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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
The Art of Failure: The Anti Self-Help Guide, by the award-winning Neel Burton, is an enlightening guide on the beauty and importance of failure. With all the self-help books in the world, one would think there would be no such word as "failure." But we are human, so we fail. Burton shows how failure makes us human, and if we allow it to, failure can teach us many lessons about ourselves, the world, and each other. Most people want success. But this book is the opposite of achieving the highest goal, income, or success. It's about taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and just thinking a little differently about who you are and how you define success. This is number 6 in the author's philosophical series. Keep reading if you are open to new ways of viewing life, reframing success, and finding happiness.
I like how Burton opens his book with the term "ataraxia" and a powerful anecdote about a suicidal jump from a London rooftop. This sets the stage for his philosophy and ideas to unfold. It's full of common sense, warm realism, and the kind of wisdom you wish you could have taken in when you were younger. He writes about failure in a way that allows you to acknowledge your mistakes, shortcomings, and lack of "success" (at least how the world defines it). I love the psychology of this book and how easy it is to grasp the concepts. Burton writes from a place of authority and experience, and you feel as if you have finally found the compassionate, tailor-made advice you've been looking for. One of my favorite parts is when he talks about people who can't enjoy any present moment because they're too caught up in completing their future to-do lists. His discussions on freedom, responsibility, and causal determinism are intriguing. These ideas will be new to some, old school to others, but it's important to be reminded of simple truths. If you want a way to re-examine your life and goals and perhaps find deep happiness, The Art of Failure by Neel Burton can help you get there.