What if we could paint over our mistakes?

Liquid PaperWhen electric typewriters became popular in the 1950s, the ribbons made it harder to erase typing errors—a problem noticed by Bette Nesmith Graham. Graham worked two jobs: bank secretary (and heavy typist) by day, commercial artist at night. One night while doing artwork, she wondered, What if I could paint over my mistakes when typing, the way I do when painting? She filled a small bottle with a paint and water recipe and brought it to the office. Her “miracle mixture” made it easy to cover over typing errors, and soon Graham was supplying hundreds of other secretaries with her correction fluid. The year before she died in 1980, Graham sold Liquid Paper for close to $50 million, giving half of that to her son, the former Monkees band member Mike Nesmith—who used it to fund innovations of his own at the pioneering multimedia recording company, Pacific Arts.

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About the Author

Journalist and speaker Warren Berger realized that the majority of successful creatives and entrepreneurs he was interviewing over the years were great questioners. His wondering about “How can we all learn to do what they do?” led to this website and the writing of THE BOOK OF BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS (2018) and A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION (2014). Follow him on Twitter at @GlimmerGuy and subscribe to his blog posts.

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