A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 03, 2017
“If at first you don’t succeed, try two more times so your failure is statistically significant”

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is a popular American poem verse from the 1830s. The verse has many joke endings that replace “try, try again.”

“If at first you don’t succeed, try two more times so that your failure is statistically significant” is a jocular version that has been printed on many images. This “statistically significant” version has been cited in print since at least February 28, 2014, when it was first posted to Twitter.

American film comedian W. C. Fields (1880-1946) is attributed with this take on the saying: “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.” Other variations include “If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average,” “If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried,” “If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success,” “If at first you don’t succeed, try management,” “If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving isn’t for you,” “If at first you don’t succeed, try left field” (baseball adage), “If at first you don’t succeed, we have a lot in common” and “Cooking Rule: If at first you don’t succeed, order pizza.”


The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred. R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
2006
Pg. 578:
Thomas H.Palmer
U.S. author, 1782-1861
“‘Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try, try again;
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again.”

Quoted in The Village Reader (1840). The identical words, except with “try, try again,” appear in a poem titled “Perseverance; or, Try Again,” printed in Common School Assistant, Aug. 1838. No author is identified.

Twitter
Dallas Warren
‏@dr_dbw
“If at first you don’t succeed, try two more times so that your result is statistically significant” - Anon #Science #Quote
12:37 AM - 28 Feb 2014

Twitter
Matthew Case
‏@mcasestudio
If at first you don’t succeed, try two more times so that your failure is statistically significant—thanks @Jgeall09 - #MorningQuote
9:58 AM - 28 Feb 2014

Twitter
Saint Jimmy
‏@JimmyB_Goode
If at first you don’t succeed, try 2 more times so that your failure is statistically significant.
10:09 AM - 28 Feb 2014

Twitter
Sidus Haze
‏@queenofquell
“If at first you don’t succeed try at least 10,000 more times so that your failure is statistically significant.”
12:16 PM - 1 Mar 2014

Twitter
AsapSCIENCE
‏@AsapSCIENCE
If at first you don’t succeed, try two more times so that your failure is statistically significant.
11:02 AM - 9 Mar 2014

Independent (UK)
The Top Ten: Elegant variations
John Rentoul @JohnRentoul Saturday 12 July 2014
(...)
6. If at first you don’t succeed, try two more times so that your failure is statistically significant Sam Freedman.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Tuesday, January 03, 2017 • Permalink