Fail Up:Tavis Smiley with a Lesson for the World

Let’s be honest, times are tough. Unemployment is up, the stock market is down. People are afraid. They feel like failures. All this negativity can be overwhelming. It may be cliche, but we must learn from our mistakes. That is what Tavis Smiley portrays in his book, “Fail Up.”

This book is quite remarkable. It is simple and to the point. It consists of twenty chapters, with each one containing one of Smiley’s own personal failures. He chronicles that he too has failed, and failed miserably. This is not one of those “look at me” sort of books where the author shows where he comes from and how great he is now. No, this book brings a simple but resonating message; Fail Up!

What is “Fail Up?” It is a concept, a mantra if you will. It is what we all should be telling ourselves when we make a mistake, when we “fail.” Failure is not an isolated incident; it’s part of the process. Throughout the book Smiley demonstrates that if not for his failures he would have never known success. For him to even show this side of him deserves recognition enough, but it is the lesson that is taken away that makes this book the best of 2011.

His chronicled failures are ones that everyone can relate to. He talks about getting fired, why not to gossip, and that cheaters never win. These are simple lessons that we learned as children but we as adults sometimes forget what we have learned.

A pretty neat aspect of this book is that at the end of every chapter you get “Tavis’s Takeaway.” These are little lessons that he learned from each experience. After the chapter about him getting fired he writes,

“Embrace the unknown! Sometimes the jump or the push is just the universe nudging you in the direction of your true destination.”

These little lessons are so powerful that they could stand on their own. Maybe a calendar is in the works?

But seriously, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. Buy it as a gift for yourself or a loved one. What we can learn is maybe things are not as bad as they seem to be. Someone is just trying to tell us something.

“Failing is a part of the process. No failure, no success.” Smiley.

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