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Failure Is Much More Common than Success

In his book, Break Open the Sky, Steven Bauman writes:

Despite our near-phobic fear of failure, the facts suggest that it's actually a common, almost universal, experience:

  • 75 percent of venture-capital-backed start-ups fail, and 95 percent do not meet the initial expectations.
  • 40 percent of CEOs don't last eighteen months.
  • 70 to 90 percent of mergers and acquisitions fail to add shareholder value.
  • 81 percent of new hires don't work out.
  • 99 percent of new patents never earn a penny.
  • 95 percent of new products introduced in a given year fail.
  • 68 percent of information technology projects fail to meet their goals.
  • 88 percent of New Year's resolutions end in failure.
  • 100 percent of all human bodies fail.

It seems Alexander Pope was right when he said, "Errare humanum est," (to err is human).

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