After years of studying accidents and disaster, I came to the conclusion that almost every one involving people required seven things to go wrong. The seventh was the actual disaster. But those six precursors, which I call Cascade Events, by themselves, would not have caused the disaster. And one of them was always human error.

Thus, they could have been prevented.

Stuff Doesn’t Just Happen 1: The Gift of Failure is free today to the 18th.

Always free are two shorts, The Donner Party and Mulholland and The St. Francis Dam Failure.

The first book covers the Titanic disaster where hitting the iceberg was one of a series of preventable events. The Tulip Bubble is applicable in modern times given our recent housing and tech bubbles. People still get drawn into the belief that the value of something can only keep increasing when reality says otherwise. Little Big Horn is a class example of a leadership failure; but that failure had its roots years before 1876.

Why does propane have an odor? The sad disaster of the New London Schoolhouse explains that, where other warning signs were overlooked. From the Kegworth Crash we learn to question experts. And it’s also the crash from which we learned what positions might help survivability in an actual crash as the plane hit just a quarter mile short of the runway.

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