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The Other "F" Word: How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to Work Hardcover – March 16, 2015
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From the Inside Flap
Everyone wants success. Organizations want greater innovation, stronger growth, and deeper employee engagement. If you're an executive, entrepreneur or team member, you know how hard that is to do. The good news is you're sitting on a largely untapped strategic resource that can help, but most organizations and managers prefer not to talk about it. It's failure, the "Other F Word"and it's one asset you and your colleagues create and pay for every day. You might as well put it to work.
How? In this provocative book, the authors share failure-savvy insights from exclusive interviews with leaders of large multinationals, small and mid-size businesses, and startup ventures. Danner and Coopersmith add their unique interdisciplinary background and perspectives as executives, entrepreneurs, board members, and advisors to global enterprises and growing companies. As professors at the University of California Berkeley and Princeton, they also contribute their original research and classroom experience with students and executives from around the world.
Their practical 7-stage Failure Value Cycle helps you avoid failure in the first place, recognize it earlier, deal with it better when it happens (which it will), and leverage it to drive stronger performance. Danner and Coopersmith can help you unlock the potential of failure by respecting its inevitability, taking it out of the realm of taboo, talking about it openly, learning from it, and applying its lessons.
Failure's like gravitya pervasive, powerful fact of life. You may want to defy it, but you can't deny it. And, like gravity itself, failure can be harnessed toachieve the success you want. Managed effectively, it can help you better serve the needs of your customers and investors, build stronger trust within your organization, and inspire greater creativity, commitment, and confidence across your organization.
Tap into the power of The Other "F" Word to reap the rewards of a more failure-positive approach to your organization's most important priorities. Put failure to work today!
From the Back Cover
Praise for The Other "F" Word
"Great innovators don't fear failure. They build on it. In this pragmatic guide, Danner and Coopersmith tell you how to think about failure in a positive wayand use it to create value."
WALTER ISAACSON, President, Aspen Institute, former Chairman/CEO, CNN, bestselling biographer
"Danner and Coopersmith show you how to change your relationship with failure. Start putting this book to work before you make another moveif you want to succeed."
GUY KAWASAKI, startup guru and business evangelist
"Whether you're a hardened CEO or a rising star, don't overlook failure. It might point the way to your next high-impact venture or where you ought to pivot. Danner and Coopersmith have translated their decades of experience with startup, mid-size, and global businesses into a practical and creative executive's guide."
LINDA ROTTENBERG, cofounder and CEO, Endeavor
"This book offers valuable perspective and an excellent guide to Silicon Valley's unique global advantage: acceptance and embrace of failure. It tells you 'everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask' about failureand success."
VIVEK WADHAWA, Stanford, Duke, and Singularity University
"Executives today need the no-nonsense, practical insights The Other "F" Word delivers on how you can leverage failure to inform and even inspire your organization. And since failure knows no boundaries, this book promises to be a vital resource for intelligent leaders everywhere."
TAMMY ERICKSON, London Business School fellow, award-winning author
"A lifetime in high-risk environments has taught me that failure can be an extraordinarily rich source of success. So take Danner and Coopersmith's spot-on advice: Don't just fail, learn. Don't just learn, grow. The Other "F" Word shows you how, with a great deal to offer even the most canny executives."
SCOTT DELMAN, Tony Award-winning producer, The Book of Mormon
"Being afraid to fail means you'll be afraid to try. Playing it safe gets you nowhere. That's why the Lean Startup embraces failure as a key resource. Whether entrepreneur or executive, you can use this essential book to harness failure to get the results you want."
STEVE BLANK, father of the Lean Startup movement
For more, visit www.TheOtherFWordBook.com
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Top Customer Reviews
-- Phyllis Bottome, English author (1884-1963)
When I read books like this, the first thing I do is to go to the table of contents. Not all the content applies to my situation or organization, so I like when I can reveiw the subject matter and read the chapters that I need. How many failures did Edision and others experience before realizing success? If they had given up early in the game, we would not have most of the products we have today. In our "rush to get rich and retire by 40" world, we may be missing some great opportunities. This book not only provides information; it also gives chances to apply new learning. The exercises will force you to think about what you just read and how you can apply it to your situation. I am an Management-HR student and I plan to use this book as a research tool for some of my courses.
Let’s start here:
You will fail. Probably fairly often.
Your team, your company or organization will fail. Probably fairly often.
And, you will probably fail to learn from your failure(s). Probably fairly often. (This, by the way, may be the real killer!)
So, what wasted opportunity – to fail to learn from your failures.
From the book:
Failure is one resource you and your organization create virtually every day. It’s the result of the mistakes you and your colleagues make, the unfortunate results of good faith by hard-working teams, the superiority of your competition or adversaries, or even the bad luck events that upset your organizations’ best-laid plans. …Failure is an everyday reality leaders and teams must address.
Now, if you have never failed at anything, large or small, you can probably skip this book. But, there’s a pretty good chance you have to work with others who are not quite as failure-proof as you. So, you need to understand others’ battles with failure in order to help them.
And, if you have ever failed (so far today; this week; this year; this decade), then this book will help you understand what happened, “respect” your failure, learn from it, and become just a little bit smarter about your failures.
I like it when authors include their own “this is what we are writing about; and here is our summary of the key elements” section. These authors do that. (They have taught this in class form at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business).
They include a pretty sharp “Seven-stage Failure Value Cycle Framework.” With masterful use of alliteration, they have seven stages all beginning with the letter “R.” Here are the first two:
#1 – Respect the power and likelihood of failure.
#2 – Rehearse for your most significant failure scenarios to develop better, faster reflexes. (great advice – R.M).
Since you have failed, and you will fail again, this is a book to buy and read to get ready for your next failure. You probably should get it and read it pretty quickly — you’ll probably have your next failure in about… 20 minutes, or 20 days, or so.
In addition to their extensive first hand experience (within the Preface, with humor and candor they share some of their failures under the section “Our Failure Bona Fides”), they have done an abundance of research on the subject. This research included reviewing many relevant studies and interviewing a long list of Who’s Who in business, high-tech, innovation, venture capital, and overall corporate leadership.
This is a serious business book earmarked for senior executives and entrepreneurs who do have some control over their respective corporate culture or less senior individuals such as MBA students who aspire one day to be senior executives.
The authors provide upfront effective tools on how to handle and learn from failure at the organizational level. In the first few pages of the book, they define and diagnose failure over 10 key points. One of those points fleshes out a detailed framework on how to explicitly learn from failure: “Failure Value Cycle.” And, this detailed framework represents the essence of the most pragmatic section of the book (Part III chapters 9-17).
Backtracking, Part I defines what failure is with many facts and trends across different industries and activities. Part II shares many real world examples on how numerous businesses have managed to learn from failures (not always well as you can imagine). The authors explore business performances in terms of learning from failure at three very different stages with very different failure implications: start-ups, young but established businesses, and mature and large organizations. Part IV is a concluding section that lifts the main points from the book on how to create a “failure-savvy organization.”
Back to the tools, the authors share one really useful one: a Report Card (page 185). By just asking five straightforward questions this Report Card nails down the corporate culture of a workplace. As you read those questions, you may feel like your workplace has much room for improvement regarding the learning from failure bit.
This book is rich in examples, insights, and applicable tools. Within this review, I have given the audience just a quick 10,000 feet-high perspective on what this book is about. As you land down to earth’s level, there is a lot more to it. The authors write in a very user-friendly and entertaining way. If you are interested in this subject, I venture that you will very much like this book.
If you have read and enjoyed books like Clayton Christensen “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, Peter Thiel “Zero to One,” or Shane Snow “Smart Cuts” you will most probably find this book equally interesting.