Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better: Wise Advice for Leaning into the Unknown

Pema Chödrön. Sounds True (Ingram, dist.), $14.95 (152p) ISBN 978-1-62203-531-1
For Boulder, Colo.–based Naropa University’s 2014 commencement ceremony, Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart) told new graduates that “knowing how to fail well” is an essential—and neglected—life skill. Chödrön, an American Buddhist nun, popular author, and student of the late Chögyam Trungpa, urges her audience to hold the “rawness of vulnerability in [your] heart” rather than blaming self or others. This volume pairs a transcript of the very short speech, accompanied by abstract black and white drawings, with a more substantive interview with her publisher, in which Chödrön talks candidly about her personal experiences with failure and explores self-hatred, human goodness, and fear. She provides insightful suggestions for how to move forward into life despite crushing failure, how to turn regret into empathy and compassion, and how to cope gracefully with a failing body. This small book, an appropriate gift for recent graduates or anyone facing a challenging transition, also contains sustenance for loyal Chödrön fans, and introduces new readers to her gentle wisdom for living in a “world where there are a lot of things that aren’t fixable.” (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/06/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Compact Disc - 978-1-62203-545-8
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