Rudyard Kipling

There’s a glaring but very funny mistake in Amazon’s free digital edition of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. The first paragraph adds the word “tush” (instead of “tusk”) to the poem “Night song of the Jungle.” In the poem “tush” now becomes part of the “hour of pride and power.”

More than four years later, Google now finds over 2,500 sites quoting the “tush” version of Kipling’s poem, including several universities and even the Encyclopedia Britannica! A misguided human resources document even quoted the “tush” version of the poem – then added it “could very well be a guide in defining and understanding organizations.” Tush-friendly organizations are described by the HR document as places that include “unwritten codes and culture,” and adhering to them “determines one’s chances of survival…”

But the typo ultimately proves the value of “crowdsourcing,” since the free etext has recently become one of Amazon’s best-selling ebooks, which is what led to the discovery of the typo, in a kind of “spontaneous collaboration” which will help preserve a story that was written more than 100 years ago.