Seemingly Random Events, Insignificant Decisions and Accidental Discoveries That Changed History
Was the very existence of Christianity saved first by the appearance of a meteor and later by the alcohol-induced death of a distant leader?
What role did masturbation play in the development of Corn Flakes?
Did chance meetings change children’s literature forever and bring us The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band?
We give little thought as to how seemingly mundane events or accidental happenings in our daily lives may affect us or those around us, yet the significance of many largely forgettable moments can’t be understated. If we hadn’t returned to the house to grab a jacket, we might have driven directly in the path of the runaway semi; if our Great-Grandfather hadn’t gotten lost and entered that store to ask directions, he might never have met our Great-Grandmother, breaking our ancestral chain so that we may never have been born; if the coin had landed “heads” instead of “tails,” the direction of our life may have been inextricably altered. We don’t dwell on these moments because we don’t stop to consider their importance as we travel down life’s pathway and no one is around to chronicle them for us.
The same cannot be said for the famous and infamous, or just ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Their lives, or their moments in time, are caught under the microscope of historians and scholars, who record and analyze them for the benefit of contemporary and future generations. "Serendipity: Seemingly Random Events, Insignificant Decisions, Accidental Discoveries and Happenstance That Altered History" captures a diverse group of turning points throughout the ages that almost didn’t happen, that perhaps should never happened without the intervention of a healthy dose of chance. Each event is set in its historical context to better understand the significance and extraordinary nature of the accidental invention or lucky intervention of fate, and to contemplate what might have been had it never occurred.
Did millions of people die due to a chauffeur turning down the wrong street or the rejection of an art school applicant, and then were millions more saved due to a well-timed vacation?
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