Fail Better Design Mistakes Succeed

It’s books like this that give failure a bad name.

Failing about failure is not success. And Anjali Sastry and Kara Penn’s book “Design Smart Mistakes and Succeed Sooner” is a complete failure…but not in a good way.

As you can imagine, I have a pretty low bar for any book on failure. I embrace anything with a hint of insight into the subject. You can imagine my disappointment as I ploughed through pages upon pages of vapid, buzzword-laden, repetitive, tick-box dross. L

Their paint-by-numbers checklist at the back of each chapter is antithetical to very notion of embracing failure. And when you read their contrived templates, it is not a step-by-step guide of “how to fail successfully”, but rather “how to succeed by sprinkling some failure decoration on top”.

For example, in its chapter “Practical Fail-to-Succeed Lessons from a Frugal Innovator” is recounts the case study of BRAC, a development/aid organisation in Bangladesh. It is a touching story of a challenging part of the world facing major issues. The only problem is that the story wasn’t about “failure”. It was purely and simply a “success story.”

And that was the core problem with most of the book, much as it tried to dress itself up in the trapping of the embrace-failure hype, it is still a turn-the-crank, generic success-for-dummies how-to guide.