Do you remember who was the first person to leave the Beatles?

Do you care?

The answer is almost certainly no to both questions.

But John Lennon cared very much.

He cared so much that, long after it was all over, he gave interviews to make sure the world knew his version.

In May 1969, The Beatles had reached the end of the road.

It was just a matter of time, how and when it all ended.

One day Lennon said he’d had enough and he was leaving.

But Paul McCartney and the others persuaded him to keep quiet until they sorted all the business affairs out.

So Lennon agreed to wait to make the announcement.

Then, without telling the others, Paul McCartney announced he was leaving The Beatles.

This was Lennon’s interview with Rolling Stone magazine:

 “I wanted to do it and I should have done it, I was a fool not to do it, not to do what Paul did.”

But the resentment was deeper with Lennon than that.

The Beatles had originally been John Lennon’s band, and in his heart its fate depended on him.

“I started the band I should be the one to disband it. It’s as simple as that” he said.

Lennon, it seemed, was upset that it was McCartney who had been seen as leaving him, and not the other way around.

So for Lennon it was vital everyone knew it was him who wanted to leave first, not McCartney.

But actually, all anyone knows is The Beatles broke up.

Who cares who was the first to leave?

But that’s not the way humans are made.

To the people involved it’s really important who did it first.

Who was seen as dumping whom.

Being fired feels like that for Brits, but it’s different for Americans.

To Brits it’s a rejection, to Americans it’s proof you’re a maverick.

Take Lee Iacocca, he was President of Ford Motors.

He was the man responsible for the Ford Mustang.

Under him, Ford was making $2 billion profit a year, but he was having lots of arguments with the owner, Henry Ford II.

So, in 1978, Henry Ford II fired him.

Lee Iacocca got another job straight away.

He took over as President of Chrysler Motors, despite them being near bankruptcy.

Iacocca persuaded the government to give Chrysler a bail-out loan.

He immediately introduced a car that sold 300,000 units in the first year alone.

He turned Chrysler into a huge success and paid the government loan back seven years early.

Every time Lee Iacocca gives a speech, he loves to refer to the fact that Henry Ford II fired him.

He’s proud of it because it makes Henry Ford II look like a man who couldn’t recognise, or handle, entrepreneurial talent.

Which is why Lee Iacocca loves to mention it.

Being fired makes him look good and Henry Ford II look bad.

It’s worth remembering that when we’ve been fired.

As most good people have at some time.

We think everyone is watching our every move under a microscope, but they’re not.


All anyone remembers is the answer.

No one is interested in the working-out in the margin.