An innovator who reached the pinnacle of success, automobile executive Soichiro Honda (1906-91) experienced failure and introspection as well.
A mechanic, race car driver, and self-taught engineer, Honda developed a piston ring and tried to sell it to Toyota. They turned him down and others laughed at his designs, but he refused to give up and kept working until Toyota finally bought his product in 1940.
After WWII, Japan's economy collapsed and gasoline shortages forced the Japanese to walk or use bicycles. In response, the determined trendsetter of over 100 patents attached a tiny engine to his bicycle. Voila: The Honda Motorcycle Company was born and evolved, building bigger and faster machines, producing cars in the 1950s.
Today Honda, one of the world's largest automobile companies, continues to lead the industry with innovative products, such as the award-winning Honda Insight gas-electric hybrid car.
"Although I made one mistake after another," Honda once confessed, "I never made the same mistake and I always tried my hardest and succeeded in improving my efforts."