Fifty Scams and Hoaxes is now available in e-book and paperback format.
The fickle finger of fate isn’t just an awesome alliteration, it’s a way of life. Or, more accurately, a mentality with which to approach life. There are things one can do to improve one’s lot, but there’s only so much one can do, the rest is up to fate. Such is very much the case with the 50 inventors in this book. They’ve tried to do more than improve their own lot, they’ve invented things ranging from minor like Velcro to major like nuclear fusion and yet never got the credit they deserved. And while, yes, the modern age finally granted (often posthumous) recognition to their genius, their names are still not as famous as they ought to be. This book tries to redress it in a way. Without a glimpse of schadenfreude at lives that frequently went off the rails in pretty tragic manner, the book presents 50 brief biographical chapters chronicling the lives of historically ignored and overlooked inventors and their inventions. Some of it is depressingly obvious, if these inventors were women, men of color or slaves, the odds were stacked impossibly against them. But there were also plenty of properly recognized within their rights (i.e. white male) citizens who struggled to get their inventions on the market whether through crappy timing, lack of business acumen, unfair competition or various combinations of thereof. Some of this is legitimately laugh out loud funny…just imagine the original inventor of inline skates rolling into a fancy parlor while playing violin…and having no idea how to slow his roll as it were. But mostly these are very sad stories about smart, often genius minds plowed over by the vagaries of life. Notably, the book isn’t nearly as bleak as it might have been, thanks to the light tone the author selected for his narration. Worked very well, actually. Managed to be informative and charming at the same time. The author presents himself as a sort of good natured good humored old fogey fascinated by a fascinating subject and excited to shed some much deserved light on the people responsible for so many of our life’s comforts and conveniences. This was exactly my kind of nonfiction, educational and entertaining. Relatively slim volume with tons of information, made for a quick, fun, edifying read. I’d be very interested to read more by the author based on this most auspicious introduction. Recommended.
A Classics graduate from Trinity College, Cambridge Martin Fone had a successful career in the insurance industry. He co-authored two books on public sector risk management which were adopted by the Institute of Risk Management as their standard text books.
Since retiring Martin has had the opportunity to develop his interests, mainly reading, writing and thinking or, as his wife puts it, locking himself away in his office for a few hours a day. In particular he has been blogging and writing in his tongue-in-cheek, irreverent style about the quirks, idiocies and idiosyncrasies of life, both modern and ancient. His latest books, Fifty Clever Bastards, Fifty Curious Questions, and Fifty Scams and Hoaxes reflect this change in direction.
In May 2018 Fifty Curious Questions was a Category Finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Award 2018 and has been serialised in Country Life magazine's social media platform. Fifty Scams and Hoaxes was a category finalist in the Independent Author Network Book of the Year award, 2019.
Martin is now a regular contributor to Country Life Online and is working on his fourth book, entitled The Fickle Finger, which is scheduled to be published in April 2020.