Fail More

Fail More

Bill Wooditch

Fail More is technically well-written, though the majority of the credit goes to the author’s charismatic voice rather than the content. While the books sells itself on the claim that it’ll teach you how to utilize failure, all it really does is talk about other successful people, how they failed, and how that failure didn’t stop them. If you’re looking for a motivational speech in book format, Fail More is perfect. All pertinent and useful information can be found on pages 25-26, 81, 86, 92, 109-110, 132, and 170-171. 

Fail More is all about failure. It drives home the idea that failure is natural and the best thing you can do for yourself is to stop avoiding it. Failure will happen. You’ll be okay. The basis of the book is solid, but unless you’re specifically looking to read a string of analogies and allegories, it’s a bit of a slog. Wooditch’s talent as a public speaker comes through in his writing, and I’d say he very likely genuinely believes that opening yourself to failure is the answer. Unfortunately, the majority of his advice is surface-level, with no attention paid to how readers might realistically turn theory into practice. It’s inspiring, but not actionable.

Pages 25-26 focus on reframing failure. Wooditch says to think about the actual worst possible outcomes of a situation, then to develop action plans that address those worst-case scenarios. This way, when a fear comes to mind, you can take comfort in the fact that you’ve already thought it through and are prepared for the worst. 

This train of thought is continued on page 132, as Wooditch again asks you to think realistically about the worst-case scenario. He asks you to be real with yourself (i.e., can you accept the worst-case scenario?), be practical (i.e., is there a smaller risk you can take?), be objective (i.e., is the greater pain your failure will cause emotional or financial?), be prepared (i.e., do you have what it takes to pursue your goal now, and if not, what would it take to get there?), be aware (which of your current tactics are effective, and what can be improved upon), and be reflective (i.e., keep up-to-date notes on what works and what doesn’t). 

That train of thought loops back around to page 81, where Wooditch advises you to recognize that there are teachers in your midst, and it’s best to lay down your pride and request their help. Most people would be happy to share their knowledge, if only you’d ask. 

Page 86 outlines how to have a growth mindset. The steps are oversimplified, and he doesn’t go into how, exactly, you would go about changing your mindset so drastically, but it is a good outline. You (a) praise effort, not talent, (b) transform your abilities through consistent, applied efforts, (c) shift your mindset to interpret challenges as learning opportunities rather than potential threats, and (d) accept that failure isn’t a personal indictment of innate gifts. 

Page 92 goes into what Wooditch calls your “post-failure ABCs.” These are the steps to take after every failure, which help to reframe failure as something positive in the moment. “A” is adjust, adapt, and generate activity toward your goal. “B” is block out naysayers (i.e., both people who say you won’t succeed and the voice inside which says you can’t). “C” is having clarity and confidence (i.e., seeing with clarity what you want and having the confidence to get it. 

Pages 109-110 are all about focusing on incremental improvement. You should set clear, well-defined, actionable goals with clear, reachable sub-goals. It’s best to adjust your plan as you get closer to achieving your goal, and keep in mind that the perfect is the enemy of the good. Progress is progress, no matter how small.

Finally, pages 170-171 differentiate between the terms “important” and “urgent.” Important things have great significance or value and can have a profound impact on success, well-being, or survival. Urgent things require immediate attention. All important things are not urgent, and all urgent things are not important. By honing in on this distinction, you’ll be able to approach both general scheduling and the appearance of unexpected issues with greater clarity and control.

And now, as far as pertinent and useful information goes, you’ve read Fail More. If you liked this and found it useful, please share it on your socials and with your friends. You can sign up for my newsletter here. If you have any books you’d like to see on Too Busy for Books, you can contact me here. I’d love to hear your recommendations!

Thanks for reading,


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