13 People Share Their Opinions About the Single Worst Decision Ever Made in History By One Person

elephants behind a wire fenceShamli071 via Wikipedia Commons

Looking back, it’s often easy to see mistakes that other people made and ways that they could have been fixed or prevented. Sometimes we can’t help but wonder why people made such poor decisions, but they didn’t know what we know now. We can’t always predict the consequences of our actions correctly.

Reddit user Benemir asked, “Which is the worst single decision in history ever made by a person?” Many Reddit users were ready with very good answers. Many of the answers point out epic mistakes made by leaders from the past, and some point out big blunders by inventors and companies. If only we had a time machine and could go back and fix these mistakes, the world would be a different place.

Read on to discover 13 opinions about the worst decisions ever made by one person. See if you agree.

  1. Mao Zedong

    Reddit user s_sekowski wrote:

    Mao ZedongPest capaign: He basically told his nation to take pots and pans to kill all the sparrows. However, the ecosystem was disturbed and the locust population skyrocketed. Seeds: he thought that planting seeds 1 meter in the ground would result in greater roots and better harvest. He also thought that putting tons of seeds in one compact area would cause a better harvest. All the seeds died however. Around 30 million or so died from Famine under his rule.

  2. Scotland

    jtswtf added:

    The decision by the Scottish to invade England during Black Death must be up there.

  3. Allan Savory

    corylew shared:

    Allan Savory the ecologist who killed 40000 elephants because it was believed that grazing was causing the desertification of Africa, only to find out later that elephants were essential to prevent desertification.

  4. Hong Xiuquan

    Caesar321 answered:

    Hong Xiuquan declared the Taiping rebellion after he had a nervous breakdown from failing the imperial examinations. He proclaimed that he was the brother of Jesus Christ. 20-30 Million people died.

  5. Ronald Wayne

    ProGenji777 explained:

    Maybe not the *worst*, but maybe Ronald Wayne, he was a co-founder of apple along with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976. Just 12 days after forming the company, he sold his shares for $800. He owned 10% of the company, which would be worth ~$80,000,000,000 (80 billion) today.

  6. Xerox

    cheesyvoetjes wrote:

    Xerox invented the graphical interface modern computers use. Desktop, folders, copy/paste etc. They basically invented the modern computer in the 70’s. But the problem was, the people in charge at the time were businessman without any technical knowledge so they didn’t realise what they had. They did nothing with it and gave it away to universities and showed other companies. The famous story is that Steve Jobs saw this and within 5 minutes realised this was the way computers would work in the future. He copied it, because Xerox didn’t patent their invention and didn’t do anything with it and the rest is history.Xerox could have been Apple or Microsoft. Or both. They could have had a monopoly on the entire pc industry. Almost every company uses windows in their offices. I think 80 or 90% of consumers uses windows. That could have been Xerox. They had the tech maybe 10 years before anyone else. They could have been the most valuable company of all time but they just gave it away.

  7. Robert Ballard

    RedWestern shared:

    Robert Ballard, one of the guys who discovered Titanic, says that his biggest regret is that he and Jean-Lous Michel didn’t bring a piece of the Titanic up with him when he first discovered it in 1985. At the time, they didn’t want to disturb the wreck, and leave it pristine. But if they had done so, then they would’ve been able to claim legal ownership of the wreck under international maritime law, and therefore more control over it. Because they chose not to do that, everyone and their grandma is free to take artifacts and pieces of the wreck, and this makes preservation impossible.

  8. Radcliff Line

    earliestowl added:

    Radcliff Line – The process to divide India and Pakistan boundary in 1947 was done hastily and without major considerations to local populace religion. Radcliff was not a geography guy and majorly messed up the process. Millions died

  9. Either Inalchuq or Muhammad II

    Horacecrumplewart explained:

    Well, the decision of Inalchuq, the governor of the Khwarazmian city of Otrar, to attack Genghis Khan’s trade caravan was pretty bad. Khan was famous as a ruthless warlord, not the sort of guy you want to piss off.But maybe they could have got away with it. Genghis sent three ambassadors to negotiate a settlement. Which is when Muhammad II, the Shah of of Khwarzem, made the really bad decision to kill one of these ambasssdors and send the other two back without their beards as a sign of humiliation. Genghis Kahn was so enraged he assembled an army and destroyed the Khwarazmian Empire. Wiped out every town they had. He even re-routed a river to wipe out the village where the Shah was born, wiping it off the map. By 1120 there wasn’t much of anything left. So, both Inalchuq or Muhammad II of Khwarzem qualify. Take your pick.

  10. John Sylvan

    Gorctam answered:

    “Hey, let’s create a coffee machine that uses a single use plastic cup for every cup of coffee or tea. How bad can the trash from that really be?”I actually read that the creator of the K-Cup, John Sylvan, regrets inventing the pod system.

  11. The Trojans

    Mr_Boi_ wrote:

    “Alright gentlemen we’ve successfully fended off the Greeks for 10 years, our great city of Troy still stands. If we keep this up surely they will realize the siege is fruitless and return home before long.”“Yo captain there’s this big ass wooden horse outside” “Oh rad bring it in”

  12. Thomas Midgley Jr

    JamesCDiamond explained:

    Thomas Midgley Jr can lay claim to three:First, he discovered and helped popularise the use of lead in petrol/gasoline, causing unimaginable harm to the atmosphere and our brains. He contracted lead poisoning when working on the project, but apparently neglected to draw any conclusions from this. Second, he lead the team that discovered freon, the first chloroflourocarbon, and helped popularise the use of CFCs in refrigeration and industrial applications, causing further unimaginable harm to the atmosphere It’s suggested that he had a greater impact on the atmosphere than any other single person in history. As for the third, well, straight from Wikipedia: In 1940, at the age of 51, Midgley contracted poliomyelitis, which left him severely disabled. He devised an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys to lift himself out of bed. In 1944, he became entangled in the device and died of strangulation.

  13. Brutus

    Ipride362 answered:

    Brutus decided to join Cassius in murdering the dictatorial tyrant, Caesar. The reason? They suspected his intent to become a king.Which then started a chain of events leading to his adopted son Caesar becoming a military dictator without equal, having all the powers of a king without being called one. When this Caesar Augustus dies, his name and title is passed on for the next four hundred years almost like you would a crown. Monarchies then returned all over Europe, in the style of Augustus Caesar. And so, the decision of Brutus to join the conspiracy in effect changed all of Western civilization for the next 1900 years to adopt the very political style he wanted to avoid. It would not be until the 1770s when America and later France would begin revolting and experimenting with Democracies and Republics.