The up Side of Down

The up Side of Down

Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success

Book - 2014
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"For readers of Drive, Outliers, and Daring Greatly, a counterintuitive, paradigm-shifting new take on what makes people and companies succeed Most new products fail. So do most small businesses. And most of us, if we are honest, have experienced a major setback in our personal or professional lives. So what determines who will bounce back and follow up with a home run? If you want to succeed in business and in life, Megan McArdle argues in this hugely thought-provoking book, you have to learn how to harness the power of failure. McArdle has been one of our most popular business bloggers for more than a decade, covering the rise and fall of some the world's top companies and challenging us to think differently about how we live, learn, and work. Drawing on cutting-edge research in science, psychology, economics, and business, and taking insights from turnaround experts, emergency room doctors, venture capitalists, child psychologists, bankruptcy judges, and mountaineers, McArdle argues that America is unique in its willingness to let people and companies fail, but also in its determination to let them pick up after the fall. Failure is how people and businesses learn. So how do you reinvent yourself when you are down? Dynamic and punchy, McArdle teaches us how to recognize mistakes early to channel setbacks into future success. The Up Side of Down marks the emergence of an author with her thumb on the pulse whose book just might change the way you lead your life"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Viking,, 2014
ISBN: 9780670026142
Branch Call Number: 650.1 McArdle 2014
Characteristics: xiv, 299 pages ; 24 cm


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Jun 19, 2016

I only read a couple of chapters, as I was rather uninterested in the biographical and other random details she wrote about (I should have read the table of content before hand), but I thought her writing style was very easy and enjoyable to read and kept me turning pages despite my general lack of interest in the content. I wish the content and content of the book were of more interest to me. Again, I really enjoyed her writing style.

1 star for content
5 stars for style

ksoles Sep 02, 2014

Megan McArdle brags about her spectacular failures. Yes, brags. Using witty, engaging prose, she relates the bumpy road that symbolizes her professional life and laments the nearly impossible task of finding a stable job. But she emphasizes that her many mistakes later yielded important lessons and eventually led to "bigger and better" opportunities. "The Up Side of Down" thus reframes the reader's perception of failure, turning it from something to be feared into something to strive for.

Psychologists have found that, when people must complete tasks outside their comfort zones, they will often self-sabotage; a student who feels he/she will fail a test will go to the movies the night before in order to blame their failure on lack of studying, rather than a lack of intelligence. Furthermore, children praised as “very smart” will only choose easy tasks whereas those praised as hard workers will choose more challenging ones.

McArdle laments the generation of “Trophy Kids," those taught that winners and losers don't exist; everyone gets a gold star by simply showing up. While this school of thought might stroke a child’s ego, it does not prepare him/her to navigate the harsh realities of the real world. This practice has also manifested into grade inflation and the appointment of “30–40 valedictorians at a single school” because “no one wants to make a distinction among the kids.” When these coddled children become adults, they cannot take initiative or anticipate needs, requiring specifically structured tasks and require constant encouragement.

After a very informative focus on failures of the individual, McArdle turns to governmental and corporate failures, such as the epic bomb, New Coke, the bailout of General Motors and welfare reform. The addition of the author’s own struggles, including a two-year stint of unemployment, helps to further humanize her points.

From an army of one to a large corporation, "The Up Side of Down" certainly proves that "Failing Well is the Key to Success."

Sep 02, 2014

For the record, I did not request this book from the library and knew anything about the author, Megan McArdle, before reading it. I found it on the Library’s “must read; staff recommended” shelves when I was looking for something to read. As someone who has endured a couple years of unemployment and underemployment, and who is treated for and gone to counseling for depression, the title jumped out as something I could find valuable.

I am so happy I read this! I was absolutely floored, time-and-again, by Ms McArdle’s message. It is a no-holds-barred, cut through the b.s. look at what’s behind trends and statistics; it unmasks how important such beliefs as hard work, destiny, and how predictable events will be actually are – how “in control” we believe we are and how much control we have over our destiny. It is a book I recommend anyone and everyone read. Why? Because it’s about life lessons, not unlike the talk a mother or father gives their children as they prepare for adulthood, marriage, or a major life-change.

The writing is simple and easy to follow, yet tight and focused. It’s down-to-earth. The examples of life-events are stories we can all relate to. Not even Ms McArdle herself is immune. At times she uses her own story to highlight how we can all be victims of random events, and how “bad luck,” if you will, took a hard toll on her own well-being.

What I’ve written is only what appealed to me most in this book. There’s a lot about the ups and downs of the United States’ and Europe’s economies and the safety nets provided when things get bad in the job market. I’m sure there are other things I haven’t mentioned that will appeal to different audiences. Going back to my opening statements, I suppose why I liked this book so much is because it highlights how level the playing field is for everyone. We can all succumb to negative events. But it also provides hope that we are all capable of coming back from the abyss. What’s not to like about that? It’s incredible for a book of reasonable length to pull this off, and I doff my cap to the author for doing it so well.

Mar 26, 2014

Was dissappointed when I finished it. Not because it was not a good book, but simply because I wanted more but alas it was complete. This author will go on my 'read again' list. It always take courage to not only write about something but to then include personal examples of where failure led to getting things done.....


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