When I first came across How to Fail by author and journalist Elizabeth Day, I was immediately enthralled to have found a book based on how it’s okay to celebrate failures, as they can ultimately lead to success and teach us more about ourselves.
Failosophy is a handbook comprised of anecdotes, failings and a descriptive of why we failure and why we should understand that failure does not make us – it’s what makes us human.
It is a quick read, or listen as I did via audiobook, read by Day herself.
FYI I’m going to say fail and failure a lot in the post. Not a failure on my part.
She defines failure, shares her own failures, as well as others who have featured on her podcast (which I love!). The audiobook features excerpts from the episodes with celebrities, which shows that failure connects and happens to us all.
Day feels empowered from what she has learned and proud of her resilience through the ups and downs, as most people should be.
I really enjoyed this, albeit it very similar to her podcast and memoir, but this was much more focused on failure.
Failure is what makes us, but it does not define us.
Nor does it see status (like a *cough* virus).
She notes that it is important for us to destigmatise failure, so this can then help failure lose its power to control you. Initially, we are trained to think that failure is humiliating. For instance, we can go viral on Twitter… for all the wrong reasons. But at least we can learn from that (you just have to deal with society’s judgements after).
Social media is just a pain in the arse – it’s great when it works, but a right pain when it doesn’t go the way you want it to. It encourages us to believe we are all celebrities in our own lives and only deserve success if we are ‘good enough’ – skinny, tanned, famous as defined by cultural expectations.
She doesn’t fetishize failure, nor does she encourage you chase failure – use it as a learning tool!
Day goes through each of her 7 principles of failure (I’ll let you read about that).
Failure does not have to be life defining, nor sufferable, but maybe painful.
Pain = Fact
But that’s where pain and suffering are different and what makes each of our experiences with failure unique.
You can’t plan for 5 years’ time – do you agree?
I agree. I don’t like people asking me this question, as I strongly stand by the notion of living in the presence instead of wishing my life away. It’s never too late to do something different, even if you fail at it, you tried.
You may fail at not having tried.
Rating – 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Genre – memoir, self-help