In her debut book "Why I Failed," business journalist Shweta Punj interviews leaders from all walks of life - filmmakers, entrepreneurs, a fashion designer, an athlete - about how they handled a significant moment of failure in their lives. In this, Punj at first comes off as a latter-day and better-looking Freud, coaxing stories of sorrow from some of India's household names. Talking about failure, it soon becomes clear, is cathartic, and Punj's subjects warm to the theme. Take Abhinav Bindra, who won India's first individual Olympic gold in but failed to qualify for the London Olympics in He says that in he didn't have the "deep hunger" he'd had in

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There is enough literature celebrating and analyzing success. But not much that looks at one of the most neglected building blocks of success — failure. And the ability to deal with it. Every success story has many failure stories wrapped inside it. And more often what differentiates successful people from others is their ability to learn from the failures and move on.

We all know people around us who gave up after first or first few failures. This book Why I Failed, talks about the failures of successful people from various walks of life. And then goes on to bring out the reason for failure. And the learning from the same. Each person had a different reason for failure. Some had to face it because they did not fit into the perceptions of society like Sminu Jindal who chose to work in a heavy engineering domain while being a woman and a physically challenged person.

Or Kiran Mazumdar Shaw who had enough tales to narrate from her journey to setting up Biocon. There are those who failed because they made mistakes in either trusting people too much like Sunil Alagh. People like Shankar Sharma and Ajit Gulabchand failed because they could not work with the government. Probably because I did not know much of their stories. Other stories have been often written in the media may be in different formats.

I could almost imagine him on the campus acting as a hero. What you gather from these diverse stories is that failure can come in any shape and size just like success, and more often than not it comes when least expected. I liked what Kiran Mazumdar Shaw says — failure can be real or perceived and it is pity that many of us tend to take the perceived failures to be real and suffer. When Edison said, I did not fail times, but I learned about so many ways that do not work, that is the way successful people look at failure.

By making seemingly successful people talk about their failures, Shweta Punj gives you examples from your time and space, of people you know and the way they took failures in their stride and came out shining from those failures. Chapters follow a simple format of introducing the personality, followed by their failure story and then ending it with key reasons for failure and the advice for the readers.

Why I Failed is a simple, a small book to read. Read one chapter at a time or it may appear repetitive. I like the concept of this book, even though its the same theme wrapped under a different name! But I am all in for true stories of people who made it and often, people do hide their failures.

I have read long autobiographies where all that the author did in life was to go from one success to another! Failure is an essential ingredient of success. If someone succeeds too quickly or seems to succeed frequently, it means that failure will shortly come up!

Second, failure enables us to look at life in a more realistic way, instead of the bloated image that we generally have while we are successful!

True, but when we are dealing with the failure, not many of us recognize this as an integral part of the journey. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

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Book Review: Why I Failed, by Shweta Punj

About the author: Shweta Punj is a business journalist, a television host, and a social entrepreneur; and the associate editor at Business Today. My thoughts on the cover: I love the design, it is simple and understated but it shows, all you need to do when you are down is to turn your life upside down. The thumbs-down becomes a thumbs-up. It is all about perspective. I think that kind of set the tone for what I was to read.


Why I Failed by Shweta Punj – Book Review

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