Famous People Who Failed At First. – I

Not everyone who’s on top today got there with success after success. More often than not, those who history best remembers were faced with numerous obstacles that forced them to work harder and show more determination than others. Next time you’re feeling down about your failures in college or in a career, keep these famous people in mind and remind yourself that sometimes failure is just the first step towards success.

Business Gurus

These businessmen and the companies they founded are today known around the world, but as these stories show, their beginnings weren’t always smooth.

Henry_Ford_400 Henry Ford: While Ford is today known for his innovative assembly line and American-made cars, he wasn’t an instant success. In fact, his early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.

R. H. Macy: Most people are familiar with this large department store chain, but Macy didn’t always have it easy. Macy started seven failed business before finally hitting big with his store in New York City.

Soichiro Honda: The billion-dollar business that is Honda began with a series of failures and fortunate turns of luck. Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation for a job after interviewing for a job as an engineer, leaving him jobless for quite some time. He started making scooters of his own at home, and spurred on by his neighbors, finally started his own business.

Akio Morita: You may not have heard of Morita but you’ve undoubtedly heard of his company, Sony. Sony’s first product was a rice cooker that unfortunately didn’t cook rice so much as burn it, selling less than 100 units. This first setback didn’t stop Morita and his partners as they pushed forward to create a multi-billion dollar company.

Bill GatesimagesCA5BGSVS Gates didn’t seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data. While this early idea didn’t work, Gates’ later work did, creating the global empire that is Microsoft.

Harland David Sanders: Perhaps better known as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.

Walt Disney: imagesCA11BT3K Today Disney rakes in billions from merchandise, movies and theme parks around the world, but Walt Disney himself had a bit of a rough start. He was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked.

Scientists and Thinkers

These people are often regarded as some of the greatest minds of our century, but they often had to face great obstacles, the ridicule of their peers and the animosity of society.

Albert Einstein:untitledMost of us take Einstein’s name as synonymous with genius, but he didn’t always show such promise. Einstein did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven, causing his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped, slow and anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. It might have taken him a bit longer, but most people would agree that he caught on pretty well in the end, winning the Nobel Prize and changing the face of modern physics.

Charles Darwin: In his early years, Darwin gave up on having a medical career and was often chastised by his father for being lazy and too dreamy. Darwin himself wrote, “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect.” Perhaps they judged too soon, as Darwin today is well-known for his scientific studies.

Isaac Newton: Newton was undoubtedly a genius when it came to math, but he had some failings early on. He never did particularly well in school and when put in charge of running the family farm, he failed miserably, so poorly in fact that an uncle took charge and sent him off to Cambridge where he finally blossomed into the scholar we know today.

Socrates: Despite leaving no written records behind, Socrates is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the Classical era. Because of his new ideas, in his own time he was called “an immoral corrupter of youth” and was sentenced to death. Socrates didn’t let this stop him and kept right on, teaching up until he was forced to poison himself.

These inventors changed the face of the modern world, but not without a few failed prototypes along the way.

Thomas Edison:imagesCALOPUOW In his early years, teachers told Edison he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Of course, all those unsuccessful attempts finally resulted in the design that worked.

Orville and Wilbur Wright: Wright brothers battled depression and family illness before starting the bicycle shop that would lead them to experimenting with flight. After numerous attempts at creating flying machines, several years of hard work, and tons of failed prototypes, the brothers finally created a plane that could get airborne and stay there.


Life of Jagadishchandra Bose, Great Scientist

The Parents

Jagadishchandra Bose was born on the 30th of November 1858 in Faridpur in Dacca District. Faridpur was a part of India until 1947; now it is in Bangla Desh. His mother Abala Bose was a tenderhearted and affectionate woman. His father Bhagawanchandra Bose was a man of excellent qualities.

Early Education

As long back as a hundred year ago, Bhagawanchandra Bose started schools in which children were taught in Bengali. Jagadishchandra also received his early education in this school. Jagadish mixed with the poor boys freely and played with them; so he gained first hand knowledge of the sufferings of poor people.

There was another interesting person in his early life. This was a servant who used to take Jagadishchandra to school every day. He had been a dacoit in the past. Bhagawanchandra Bose as a judge had sent him to prison. After some time the dacoit came out of prison. But how was he to live? Bhagawanchandra Bose was a very good-natured man. So he employed him as a servant. The dacoit used to tell little Jagadishchandra. events of his past life the robberies he had committed and his cruel deeds. His adventures made a lasting impression on the boy.

Young Bose was all curiosity. He wanted to know about everything that happened around him. What is, a glow-warm? Is it fire or spark? Why does the wind blow? Why does the water flow? He was always ready with a string of questions. His father would answer as many questions as he could. But he never tried to impress upon his son that he knew everything. If he could not answer a question, he would frankly tell his son so. Thus Jagadish chandra’s parents took great interest not only in his studies but also in everything that shaped his character.

In Calcutta

Jagadishchandra began a new chapter in his life at the age of nine. He had to leave his hometown. He went to the big city of Calcutta for further education. He was admitted to Saint Xavier School there.

While he was studying at Saint Xavier’s, Jagadishchandra was staying in a boarding house. He had no friends and was lonely here. But he was a born scientist. Even as a boy he had many hobbles which showed his scientific interest. He used to breed frogs and fishes in a pond nearby. He would pull out a germinating plant and observe its root system. He had also a number of pets like rabbits, squirrels and non-poisonous snakes. Even in Calcutta he continued these hobbies to get over his solitude. He grew flower-bearing plants and had animals and birds as pets. He did well in his studies and was in the forefront. The teachers liked him for his intelligence. Jagadishchandra passed the School Final Examination in the First Class.

He joined the B.A. class in the college. In those days, science subjects formed a part of this course. He was most interested in Biology (the science of life). But Father Lafont, a famous Professor of Physics, inspired in Bose a great interest in the science of Physics and Bose became his favourite student. Even so, Bose was always interested in any branch of science. Botany, the science of plants, still attracted him much.

In London

By nineteen, Jagadishchandra was a Bachelor of Arts. He wanted to go to England for higher studies. Finally, his good mother allowed him to go. She had saved some money. She also wanted to sell her jewels to meet the expenses of her son’s voyage. Bhagawan chandra Bose prevented her and he managed to find the money on his own.

At last Jagadish was on his way to England. The year was 1880. Twenty- two-year-old Jagadishchandra Bose stepped into the ship; he was stepping into a new phase of life which laid the foundations of a brilliant future.

In London he first studied medicine. But he repeatedly fell ill. So he had to discontinue the course. He then studied Natural Science in Christ Church College, Cambridge. It was necessary to learn Latin in order to study Natural Science; Jagadish had already learnt it. He passed the Tripos Examination with distinction. In addition to the Cambridge Tripos Examination, he passed the Bachelor of Science Examination of London University also.

The Young Scientist  His Own Smith, Too

Jagadishchandra Bose was back in India. He joined the staff of the Presidency College, Calcutta. There was a peculiar practice in that college. The Indian teachers in the college were paid one third of what the British teachers were paid! So Jagadishchandra Bose refused his salary but worked for three years. This did not continue for long. His deep knowledge zest for work and cultured behavior won over those in charge of the college. They saw to it that he was given the full salary of the post and not one-third.

Teaching the same lessons year in and year out was very tedious to Bose. His was an alert mind, always on the look out for new ideas. He wanted to do research, to widen his knowledge and discover new things.

A laboratory is necessary for research. Many scientific instruments are required. Jagadishchandra Bose had no laboratory and he did not have the instruments. But he was not disheartened. For eight or ten years he spent as little out of his salary as possible, lived a very strict life, saved money and bought a laboratory!

Generally Marconi’s name is associated with the invention of wireless. (This made possible the use of the radio.) Jagadish chandra Bose had also conducted independent research in the same field. Marconi was able to announce the result of his work and show how wireless telegraphy worked, earlier than Jagadishchandra Bose. So he is called ‘the father of the radio’. In the year 1896 Bose wrote a research article on electro-magnetic waves. This impressed the Royal Society of England (which is famous all over the world). He was honoured with the Degree of Doctor of Science.

Bose became famous in the world of science. In India and in other countries there was a strong belief that only Westerners could achieve anything worthwhile in science. Bose proved this wrong concept. He showed that there were geniuses elsewhere too. He visited England again, this time to explain his discoveries to the scientists of the West.

Bose needed scientific equipment. But the instruments he needed were not available. But this did not hamper his work. Early in his life he had learnt to make his equipment with his own hands. The scientific instruments he took to England were those he himself had made.


After he lectured at the Royal Society, scientific associations in many other countries invited Jagadishchandra Bose. He visited France, Germany, America and Japan besides England. He lectured at several places and explained his discoveries.

When electricity passes through a man, animal or plant, we say there is a ‘shock’. When it is passed through a living being the being gets excited, ‘irritated’. Bose developed an instrument that would show such a reaction of the organism on a graph. When electricity was passed through zinc, a non-living substance, a similar graph was obtained. So he came to the conclusion that living and non-living things were very similar in certain reactions.

In Paris he gave a lecture on this similarity between the living and the non-living world. Have you heard of ‘radar`? This is a very wonderful scientific device. Sailors on the sea use it; it is also used to get information about aeroplanes coming towards a place. So you see how useful it is during a war. If the aeroplanes of the enemy try to attack a city, the radar shows their movement. J.C. Bose worked out some details of very great importance; these are being used in the working of the radar. When Jagadish chandra Bose again visited England, Cambridge University honoured him as a Professor.

Generally, when a man invents something new he declares that nobody can make use of it without his permission. If anybody desires to, make use of it, he will have to pay him money, Why? Because the inventor has worked hard and he has used his time and brains for his invention. It is not right to make use of his work without paying him. An inventor can make lakhs of rupees by just one or two inventions. Bose had invented many instruments. They have since been used by many industries. When he was offered money for these he did not accept it. He was very generous and noble; he felt that knowledge was not any one’s personal property. He permitted any one the use of the fruits of his work.

 When an outside stimulus is applied to the muscles of a man or a non-living thing (says a mineral), they respond to it. Bose wondered whether this could happen in a plant also. To test this he brought a leaf, a carrot and a turnip from the garden. He applied the stimulus, i.e., and electricity. It was confirmed that plants also respond in a similar way. Jagadishchandra Bose explained this at a meeting of the Royal Society.


When anything new is discovered, there will always be people who question it. The results of Bose’s work, too, were not accepted by all. There were people who challenged them and even said that there was not much truth in them. Bose gave a lecture at the Linnean Society next year to a gathering of scientists. He explained with suitable experiments how plants respond to stimuli. Even those who had challenged him could not find fault with his experiments or conclusions.

There is an interesting story about a demonstration that Bose gave in England. On that day he wanted to show some new things that he had found out. He had come to the conclusion that plants can feel pain like animals; that when we pinch them they suffer; and that they die in a few minutes after they are poisoned. Bose wanted to show experiments to prove these conclusions. A number of scientists and other leading men and women had gathered to hear him. Bose started the experiments by injecting poison into a plant. The plant should have shown signs of death in a few minutes. On the contrary, nothing happened. The learned audience started laughing. Even at this adverse moment Bose showed admirable calmness. He thought quickly. The poison that he injected into the plant did not kill it. So, he supposed that it would not hurt him also. With full confidence he got ready to inject the poison into himself. At that instant a man got up and confessed that instead of poison he had put similar colored water. Now, Bose conducted the experiment again with real poison, whereupon the plant withered and died as expected.

Jagadishchandra Bose continued his work and made new discoveries. He found that plants shrink a little during the night. He found out why plants always grow towards light even if they have to bend. He also found out the reason why some plants grow straight and some do not. He explained that this was due to the ‘pulsation’ in plants. This pulsation quickens by heat and slows down by cold in plants.

Jagadishchandra Bose did remarkable work, – and scientists outside India had honoured him. Yet there were people who opposed him. As a result even the Royal Society delayed publishing his valuable work in its publications, But nothing could make him give up his work. He was sure that years of research had led him to the truth. So he did not feel that it was very necessary to depend on scientific journals only. He wrote books and published them on his own.

The Questioning Boy – The Great Scientist

Nature had always been a source of attraction right from his early age to Bose. There are flowers on plants; flowers give fruits; the leaves fall off; seeds germinate into new plants – we see all these around us.

But Bose was interested in these happenings, which to many people seem quite ordinary. He asked others questions; he asked himself, too: ‘How do these things happen?’ Not always could he satisfy his curiosity. But it was his way to try to find answers to any questions arising in his mind.

Scientist And Man Of Letters

Jagadishchandra Bose was famous as a scientist. He brought laurels to his motherland. But his interests were many-sided. He was especially interested in literature and fine arts. The great poet Rabindranath Tagore and Jagadish chandra Bose were very good friends. The first time Tagore visited Bose, he was not at home. Tagore left a bunch of champak flowers. This was the beginning of their friendship.

Tagore invited Bose to stay with him for some time. Bose agreed to do so on one condition. The condition was that Tagore should narrate a story to him every day. This is how a number of Tagore’s stories  came to be written. Have you read the story ‘The Cabuliwallah’? It is very fine story; it narrates how a deep and strange friendship grew up between a rough pathan and a tine Bengali girl. This has been translated into several languages and is well known in a number of countries. Tagore wrote this story when Bose was staying with him.

Jagadishchandra Bose died in November 1937. To the very end he was busy with research. Wealth and power never attracted Jagadishchandra Bose. He toiled for science like a saint, selflessly. This great scientist is a great example to all.


Story of C.V.Raman, First Indian Nobel prize Winner for Physics.

The genius who won the Nobel Prize for Physics, with simple equipment barely worth RS. 300. He was the first Asian scientist to win the Nobel Prize. He was a man of boundless curiosity and a lively sense of humor. His spirit of inquiry and devotion to science laid the foundations for scientific research in India. And he won honor as a scientist and affection as a teacher and a man.

One day in 1903, Professor Eliot of Presidency College, Madras, saw a little boy in his B.A. Class. Thinking that he might have strayed into the room, the Professor asked, “Are you a student of the B.A. class?”

“Yes Sir,” the boy answered.

“Your name?”

“C.V. Raman.”

This little incident made the fourteen- year- old boy well known in the college. The youngster was later to become a world famous scientist.


Child Genius

Raman grew up in an atmosphere of music, Sanskrit literature and Science. He stood first in every class and was. Talked about as a child genius. He joined the B.A. class of the Presidency College. In the year 1905, he was the only boy who passed in the first class. He won a gold medal, too.

He joined the M.A. class in the same college and chose Physics (study of matter and energy) as the main subject of study. Love of science, enthusiasm for work and the curiosity to learn new things were natural to Raman. Nature had also given him the power of concentration and intelligence. He used to read more than what was taught in the class. When doubts arose he would set down questions like ‘How?’ ‘Why?’ and ‘Is this true?’ in the Margin in the textbooks.

The works of the German scientist Helmhotlz (1821 – 1891) and the English scientist Lord Raleigh (1842 – 1919) on acoustics (the study of sound) influenced Raman. He took immense interest in the study of sound. When he was eighteen years of age, one of his research papers was -published in the ‘Philosophical Magazine’ of England. Later another paper was published in the scientific journal ‘Nature’.


Officer – Scientist
Raman’s elder brother C.S. Ayyar was in the ‘Indian Audit and Accounts Service’ (I.A.A.S.). Raman also wanted to enter the same department. So he sat for the competitive examination. The day before this examination, the results of the M.A. examination were published. He had passed in first class recording the highest marks in Madras University up to that time. He stood first in the I.A.A.S. examination also.

On May 6, 1907, Raman married Lokasundari Ammal.

At the age of nineteen, Raman held a high post in the government. He was appointed as the Assistant Accountant General in the Finance Department in Calcutta. And the same year something happened to give a new turn to his life.

One evening Raman was returning from his office in a tramcar. He saw the name plate of the ‘Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science’ at 210, Bow Bazaar Street. Immediately he got off the tram and went in. Dr. Amritlal Sircar was the Honarary Secretary of the Association. There were spacious rooms and old scientific instruments, which could be used for demonstration of experiments.

Raman asked whether he could conduct research there in his spare time. Sircar gladly agreed. Raman took up a house adjoining the Association. A door was provided between his house and the laboratory. During the daytime he would attend his office and carry out his duties. His mornings and nights were devoted to research. This gave him full satisfaction. So he continued his ceaseless activities in Calcutta.


From Accounts to Science

At that time Burma and India were under a single government. In 1909, Raman was transferred to. Rangoon, the capital of Burma. When Chandrasekhara Ayyar passed away in 1910, Raman came to Madras on six months’ leave.

After completing the last rites, Raman spent the rest of his leave period doing research in the Madras University laboratories.

The Science College of Calcutta University was started in 1915.
There a chair for Physics was established in memory of Taraknath Palit, a generous man. Raman was appointed Professor. He sacrificed the powerful post in the government, which brought a good salary.

Professor Raman

In 1917, at the age of 29, Raman became the Palit Professor. He continued research along with the new assignment.

Raman was very deeply interested in musical instruments such as the Veena, the Violin,the Mridangam and the Tabala. He began to work on them. Around 1918 he explained the complex vibrations of the strings of musical instruments. He later found out the characteristic tones emitted by the Mridangam, the Tabala etc.

Not a Minute to Waste

Absorbed in experiments, it was not unusual for him to forget food and sleep. Sometimes working late at night, he would sleep in the laboratory on one of the tables.

In the mornings too, most of his time was spent in the laboratory. He worked in informal clothes. At 9.30 a.m. he would rush home. After a shave and a bath he would dress up and send for a taxi. He would finish his breakfast in two or three minutes and get into the taxi. Racing over a distance of four miles, he would reach the class on time. He never wasted time.


In England

The Congress of the Universities of the British Empire met in 1921 in London. Raman went to England as the representative of Calcutta University. This was his first visit abroad.

Raman lectured in the ‘Physical Society’ of London. People came in large numbers to listen to him. He was introduced to J.J. Thomson and Ernest Rutherford, the famous English Physicists. Raman visited St. Paul’s Church in London. A whisper at one point of the church tower is heard clearly at another point. This effect, produced by the reflection of sound, aroused his curiosity.


The Blue of the Sea

Raman’s journey to England and back was by sea. In his leisure hours, he used to sit on the upper deck of the ship and enjoy the beauty of the vast sea. The deep blue color of the Mediterranean Sea interested the scientist in him. Was the blue due to the reflection of the blue sky? If so, how could it appear in the absence of light? Even when big waves rolled over the surface, the blue remained. As he thought over the problem, it flashed to him that the blue color might be caused by the scattering of the sun’s light by water molecules. He turned over this idea in his mind again and gains. Immediately after his return to Calcutta, he plunged into experiments. Within a month, he prepared a research paper and sent it to the Royal Society of London. Next year he published a lengthy article on the molecular scattering of light.

Raman Effect

Sometimes a rainbow appears and delights our eyes. We see in it shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The white ray of the sun includes all these colors. When a beam of sunlight is passed through a glass prism a patch of these *color- bands are seen. This is called the spectrum. The Spectro- meter is an apparatus used to study the spectrum. Spectral lines in it are characteristic of the light passing through the prism. A beam of light that causes a single spectral line is said to be monochromatic.

When a beam of monochromatic light passes through a transparent substance (a substance which allows light to pass through it), the beam is scattered. Raman spent a long time in the study of the scattered light.. On February 28, 1928, he observed two low intensity spectral line corresponding to the incident mono- chromatic light. Years of his labor had borne fruit. It was clear that though the incident light was monochromatic, the scattered light due to it, was not monochromatic.Thus Raman’s experiments discovered a phenomenon which was lying hidden in nature.

The 16th of March 1928 is a memorable day in the history of science. On that day a meeting was held under the joint auspices of the South Indian Science Association and the Science Club of Central College, Bangalore; Raman was the Chief Guest. He announced the new phenomenon discovered by him to the world. He also acknowledged with affection the assistance given by K.S. Krishnan and Venkateshwaran, who were his students.

World-Wide Interest in Raman Effect

Investigations making use of the Raman Effect began in many countries. During the first twelve years after its discovery, about 1800 research papers were published on various aspects of it and about 2500 chemical compounds were studied. Raman Effect was highly praised as one of the greatest discoveries of the third decade of this century.

After the ‘lasers’ (devices that produce intense beams of light, their name coming from the initial letters of ‘Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) came into use in the 1960’s, it became easier to get monochromatic light of very high intensity for experiments. This brought back scientific interest in Raman Effect, and the interest remains alive to this day


The World Honors Raman

Raman received many honors from all over the world for his achievement. In 1928 the Science Society of Rome awarded the Matteucci Medal. In 1929 the British Government knighted him; thereafter Professor Raman came to be known as Professor Sir C..V. Raman. The Royal Society of London awarded the Hughes Medal in 1930.Honorary doctorate degrees were awarded by the Universities of Freiburg (Germany), Glasgow(England), Paris (France), Bombay, Benaras, Dacca, Patna, Mysore and several others.


The Nobel Prize, Too

The highest award a scientist or a writer can get is the Nobel Prize. In 1930, the Swedish Academy of Sciences chose Raman to receive the Nobel Prize for Physics. No Indian and no Asian had received the Nobel Prize for Physics up to that time. At the ceremony for the award, Raman used alcohol to demonstrate the Raman Effect. Later in the evening alcoholic drinks were served at the dinner. But Raman did not touch them. He remained loyal to the Indian traditions.




Let us Inspire Minds to Change Lives

Dear Friends,

This blog consists of real life stories of people who have  achieved great success in life after a great struggle. My idea is to inspire youth of this country ‘to do something’.    I wish to make available inspiring stories of success of people at one place so that they can be accessed easily by youth.

 Let us get inspired from their deeds. We must inspire our minds so as to change this World.