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Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure Hardcover – May 1, 2011


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Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure + Never Mind Success - Go For Greatness!: The Best Advice I've Ever Received + The Rich And The Rest Of Us: A Poverty Manifesto
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: SmileyBooks (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781401933906
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401933906
  • ASIN: 1401933904
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

From his celebrated conversations with world figures, to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders as a broadcaster, author, advocate, and philanthropist Tavis Smiley continues to be an outstanding voice for change. Currently, Smiley hosts the late-night television talk show, Tavis Smiley on PBS, The Tavis Smiley Show distributed by Public Radio International (PRI), and is the co-host of Smiley & West (PRI). He is the first American to simultaneously host signature talk shows on both public television and public radio. In addition to his radio and television work, Smiley has authored 14 books, including the book he edited, Covenant with Black America, which became the first nonfiction book by a Black-owned publisher to reach #1 on The New York Times bestseller list. He is also the presenter and creative force behind America I AM: The African American Imprint—an unprecedented traveling museum exhibition celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and to the world. In 2009, TIME magazine named him to their list of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People.” This year, 2011, marks his 20th year in broadcasting.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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In the midst of wrack and ruin, there is a ray of hope if you can fail up.
Amazon Customer
I love the life lessons, the rough road to success stories, and the poor but not broken spirit of TAVIS SMILEY.
Bebeglobe
I haven't finished the book yet, but I am enjoying what I have read so far.
Aneisa Young Bolton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Why would anyone want to read about another person's failings? Because "there is no success without failure."

Smiley speaks openly of his failings "very few achievers want to show off their warts by acknowledging mistakes," especially when they're shameful or embarrassing--and what could be more embarrassing than telling the world you went to jail because you bounced checks for pizza?--but this is exactly what Tavis Smiley does.

Lest you think he's bragging about his time spent locked up, you find instead that this was the fall that taught Smiley the value of money: where he learned not only diligence when it came to spending and saving but learning how to manage his finances. A lesson he learned so well that he was in a position to purchase the building in California where his media empire is located without getting a bank loan. Failing up from check kiting to financial independence.

Learning how to see perceived failures in a way that rebuilds you and helps you go back to the drawing board is an incredible gift.

In Fail Up not only did he print some really personal missteps he did it in a way that shows us how he took them and turned them around. Smiley mentions his well-known firing from BET. I remembered when he was let go, but I never knew the story behind it.

After reading this book, I located some pictures I'd thought I'd lost which had stayed lost for a long time and for a good reason. The pictures represented a time when a major failure seemed to consume my life. The pictures were the before, and I have been living the after. In those pictures, I could feel the embarrassment and humiliation that that time represented for me.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Str8updiddystyle on April 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book in total is witty and insightful and from the title I'll assume you got that. I have to tell you, Be Dignified Even When Justified resonates with me to my core. Growing up a slightly angry young man and with an insane sense of feeling I had to prove myself and demanding recognition, I was not always as tactful and 'dignified' as I should in corporate america. There was a moment I had to take the lesson from my grandfather and that lesson was no more underscored than reading this shared proverb from Mr. Smiley. When you let Mr. Larry King interview you on your PBS show, you said everyone would find themselves in this book and I can say for a moment I waived my hand and quipped "Yea, right." Like your haters, you proved me wrong. Keep the faith Mr. Smiley and keep pushing us through your example to live to our potential and not others expectations. Keep the Faith :-)
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Cross on April 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I admit it---I never liked this guy---and this book is, at times, frustrating to read, obtuse in its arguments and polemical in its discourse---it is also candid, insightful and thought provoking--in short, it is brilliant. Kudos to Mr. Smiley for having the courage to write something like this at a time full of posers and sycophants.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Troy Johnson on February 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Given Tavis Smiley's lofty status as the host of a hit, nationally-syndicated, TV talk show, one might not suspect that he'd suffered any setbacks over the course of his meteoric rise. But contrary to appearances, the accomplished broadcaster, entrepreneur, publisher, philanthropist and author has definitely taken his share of missteps on his way to the top. And now he's decided to mark his 20th anniversary in the business by writing a how-to, or should I say a how not-to book recounting 20 of the biggest blunders he's made in life.

In this warts-and-all memoir, Tavis owns up to a number of embarrassing doozies, ranging from getting arrested for writing bad checks to padding his timesheets at a job to graduating 15 years late from college because he flunked a course the second semester of his senior year.

Tavis has not only survived but flourished mightily. In fact, the brother proves himself here to be humble enough to air his most-humiliating faux pas so they might serve as cautionary tales for anyone contemplating following in his footsteps.

Read the full review and more book reviews from AALBC.com on your Kindle Edition
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Raychelle Writes on June 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Fail Up really drives the message home that failure is one of the most important parts of the journey to success. Being persistent, learning from your mistakes, being reflective, and staying true to yourself at any costs are all critical to making progress. Tavis shares poignant and honest anecdotes about his life that we can all relate to. There were times as I read this book that I cringed at some of his "teachable moments". But, I learned how valuable those moments can be if you work to redeem yourself. My elementary school principal told me that life is 10% of what you make it and 90% of how you take it. That quote taught me that perception and attitude map out every man's journey. And this quote is teaching me to never ever give up:

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." ~Samuel Beckett

Well done.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cocoagal on May 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written and inspiring. A refreshing "real talk" book about lessons learned and the full circle that is success to failure to success again! I luv my Kindle edition of the book and I admire Tavis for his honesty about his journey to humility.
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