Book Review: ‘Fail Up’
Author: Tavis Smiley
Everything must be perfect.
At least that’s the way it seems. You have no margin for error in this economy, no second chances, no room for mistakes. If you want to keep your job, you get it right or you don’t get it at all.
No pressure, huh?
Being the fallible human that you are, though, mistakes and failures are inevitable at some point or other—so why not use them? Start by reading “Fail Up” by Tavis Smiley (c.2011, SmileyBooks, $19.95 / $23.95 Canada, 263 pages) and find out how going wrong can be so right.
As the oldest of 10 children growing up in Kokomo, Ind., Smiley was a big fan of Muhammad Ali.
Young Smiley particularly loved to listen to the fighter’s trash talk, figuring that if it worked for Ali it should work with fools in fifth grade. That it didn’t was Smiley’s first lesson in reaching for success.
But learning didn’t stop there. Throughout his life and his career, Smiley has embraced wise words and sound advice from people who were willing to teach. One of the lessons, he says, is to see disappointments, setbacks, and failure as opportunity. Seize mistakes, learn from them, and use them to fail up.
"Failure is an inevitable part of the human journey,” Smiley says. “Fail up is the trampoline needed when you’re down.”
But there are other things you can do to move ahead in life and business. Smiley shares the 20 lessons he’s learned in his 20 years of broadcasting, starting with his personal Ali lesson: practice humility instead of arrogance. Even Ali is a humble man.
When admonishing people—including children and employees—be sure to affirm, too, and give them their dignity. Offer a second chance to right the wrong and allow people an “out.”
Watch what you say, and remember that there is no “off the record” anymore. If you mess up, maintain your dignity. Keep a cool head. Do your homework, use your gifts, don’t gossip. Don’t try to jump in where you don’t fit in. Above all, use rejection as a “launching pad” for success.
At a time when the economy feels shaky, it’s easy to get pessimistic about the future. Fortunately, it’s just as easy to follow the advice you’ll find in this book.
Common sense is plentiful in “Fail Up.” There’s nothing in here that you didn’t learn at your Mama’s knee or in Business 101, no revelations, no earth-shattering new methods for achievement. You’ve heard this stuff before.
But the things you’ll read are fresh and relevant in author Tavis Smiley’s hands. He has a perspective that’s useful in today’s world, which makes this the kind of book you’ll want to tuck in your desk at work, the kind of thing you’ll underline, dog-ear, and return to again and again.
So if your confidence is shredded, a pink slip has you red-faced, or if you’re looking for a mentor (if only on paper), this is the book you need. For you and your future, “Fail Up” is just perfect.
Truthfully, the bad news came as no surprise.
Your Mom hadn’t been feeling well lately, and for weeks you’d heard your parents whispering. You knew she was having some tests done. Still, when they finally told you she had cancer, you couldn’t believe it. You cried for 20 minutes, ran out of the house, kicked the door, or just quietly went to your room to think.
Do you consider yourself a fighter? I’ve always considered myself one. For most of my life every time I got knocked down, I got right back up, stronger than ever. But now that I look back, I got up because God’s righteous right hand pulled me up.
The song always pops up when you least expect it.
There you are, minding your own business, you hear a few notes, and you’re pulled back to a wonderful-horrible time, starry dreams, laughter, bitterness, love lost. That old love song might be just a “precious melody,” but it almost brings you to your knees.
Six o’clock, right on the nose.
That’s when your family sat down for the evening meal when you were a kid, and nobody dared be late.
Back then, Dad sat on one end of the table, Mom on the other, and you ate what was put in front of you.
To Laila Ali, being an athlete means living like a role model, whether one wants to or not.
And, as the boxer and former athlete told CNN at the Tuesday premiere of the Jackie Robinson biopic “42,” she doesn’t have much sympathy for athletes who think otherwise.
Ali said that she hopes the film, which shows Robinson breaking Major League baseball’s color barrier, will remind moviegoers of that.