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How to Fail Reviews

How to Fail by Elizabeth Day

How to Fail

Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong

Elizabeth Day

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Fourth Estate Ltd
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 18 Mar 2019
ISBN: 9780008327323

Inspired by her hugely popular podcast, How To Fail is Elizabeth Day's brilliantly funny, painfully honest and insightful celebration of things going wrong.

  • The Sunday TimesOur Choice - Paperback
3 stars out of 5
Katie Glass
31 Mar 2019

"an entertaining read that mixes confession with interview excerpts"

The theme of “failure” provides a nice thread, but it can also feel restrictive. There is a certain irony in asking successful people about defeat, which Day does acknowledge, but she never fully explores what happens when failures don’t work out. Conversely, the need to find “failures” means that even triumphs are sometimes seen in this light...

Still, I enjoyed Day’s book. Its premise, that we can grow through our failures, is inspiring. Certainly, it inspired me: while reading it, I felt brave enough to do things I’d nervously been putting off. Because when there is no such thing as failure, you really do have nothing to lose.


4 stars out of 5
6 Apr 2019

"true stories told with humility"

There are books that help people in very real ways and often these are not the literary beacons of excellence we exalt, but true stories told with humility. How to Fail is just that... The words raw, brave and honest come to mind. (This is a confessional tome, after all.) But what she’s owning up to here is not failure – not really – it is failure’s shameful alter ego, desire. That’s the raw, brave and honest part. It’s embarrassing to tell your reader that along with wanting to be a “kick-ass alpha female in the office”, you also “wanted to do all the domestic stuff” because you thought it made you into a perfect specimen of womanhood. It’s embarrassing to say you made yourself available for an ex who had broken it off just because you were desperate to convince yourself you were lovable enough. But Day does and I, for one, am glad.