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How to Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide Paperback – November 9, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"How to Fail is reminiscent of a classic that raised eyebrows sixty years ago: J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye." --Len Edgerly, The Kindle Chronicles

"Goldfarb's satire turns the genre on its ear...warps it like a fun-house mirror, to hysterical effect. Piss-yourself funny." --The Philadelphia Lawyer, Happy Hour is for Amateurs

"This is like the Bible for screwing up, except a little more awesome. Would that make Aaron Goldfarb a prophet for failures? We'd like to think so." --Jason Diamond, editor, Jewcy

"I was so deep into How to Fail one night, that I missed my subway stop on the way home. It's THAT good." --Murphguide

"A sharp little satire." --Three Guys One Book

"[Makes you feel] like the author is your new best friend." --NY Press

About the Author

Aaron Goldfarb is the author of the satirical novel How to Fail:  The Self-Hurt Guide, the world's first self-hurt guide, the opposite of a self-help guide. He also has a short story collection about the sexes, sex, and sexiness in New York, The Cheat Sheet, and a collection of essays called Drunk Drinking.

Visit him at aarongoldfarb.com, chat with him at aaron@aarongoldfarb.com, or follow him on twitter.com/aarongoldfarb
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Chateau Publishing House (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982941102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982941102
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,935,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Goldfarb's book is one of the most pleasant surprises I've read in a while - I'm so glad a friend put it in my hands. I couldn't put it down! I read it in two days and then a week later decided to read it again.

The last "dude" book I was convinced to read was Tucker Max's "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell," which I admittedly enjoyed (though I might deny that in person). While this book does fall into the same category based on the narrator's playboy attitude and acerbic tone, "How To Fail" is funnier, sweeter and actually a bit insightful. Also, I loved that it was one narrative as opposed to a compilation of vignettes. The protaganist in "How to Fail" is a somewhat lovable/somewhat hatable character, but his story and experiences are relatable and shockingly honest.

For girls, if you like Chelsea Handler's kind of humor, you'll really dig this too. Guys, you either know this guy or you are this guy, and either way will find the story hilarious to read. Highly recommended. (That is, recommended for those who are comfortable with swearing and explicitly detailed romantic encounters - don't give it to your grandma.)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book for Christmas and I was like, "WTF?" It looked kind of stupid and childish, and, you know what? It was. But it was also hilarious. One of the funniest books I've ever read. I'd finished it before my vacation weekend was over. I've read and enjoyed other "fratire" books by Tucker Max, Aaron Karo, and Maddox, but "How to Fail" is my favorite so far. It had a sweet core that the other lacked. And it's smart too. So I'd recommend it to any one looking for a good, smart laugh that's a quick read too.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My wife reads about a hundred books a year. They're all basically the same book- vampires eating warewolves or witches
trying to find love or something like that. Even the covers look the same. Sometimes she even reads a book she's already read by accident. Maybe she's crazy. Or maybe the bulk of books out there are bland, unmemorable bowls of oatmeal. How to Fail is NOT a book you'll forget you read.

I was first introduced to the author through his blog (theviceblog.com) as I was searching for beer reviews. Most beer review sites consisted of a pretentious dude who tasted 20-30 different things in every beer. They were all the same- 'cept for The Vice Blog- it had a crazy way of mixing a beer review with some real life anecdote. It was original and I spent about three hours one night (after a few fine ales, natch) browsing the "Best Of" page. How to Fail is the same thing- Original. It has a feel to it like your buddy is telling you hilarious stories over beers at the local watering hole. But beyond the humor and cynicism is some really good observations about life and human nature. It actually gives you some things to think about.

If you want to read a book that's exactly like the last one you read maybe How to Fail isn't for you. But if you want something that's memorable and different, pick up a copy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
wavered between two and three stars for this book. I finished it, but was not sure after reading the ending, if I should have. Another book that I am very glad was a free download. Don't know if I would have wanted to pay for it. It had some very funny parts, but most of it jumped around too much. The sexual descriptions and language were quite vulgar. If you don't like crudeness, don't ready this book!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While shuffling through an Amazon listing of Kindle books "on sale", I was intrigued by the title of this little bit of fluff, and must say it was a fun read. By pointing out the horrible anti-social actions and attitudes he had post-college by way of demonstrating how to mess up every aspect of his life (all the while feeling he was "free-er" as a result of his irresponsible ways) the protagonist might, one hopes, make the reader think twice about his or her lack of a job/home/personal hygienic habits as a badge of honor. Sort of a reverse psychology, approach, I guess.

Again, as a bit of brain candy to read between heavier tomes, and for the price, it was worth it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are lots of books out there by authors who profess to be failures at something - life, love, work, commitment, you name it. Some are rueful, some wry, the funnier ones have an engaging self-deprecating air to them. But, most of those books are built around either or both of the following tendencies: a thirty something need to appear as lame as possible, or an inability to disguise the fact that the author is actually pretty darn impressed with himself. Where the need to portray oneself as an incompetent doofus comes from, I don't know. But it wears thin pretty quickly as entertainment, if it wears at all. As to the false modesty boys, well how much time do you spend with the ones you know like that in real life?

The beauty of this book is that the author isn't just working a doofus "bit", or playing at being a failure. He has looked long and hard at the world around him and he is not encouraged. And he has turned what he has seen into brutal, funny and telling commentary on his and our current state. There are terrific one-liners, throwaway observations, set pieces, and descriptions. This is very smart, accomplished stuff, not just frat boy humor or tales of drunken excess. And get this, beneath it all there is a bit of sweetness and fundamental decency that makes the acerbic commentary all the more telling. What a remarkably successful failure.
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