Taken from Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit, written and compiled by Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen.
1. After Fred Astaire's first screen test, a 1933 memo from the MGM testing director said: "Can't act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little." Astaire kept that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hills home.
2. An expert said of famous football coach Vince Lombardi: "He possesses minimal football knowledge. Lacks motivation."
3. Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, was advised by her family to find work as a servant or seamstress.
4. Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him hopeless as a composer.
5. The teacher of famous opera singer Enrico Caruso said Caruso had no voice at all and could not sing.
6. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper for lacking ideas. He also went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland.
7. Eighteen publishers turned down Richard Bach's 10,000 word story about a soaring seagull before Macmillan finally published it in 1970. By 1975, Jonathan Livingston Seagull had sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. alone."