this video and felt the need to input their comments at the end of every sentence hank said… I hope you die.

  • the caption are Au

  • humiliation basically


  • Only men , lol I guess women can think lol

  • Check the captions, whoever wrote them has some serious issues.

  • Unless you're the Mongels!!!

  • Yes, don't invade Moscow… Unless you're the Mongols

  • About the Trojan horse thing: The Greeks actually didn't give the horse to the Trojans. It was more like a "Hey, this is our amazing offering to Athena because we want to get back to Greece safely and she's our patron! It's not like we would offer anything to Poseidon, god of the SEA or anything (actually, from their point of view, it made sense to offer the statue to Athena because she's the goddess of intelligent war), so you Trojans better not steal it or anything!" And then the Trojans decided that the statue was so magnificent that they had to steal it and make it their own offering to Athena. Fun fact.

  • That hair fail though XD
    And yes… Oddly enough, Always men…

  • John comments in the subs are epic… LoL 😂

  • I think publishers and illustrators turning down J.K. Rowling was an epic fail

  • Thanks Hank @vlogbrothers.

  • The closed captions are me

  • You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – the most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" – but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line"

  • The trojan horse didnt happen like that… they thought the greeks were leaving an offering to one of their gods, so they took it

  • I'm afraid of losing everything

  • And slightly less known never go up against a cecilian when death is on line

  • It isn't that much harder to invade Russia than any other country. Napoleon somewhat understandably messed up his invasion, but it's really not that hard to look up the whether in a country before you invade it. And then Hitler was just too dumb to think about Napoleon's epic fail, and the reasons for it. That's why you should make like the Mongols and do your research.

  • why I'm afraid of failing? well, if I fail my final exam (as a confectioner) on Thursday, I'll have to work for another seven months at my current work place – and my colleagues turned the last few months into my personal hell on earth. I really can't fail this exam and keep my mental health at the same time!

  • I think we're afraid of failure because we think that our actions are a reflection of who we are, and if what we do is wrong then that means there is something wrong with us. We want to be happy, and how can we be happy if we're so fundamentally flawed, is what some people might think.

  • I'm not frustrated my failure because of what other people will think, as people suggest, but because I know I can do better, and feel like I failed myself. I have high standards, because I know I have great talent and resources. I want to do my best.

  • A giant gummy lizard owned the entire system of communication in America (references anyone?).

  • We are afraid of failure for two reasons. First, we fear we are insufficient and undeserving, and to have this proved is to have the nazis as our idols, for we chose the destruction of society if we were wrong, we are poor judges of culture I reason. Second, we fear having to change our social image, even in its favor, because there are those who sat and sit where we wish to, who we fear will contend with us by using number one.

  • Was that a Princess Bride reference in there?


  • Turn on the captions.

    You're welcome.

  • "so tell me in the comments below even if your failures have never resulted in the deaths of millions if people…" THAT YOU KNOW OF! you don't know my life!

  • New candidate! Setting of Hawaii's nuke alarms in 2017!

  • In my opinion rejecting Harry Potter was one of the most biggest blunders

  • Fergie’s national anthem performance

  • You don't know how many deaths my failures caused.

  • Why are the loss of millions of lives and the loss of billions of dollars portrayed as equally detrimental to the human race at the end of your video? Considering money is just a human construct that only holds value due to governments and monetary systems. Whereas human life is something much more important and complex.

  • No hank. The Greeks dedicated the horse to Athena so they could ‘sail home safely’ and told the Trojans it wasn’t for them.

  • i dont like the moral behind this video, but boy was this a funny one

  • i love thé subtitles for this

  • Wasn’t the entire Vietnam War based on a mistake?

  • Subtitles are gold

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *