Cover Image: If You Should Fail

If You Should Fail

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Member Reviews

Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin for the review copy of this book.

I really enjoyed reading it. Joe Moran takes a look at the concept of failure by using a range of modern day and historical examples, including from philosophy, literature, the arts, sport, and more. It's well-written, engaging, and gave plenty of food for thought.
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I quite enjoyed this book but at the end of the day, it didn't grip me (for a short book it took me almost two weeks to finish reading it) and felt a bit too fragmented. 

There were definitely some interesting parts, but all in all it lacked a certain something to tie it together.
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Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to review a digital ARC in exchange for an unbiased review..

Overall a very good read, and the chapter names were entertaining as well. “None of Us Is Proust”.  “Life Is Hell, But at Least There Are Prizes”. “The Examination Dream”.

It was a good look at why we feel like failures from time to time and how to make adjustment to our ways of thinking. In this day and age of many feeling the Imposter Syndrome, this is a very good read.
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Both a ramble through and a rant about the concept of whether we have the right to fail -and be okay with it. At times, exhausting to read (the section on the Chinese history and current state of exams makes me gasp for mental water) but at the same time - a salve.

Why can't I enjoy the work I've done regardless of whether it succeeds or fails? Do I need the endless upper climb of capitalism? Or can I dip into it as I see fit?

Will I reject a society that wants to turn me into an economic resource, and search for meaningful work instead?

Why must I march to a drum that actually - like a drum - just produces an empty useless sound? I only have one life.

The book's value to me is its raising awareness of our own cultural air, and how much of it you choose to breathe. As the saying goes "It wasn't the fish who realised he lived in water."

This fish is grateful for this book dropped into the water. Recommended.
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This is a great book that is really a reminder of the importance of resilience in our career management and endeavours we undertake. Too often people don't give something a go because they're worried about failure. This book is inspiring in its temptation to give it a go. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Fact: we’re not failures. I loved Joe Moran’s ‘If You Should Fail’ on first reading in hardback so am delighted to see it out now in paperback this week. Recommended 🤩👍
I can't recommend this book enough! 'If You Should Fail' by Joe Moran, Professor of English at Liverpool John Moores University. Subtitled 'A Book of Solace' he manages to cut through the mach culture of 'win at all costs' to show true value in wherever we find ourselves to be comfortable and satisfied.

Early on he sees "how flimsy is the carapace of competence that makes us feel like paid-up members of the human race" on seeing a young man sleeping rough in a doorway across from his university office. And how true are those words now on our current situation.

It's one of those books that for me has an underlined insight on nearly every page. His is the first place I have read how evolution "settles for the good enough" and "in an ecosystem, what matters is not individual success or failure but maintaining the delicate organic whole."

Moran reminds us that the notion of a career didn't develop until early 20th century;  as our identities came to rest heavily on the work we did "anyone who had not turned their life into a career trajectory was now in danger of being seen as less of a citizen, a partial person - a failure."

How grounding is it to read " Nature's gift is for survival. With our human talent for dissatisfaction, we forget what an accomplishment that is."
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