John J. Geoghegan - White Elephant Technology (Corte Madera Store)

John J. Geoghegan

White Elephant Technology
50 Crazy Inventions That Should Never Have Been Built, And What We Can Learn From Them

Corte Madera Store
Sat., June 8th, 2024 • 11:00am

This event is free to attend and will be hosted in-person at Book Passage's Corte Madera Store. Please contact with questions regarding events.

A humorous look back over 50 inventions that should never have been built!

The majority of commercial ventures might end in failure, but the world would be a poorer place without invention.

This is the story of 50 truly remarkable inventions, from personal helicopters to ‘swimming’ tanks; from flying aircraft carriers (that kept crashing) to a pedal-powered blimp you could barely steer; from an aerial rowing boat you couldn’t navigate to a portable nuclear weapon that killed the men who fired it… these inventions were not only misguided, but demonstrate their inventors’ remarkable gift for out-of-the-box thinking nobody ever asked for. Most importantly, every single one was built, field tested, and worked (more or less) as planned, even when their inventor died in the test phase.

Full of surprises, this is a fun and fast-paced journey through the world of WETech that will make you shake your head in wonder. What in the world were they thinking?


JOHN J. GEOGHEGAN is a journalist, author, and editor who specializes in reporting on White Elephant Technology. His articles have appeared in the New York Times Science section, WIRED, Popular Science, and the Smithsonian’s Air & Space magazine, and he has featured in a number of interviews and documentaries. He has previously written When Giants Ruled the Sky for The History Press, and Operation Storm: Japan’s Top Secret Submarines and Their Plan to Change the Course of WWII (Crown, 2013), both on WETech inventions. He lives in Novato, California.



John J. Geoghegan photo courtesy of the author


Book Passage Corte Madera
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
White Elephant Technology: 50 Crazy Inventions That Should Never Have Been Built, And What We Can Learn From Them By John J. Geoghegan, Eric Miles Cover Image
ISBN: 9781803990149
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title for More Details
Published: The History Press - April 16th, 2024