Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl
With a name like Thor, adventure on the high seas is sort of a given, isn't it? In 1947, Heyerdahl took a crew of six men on a 4,300-mile journey across the Pacific Ocean. But not on a cruise ship -- their vessel was a reproduction of a prehistoric balsa wood raft, and the only modern equipment they carried was a radio. Heyerdahl wrote the true story of his journey from Peru to Polynesia, but when he tried to get it published, he couldn't. One publisher asked him if anyone had drowned. When Heyerdahl said no, they rejected him on the grounds that the story wouldn't be very interesting. In 1953, after 20 rejections, Kon-Tiki finally found a publisher -- and an audience. The book is now available in 66 languages.