If You Should Fail
By Joe Moran
If You Should Fail is a non-fiction book that is certainly informative and interesting. Find out more in the blurb and then my review. I also thank Viking/Penguin UK for gifting the book in exchange of an honest review.
There is an honesty and a clarity in Joe Moran’s book If You Should Fail that normalises and softens the usual blows of life that enables us to accept and live with them rather than be diminished/wounded by them’ Julia Samuel, author of Grief Works and This Too Shall Pass
‘Full of wise insight and honesty. Moran manages to be funny, erudite and kindly: a rare – and compelling – combination. This is the essential antidote to a culture obsessed with success. Read it’ Madeleine Bunting
Failure is the small print in life’s terms and conditions.
Covering everything from examination dreams to fourth-placed Olympians, If You Should Fail is about how modern life, in a world of self-advertised success, makes us feel like failures, frauds and imposters. Widely acclaimed observer of daily life Joe Moran is here not to tell you that everything will be all right in the end, but to reassure you that failure is an occupational hazard of being human.
As Moran shows, even the supremely gifted Leonardo da Vinci could be seen as a failure. Most artists, writers, sports stars and business people face failure. We all will, and can learn how to live with it. To echo Virginia Woolf, beauty “is only got by the failure to get it . . . by facing what must be humiliation – the things one can’t do.”
Combining philosophy, psychology, history and literature, Moran’s ultimately upbeat reflections on being human, and his critique of how we live now, offers comfort, hope – and solace. For we need to see that not every failure can be made into a success – and that’s OK.
Life is measured on success and failure, sometimes a long, seemingly fixed perception that is wide-spread in society, and sometimes a more personal perception. Joe Moran talks about the culture of success and now people are told that if they fail to try and try again and how fails become success. He talks more of the reality of this theory in quite a philosophical way. He also uses case studies and quotes from people from many different walks of life to illustrate the points he makes as he tries to change people’s perceptions on failure within the arguments he presents. There are mentions of well-known psychologists like Freud, literary people like Virginia Woolf, olympians and more…
It’s an interesting, philosophical book with something quite realistic, that may have readers examine their own lives in terms of failures and successes and how they perceive them and how society perceives them. It doesn’t try and set unachievable expectations or goals.
I wasn’t as enthralled as I thought I might have been, even though it is at times, a deeply thought-provoking book, but don’t totally discount it as there are some interesting ideas and observations at how society is. There is a reality that most people at some point will relate to and may find useful. It is a book, perhaps best taking time to ponder over as you read and to reflect and think about what is being said in its well-researched weaving of historical and current time on the subject of failure and society.