The Library of Mistakes is moving

The Library of Mistakes closed to visitors from 1 December 2021 as we are now preparing for our move to storage. We will reopen in Spring 2022 in our a new and larger Library of Mistakes in Edinburgh’s New Town. We will have no access to the collection while it is in store, but the catalouge is still available to help you plan your next visit.

Re-opening the Library of Mistakes

We are delighted to announce that, in line with Scottish Government guidelines, the Library of Mistakes is reopening to members on Monday 26 April 2021. Please note that visits are strictly by appointment only and must be booked in advance. Unfortunately, due to social distancing requirements we are not able to accomodate groups at this time.

If you would like to join the library, or arrange a visit, please sign up through the Arrange a visit page.


December 2020 update

Sadly, under the Tier 4 restrictions, the Library of Mistakes is again closed to members. If you have any queries about the collections, please email the Librarian on

If you want to receive email updates about re-opening, please sign up through the Arrange a visit page.

Keeper’s Blog- Error Date March 23rd

My fellow errorists,

it is with great delight that I can now begin these blogs with the address “my fellow errorists”. The Library has now been open for three weeks and already we have almost one hundred registered readers. I am very aware that many of you live many miles, sometimes thousands of miles, away from the Library itself. We do hope that you can make it to Edinburgh one day but we also plan to improve our online offering to benefit all our readers.

At this stage we can offer our fully searchable catalogue online and this will grow steadily as the months and years continue. Readers looking for material to research specific subjects in economic and financial history will hopefully find the catalogue a useful tool to identify appropriate material. Our aim is to offer access to as much digitalized content as is possible within the limits of copyright and our budget. When we get to that stage this will further enhance the benefits of readership for those who will find it difficult to visit the Library in Edinburgh.

A library is a connection of books and not a collection of books. Our readers can play a key role in increasing the connections between our books and thus the value of the Library. Already we have tags on each book (such as psychology, United Kingdom, regulation) and these help direct readers to materials on these specific subject tags.

By adding keywords and then perhaps a review to each book the usefulness of the search function will further improve. If I add the keywords — subprime, 2008, 2009, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers — to the review panel for Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, a search for any of these words will direct readers to that excellent book. If we were able to add keywords for every book in our catalogue, the search function would direct readers to very subject-specific reading materials.
All our readers can contribute to this process by simply choosing books from our catalogue and e-mailing keywords or perhaps a review to the Keeper ( The Keeper will add your keywords and any review to the appropriate book and, by working together, our collection of books becomes a connection of books.

This week in the United Kingdom there has been a revolution in the savings system. For the first time in the modern age those with private pension pots will be free to choose their savings vehicle of choice in retirement, rather than be compelled to purchase an annuity.

This is a very welcome boost to personal responsibility in our society but clearly one not without some dangers. Most people are not financially literate and are thus prey to those who can sell them products with inappropriate risk/reward characteristics and, invariably, with too high a fee. This means that part and parcel of the savings revolution will have to be the provision of basic financial education to equip those retiring to make informed choices. The British government recognizes this need and part of the reform will be the provision of free financial advice for those retiring. The Library of Mistakes offers a high quality additional resource for those newly enfranchised savers seeking to understand the risk/reward characteristics of the investments which will be right for them. And who better than Einstein to explain the role of the Library of Mistakes in this new era:

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

At the Library of Mistakes we cannot promise readers that we have the right answers to questions which clearly involve forecasting future returns. However, we can promise that some time spent perusing the Library and some time spent reading financial history will significantly help you to ask the right questions about the future of financial returns.

So, it’s your responsibility now and what better place to start exercising that responsibility than at the Library of Mistakes. Come along and join us in helping to change the world “one mistake at a time”.

Why Should You Visit The Library of Mistakes?

Comprehensive Collection

A comprehensive collection of books and other materials related to business and finance and our failure to learn the lessons of the past.

Relaxed Setting

We welcome everyone – financial scholars, researchers, the retired, students and enthusiasts to our peaceful reading rooms.

Worldwide Coverage

Our collection addresses all the countries of the world.

Email facility

You can email scanned documents to yourself or a colleague within the limits of copyright law.

Classified Collection

We have split our collection to help you navigate the world’s business and financial history.

Opening Hours

Library open 0900-1700 Monday-Friday. We follow the same holidays as the London Stock Exchange.

Best Business and Finance Reference Library

Our new library is growing and aims to provide the world’s best finance and business reference library.

Online catalogue

Explore our collection online and verify we have the books you need before you come to visit.