Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong
by Elizabeth Day
In Failosophy: a handbook for when things go wrong, Elizabeth Day, author of How to Fail, and creator of the award-winning podcast, brings together all the lessons she has learned from her own life, from conversations with her podcast guests – including Malcolm Gladwell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Lemn Sissay, Nigel Slater, Emeli Sande, Meera Syal, Dame Kelly Holmes, Andrew Scott and many, many more – and from meeting readers and listeners who have shared their stories with her.
She has distilled all this precious material into seven key principles of failure:
1. Failure just is
2. You are not your worst thoughts.
3. Almost everyone feels they’ve failed at their 20s.
4. Break-ups are not a tragedy
5. Failure is data acquisition
6. There is no such thing as a future you
7. Being open about your vulnerabilities is the ultimate act of strength
Practical, inspirational and with carefully selected quotes from the podcast guests, who have insights into everything from failed exams, romantic break-ups and how to cope with severe anxiety, Failosophy is the essential guide for turning our failures into our successes, and the equivalent of having a chat with a good friend who wants to make you feel better.
“We’ve been told that success is to be known by others, when in truth the most meaningful success is to know ourselves.”
We’re all hard on ourselves and when we fail at something, it’s most often than not a negative experience. “Failosophy” is a guide to help you think otherwise, to look at failure and think about what we can learn from it, how we can move on and how we can use that failure to become more resilient.
Elizabeth Day has a podcast in which she asks her guests to think about three failures. I’ve not listened to the podcast myself so I really enjoyed hearing little snippets of it throughout this book, especially on audio when the actual recording is used. I found some of the accounts to be extremely moving and emotional, as well as being inspiring and uplifting. When I’m next looking for something to listen to, I will definitely consider Day’s podcast.
In general I found this self-narrated book to be very honest and realistic and it gave me something to think about. Life throws a lot at us and it’s not always something we can control, so we shouldn’t automatically feel bad when something doesn’t go as planned. It may sound deep, but in general this is a light-hearted read that you can listen to in a few hours. It helps you put things into perspective and there’s a lot of good advice too.
I’d definitely recommend this quick read and will be checking out Elizabeth Days’ memoir ‘How to Fail’ soon.
Overall rating: “Failosophy” is a short read but it’s packed with some really interesting accounts from guests on Elizabeth Day’s podcast. I like the idea that we can learn from failure and I felt myself agreeing with so much in this handbook. This is a 4 star read for me.