Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better by Pema Chödrön
I heard about this book from a blog post. You know the ones, they list all the books that you need to read in order to achieve ‘X’.
From that blog post, it seemed like an interesting and useful read, so I added it into my reading list for 2018.
About the book
From the title, Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better, I assumed that this book would be teaching you all about the fear of failure and how to overcome it.
I suppose that it kind of does that … but this book wasn’t anything like I had expected it to be.
Although this book looks like a fair decent size (160 pages) it will not take you a long time to read. I managed to complete it in just one sitting.
Half of the pages have a swirly image on them, and the other half of the pages sometimes had no more than one sentence!
The book is definitely a page-turner – you spend more time turning pages than you do physically reading.
Reading the spoken word
The book is a product of repurposing content.
The first half of the book is the commencement speech that the author gave to the 2014 graduation class of Naropa University in Colorado, US.
The second half is a question and answer session with Tami Simon, who is the publisher of the podcast Sounds True, on the topic of Failure, Regret and Leaning into the Beautiful Mystery of Life.
Personally, I think that repurposing content into a book is a very clever thing to do and I have read many books that have come about through this method and I have rated them very highly. But in the case of this book, they have transcribed the commencement speech and the podcast interview but they have failed to edit it for a reader.
The transcription remains in speech format, and if you’ve ever had any of your spoken words transcribed, you’ll know that they do not work well in a written format.
The book should have been edited to take into consideration that the content is being digested in a different manner.
My overall thoughts and recommendation
I didn’t get much value from the commencement speech in the first half of the book. I got most of the value from the podcast interview in the second half.
But overall, I was disappointed due to the fact that the transcription is word-for-word and has not been edited for a reader. It becomes difficult to digest, hard to find key points and takeaways, and not very enjoyable to read.
Instead, I would recommend that you watch the commencement speech and listen to the podcast interview (if you can find them) rather than buying this book.
You’ll get the same information, but it will be delivered in the way it was intended to be delivered and therefore I think you’ll be able to get much more value from it.
Have you read this book?
If you had read this book, I’d love to know what you thought of it.
This review is my own personal opinion, so please use the Reader Rating bar above to give the book your own score out of 10, and don’t forget to leave me a comment below.