How To Fail With Elizabeth Day

by howtofail

50m

average length

79

episodes

3

followers

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is a podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right. Every week, a new interviewee explores what their failures taught them about how to succeed better.

Best How To Fail With Elizabeth Day episodes upvoted by the community

Last updated on August 13, 2020, 7:03 am

#2

S8, Ep6 How to Fail: Glennon Doyle

July 08, 2020 • 66m

This week, I bring you the utterly sensational Glennon Doyle. She is the author of three books, the latest of which, Untamed, is a memoir that defies easy categorisation - somewhat like the woman herself. Untamed is thrilling, original and brave. In it, Glennon dismantles our socialised preconceptions of what women should be and challenges us all to look at the boxes we're trapped in that are not of our own making. She joins me to talk about all of this, and about why women are taught to 'look outward for permission, approval and consent' when we should be looking 'inward for wisdom' (I KNOW! THIS IS GENUINELY HOW SHE SPEAKS!) But, don't worry, there's also plenty of amazing stuff in here whatever gender you are. We also discuss her failure to have a thick skin (and how she protects herself from judgement), her failure to keep her family together (and what this taught her about love) and her failure to be fully comfortable with her own body image (despite years of trying). Every sentence she utters contains a revelation, which is why when the time came to edit this interview I just...couldn't. So I've let it run at full length, with no cuts, exactly how it happened. Enjoy. * I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.   * How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Glennon Doyle @glennondoyle How To Fail @howtofailpod                   

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#3

S1, Ep8 How to Fail: Elizabeth Day

August 29, 2018 • 68m

For the last episode of the first season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, our interviewee is…well…Elizabeth Day. Which means I’m currently writing shownotes about myself in the third person. Which is weird. Let me stop doing that. Over the course of the last eight weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to interview some truly wonderful, interesting, successful people, all of whom have opened up to me and made themselves vulnerable by discussing the place failure occupies in their lives. It seemed only fair to turn the tables on myself. In this episode, I’m truly honoured to have my brilliant friend Dolly Alderton interviewing me. Dolly is not only the author of the bestselling memoir, Everything I Know About Love, but she’s also a super-talented journalist and co-host of the iTunes-topping The High Low podcast. The way she interviewed me is really quite spectacular because she made it feel like a conversation, sharing her own excellent insights and humour along the way. As a result, I ended up being far more honest than I’d intended, opening up about everything from infertility and grief to intimacy and regret. I also talk about my conspicuous failure to be good at sport, despite lots of people assuming I must be good at things like tennis and running because I’m tall. I know, it makes no sense to me either. This is the final episode in this season, but How To Fail With Elizabeth Day will be BACK with a whole new selection of fantastic guests in October. In the meantime, if you’ve enjoyed listening, please do rate and review us on iTunes. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for listening, and see you  in October!     How To Fail is hosted by Elizabeth Day and produced by Chris Sharp   How To Fail is sponsored by Moorish   The Party by Elizabeth Day is published by 4th Estate     Social Media:   Elizabeth Day @elizabday Dolly Alderton @dollyalderton Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio Moorish @moorishhumous

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#4

S3, Ep4 How to Fail: Deborah Frances-White

January 23, 2019 • 47m

My guest this week is Deborah Frances-White: an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and quite possibly the defining feminist of our generation. You'll probably know her from her hit podcast, The Guilty Feminist, or from her book of the same name and if you don't then WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING, WHERE? Deborah joins me to talk about failure at improvisation, failure to be a biological mother and how to rebuild your life after leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses. Along the way, we discuss her adoption, the Syrian refugee who lives in her house and why learning to be joyful about miserable failure could actually be the key to long-term happiness. Deborah is such an impressive and clever woman and every time I hear her speak, I learn something unbelievably helpful and new. This occasion was no exception. My favourite bit is where we talk about dating as a data-gathering exercise. Enjoy!   How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books   The book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day is available to pre-order here.   The Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances-White is out now published by Virago.     Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Deborah Frances-White @deborahFW The Guilty Feminist @GuiltFemPod Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks          

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#5

S6, Ep4 How to Fail: Lisa Taddeo

October 16, 2019 • 48m

Lisa Taddeo is a phenomenon. Although she is too humble to recognise that description of herself. But this is a journalist and author who spent eight years - EIGHT YEARS - of her life travelling the United States and embedding herself in the lives of three 'ordinary' women in order to report back on that hitherto unexplored topic: female desire as it really is. Not as pornographic exploitation or rom-com fantasy viewed through the male gaze, but as women truly experience love and loss and expectation and sex and marriage and crushes and abuse and threesomes and motherhood and daughterhood and sisterhood and all the liminal spaces in between. The resulting work of narrative non-fiction, Three Women, caused a sensation on its publication earlier this year. It shot simultaneously to the top of the bestseller lists in both the UK and America. Elizabeth Gilbert called it 'the best book of the year'. Dave Eggers said it was 'scorchingly original'. When I read it, I was blown away: I had never experienced a book quite like it. It turned out I had been desperately thirsty for these female stories to be shared, and Three Women was like a long, cool glass of water. I'm so thrilled to welcome Lisa as a guest on How To Fail. Meeting her was like falling in platonic love. She speaks so openly about crippling anxiety, losing both her parents in her 20s, quitting university for a boy and professional rejection, that I'm pretty sure you won't be able to help falling in love with her too. Along the way, we also discuss female desire and repression, the practicalities of writing Three Women, and her relationship with the women she wrote about. Thank you Lisa, for your work, your empathy and your humanity.  

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#6

S4, Ep1 How to Fail: Vicky McClure

April 03, 2019 • 46m

We’re baaaaaack! And to celebrate our fourth season, please welcome the one, the only, VICKY MCCLURE. You’re in for a treat with this one. Vicky is not only one of my favourite actresses but also one of my favourite people, as genuine as she is talented, and a total delight to interview. She’s probably most famous for her role as police officer Kate Fleming in Line of Duty, which kicked off again in spectacular style on Sunday night (did you watch the first episode? Could you follow what was going on with the UCO in the OCG who needed to get out ASAP? And what about that twist, eh?). Before that, McClure was Lol in Shane Meadows’s film and Channel 4 spin-off series, This Is England, a sinister maternity leave cover in The Replacement, a campaigning parent in Mother’s Day and a tabloid reporter in Broadchurch. Oh, and she’s won a Bafta, obvs. McClure joins me to talk about failed auditions, failing to work hard enough at school, failed relationships, failure to be spontaneous and why she’s never going to be someone who posts her gym workouts (mainly because not going to the gym is one of her failures). Along the way, we discuss the pain of losing out on jobs (how dare you, Peaky Blinders) and how she fell in love with her fiance over the phone.   How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books   *IMPORTANT NEWS KLAXON* The book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is published TOMORROW and is available to pre-order here.   I’m doing a live How To Fail With Elizabeth Day event on 5th May at The Bridge Theatre in London with a very special guest (to be announced). There are still some tickets available here.     Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Vicky McClure @vicky.mcclure Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks      

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#7

S3; Ep3 How to Fail: Jonny Benjamin

January 16, 2019 • 44m

Ok, so full disclosure: I cried during this interview. You will quite possibly cry too. You will quite possibly need a box of tissues next to you as you listen. And you will quite possibly leave feeling enlightened and uplifted by the magical, gorgeous man that is Jonny Benjamin, MBE. Jonny is a mental health campaigner and someone with a truly extraordinary story to tell. In 2008, Jonny was 20 and standing on the edge of Waterloo Bridge about to jump. A passing stranger noticed his distress and stopped to talk to him. It was a momentary decision that saved Jonny’s life. We talk about his journey to track that stranger down and about what Jonny has learned about himself along the way. We also talk about Jonny's diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and his experiences of living with 'The Truman delusion' (so-called because the person believes that their lives are staged reality shows being filmed on camera). We talk about mental health in the workplace and being open about our fallibilities. I am so grateful that Jonny also chose to talk about Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the realities of living with that when you're just trying to get on with life (it makes dating a bit of a nightmare and a lot of people don't really understand what it means). Along the way we chat about Amy Winehouse, feeling left behind in your 20s, the importance of self-compassion and why love isn't ever conditional on whether you succeed or not. I hope you are moved as much as I was by this episode. Also if anyone has any single gay men wanting a set-up with an incredibly handsome, funny and sensitive individual then feel free to DM us - details below ;)   How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books   The Stranger on the Bridge by Jonny Benjamin is out now published by Pan Macmillan. Beyond Shame, Beyond Stigma is a new mental health charity for young people co-founded by Jonny. You can learn more about the WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) by visiting the Rethink website. If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this podcast, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit their website.    Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Jonny Benjamin @mrjonnybenjamin Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks       

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#8

S7, Ep1 How to Fail: Andrew Scott

January 01, 2020 • 61m

HAPPPPPY NEW YEAAARRRR! I hope you've woken up with a sense of rejuvenating freshness about the year ahead, but if you haven't - if you're hungover or feeling weird or sad or discombobulated or tired or like you haven't achieved enough - then fear not. You are simply caught up in this messy business of being human and that's fine. There is no need for a new year to mean a new you. The old you is great! The old you has stuff to say. And to remind you of this, I have the most wondrous of all special guests to help you usher in the first days of 2020. Andrew Scott, as well as being an utterly lovely person, is an astonishingly talented and versatile actor. Yeah, ok, you might just have heard of him from the little-known, moderately successful television show that is Fleabag, in which he played the Hot Priest and somehow made 'KNEEL' the sexiest word in the English language, but he's also been in Bond movies and Shakespeare plays and in some of the best television shows and films of the last decade. I'd list them all here but there wouldn't be enough room. He joins me to kick off a new decade and to talk about his failure at a drama competition aged 10 (a failure that ended up teaching him about the arbitrary nature of criticism), his failure to complete his degree and - his words - his 'failure to be heteronormative'. Along the way, we talk about the judgemental language of sexuality (why do gay people have to 'come out' when it implies you're hiding something? Why refer to someone as 'openly gay' when you wouldn't say 'openly Irish'? What does 'casual sex' really mean?), why acting should be playful, why growing older is an act of un-learning the things you think you know and why he still feels bad about a pizza delivery guy. I love this man. I know you will too. * The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out NOW in paperback and available to buy here.   *  This episode is sponsored by Secret Spa - the mobile app that provides you with all your beauty treatments in the comfort of your own home. Now covering London and Manchester, for 15% off your first booking, use the code HOWTOFAIL on the app or via the website secretspa.co.uk * How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday ANDREW SCOTT IS NOT ON SOCIAL MEDIA. (Yet another reason to love him).          

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#9

SPECIAL EPISODE! How to Fail: Mo Gawdat on how to cope with anxiety in a time of Coronavirus

March 23, 2020 • 71m

Hello. I hope you're all doing ok out there. Bit of a strange time isn't it? It can feel overwhelming to be living through a global pandemic, but there are things all of us can do - small things that can have big impact. We can stay at home and save lives. We can distance socially and help the heroic health carers working on the frontline of this disease. We can spread a little positivity. We can refuse to panic buy toilet roll. And I, at least, can make podcasts so that you can listen to them and hopefully feel a little less alone. When I was thinking of who I most wanted to hear from about how to live through this unprecedented moment in our history, there was really only one answer. It was Mo Gawdat. I originally met Mo when I interviewed him in Season 4 of the podcast. You can listen to that episode here. He told me about how he had developed a seemingly simple algorithm that enables every single person to be happy, whatever the circumstances - you can read more about that in his book Solve For Happy. Meeting Mo had a huge impact on me. I know it also helped a great many of you - at every event I do now, at least one person will come up to me to say Mo has changed their life for the better. I am so, so grateful to Mo for agreeing to come back onto the podcast to discuss how to live with anxiety and isolation in a time of Coronavirus. We talk about how to handle negative thoughts, how to practise gratitude and the concept of 'committed acceptance' which focuses on a) accepting the situation and b) within that acceptance, working out what you can actively do to make life better. He shares with us his own daily routine for self-isolation, the difference between the inevitability of pain and the choice of suffering, the wondrous abilities of the brain to come up with narratives which sometimes do not serve us and the importance of understanding the impact exercising our own free will have on others. Along the way, we argue about whether Love Actually is the best romcom of all time. I hope you enjoy the episode and that it brings you some comfort as you go about your day.  Sending love to you all. *  How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and recorded, edited and mixed by Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Mo Gawdat @mgawdat    

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#10

S1, Ep4 How to Fail: Sathnam Sanghera

August 01, 2018 • 46m

This week, journalist and author Sathnam Sanghera joins How To Fail and kicks off by saying how flattered he was to be asked to contribute to a podcast on failure because he hates hearing nice things said about himself. So that’s good. As well as discussing his failure to take a compliment, Sathnam talks movingly about growing up in a household where both his father and his sister had schizophrenia. At first, he tried to run away from accepting it and then when that didn’t work, he wrote a brilliant, award-winning memoir called The Boy With the Topknot which was later adapted for the BBC. (Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling is a fan). Sathnam talks about his social failure at university (and his inability to get a girlfriend for three years), as well as his failure to learn an instrument,  his failure to score a high Uber rating and his failure to read back his own handwriting moments after he’s written something down.  Along the way, we cover his childhood job in a Wolverhampton sewing factory, the modern tendency to confuse anxiety with serious mental health issues, grief and how he coped with the death of his best friend, heartbreak, success, the concept of 'negative mindfulness', racist dogs and Sathnam’s undying love for George Michael and Club Tropicana. We also spend longer than necessary trying to remember the common colloquial phrase 'prepare for the worst, expect the best' which is embarrassing given that we both make a living from words.   How To Fail is hosted by Elizabeth Day and produced by Chris Sharp    How To Fail is sponsored by Moorish   The Boy with the Topknot is published by Penguin and available to buy here.   Sathnam Sanghera’s website is here.   Social Media:   Elizabeth Day @elizabday Sathnam Sanghera @sathnam Moorish @moorishhumous

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#11

S3, Ep2 How to Fail: Chris Patten

January 09, 2019 • 38m

This week, my guest is the former politician Chris Patten. It's almost easier to list the high-powered offices of state he hasn't occupied than the ones he has. Patten was the 28th governor of Hong Kong, the former Chairman of the BBC, the current Chancellor of Oxford University. For 13 years, he was the Conservative MP for Bath before losing his seat in the 1992 election - one of the incidences of failure he discusses on this episode.  At 74, Patten has published seven books, gained a peerage, fathered three children and has eight grandchildren. You might not think he knows much about failure, but in this revealing and unexpectedly moving interview, he talks about what it's like to lose a seat and have your life changed overnight, as well as how he coped with the aftermath of his tenure at the BBC (where he presided over the Jimmy Savile scandal). We also discuss his faith, his love for his wife (and his wish that he had married her earlier), his natural inclination towards gloominess (and what he does to 'snap out of it') and his, as yet futile, search for the perfect breakfast muesli.   How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books   First Confession: A Sort of Memoir by Chris Patten is out now, published by Allen Lane.   Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks          

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#12

S6, Ep3 How to Fail: Cush Jumbo

October 09, 2019 • 55m

If you're a fan of The Good Wife or The Good Fight (and if not, why not?) you will know Cush Jumbo as Lucca Quinn, the whip-smart, ambitious lawyer who speaks with a flawless American accent. But Cush was actually born in South London, the daughter of a British mother and a Nigerian father and the second of six children. She took dance classes from the age of three, and went on to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama. An award-winning stage actress who wrote and starred in her own highly-acclaimed one-woman show, Josephine and I, she is returning to the theatre next year to play Hamlet at the Young Vic. Way back in the mists of time (well, ok, 2012), I interviewed Cush for the Observer. I was struck then by how impressive she was, as well as being nice and funny. We stayed in touch over the years as I proudly watched her ascent from afar, and now I'm delighted to get the chance to interview her again because she is unafraid to talk honestly and beautifully about her most vulnerable moments. She joins me to talk about her fears of letting her family down, the self-perceived failure to 'have it all' as a working mother, plus the rejection and sense of terrible failure she felt as an actress starting out and the spiral of depression that ensued, during which she thought 'obsessively' about suicide, before seeking medical help (and getting a dog). Thank you Cush, for being fearless in your honesty and generous with your talent. Also thank you for bringing me delicious cakes from Gail's when we recorded. You really are a gem. ALSO, TODAY SHE COLLECTS HER O.B.E. It's almost as if I'd planned the timing (I hadn't). I hope you enjoy listening, and if you do, I'd love it if you felt moved to rate, review and subscribe. * The How To Fail Live tour has now started! I will be at various venues around the UK and Ireland over the next two months, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. Limited tickets left! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail *  The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here. * This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Cush Jumbo @cushjumbo  Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty      

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#13

S4, Ep4 How to Fail: Mo Gawdat

April 24, 2019 • 60m

Just occasionally in life, you meet someone who changes your way of thinking about the world. The shift might be subtle or it might be seismic, but afterwards, you are never quite the same again. This is what happened to me when my path crossed with that of Mo Gawdat who spoke to me about what it is to live a contented life in a way that had an immediate and practical impact on my outlook. Gawdat is the former chief business officer at Google X (Google's so-called 'moonshot factory' responsible for off-the-wall ideas such as self-driving cars and a balloon-powered internet) but for a long time in his life, despite having professional, personal and material success, he realised he wasn't happy. So he set about solving this problem by applying his scientific research skills to the issue: how can one individual be happy? After 12 years, he developed an algorithm for happiness, eventually arriving at an equation which states simply that happiness is greater than, or equal to, your perception of the events in your life minus your expectation of how life should be. He even wrote a book about it, Solve For Happy, which became an international bestseller. Gawdat joins me to talk about how that algorithm was put to the ultimate test when his beloved 21-year-old son Ali died in tragic circumstances. We talk about how to survive depression and grief; how happiness is like fitness; how to cope with break-ups; why social media is driving us further apart and what to do about it; why life is like a computer game; the illusion of time and why we should always, always be polite to Siri. This episode is slightly longer than normal just because I didn't want to cut any of it. I hope you take as much from Mo's words as I have.   Solve For Happy: Engineer Your Path To Joy by Mo Gawdat is available to order here. How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out nowand is available to pre-order here. *IMPORTANT NEWS KLAXON*  I’m doing a live How To Fail With Elizabeth Day event on 5th May at The Bridge Theatre in London with ZAWE ASHTON (who is amazing). There are still some tickets available here.     Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks      

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#14

SPECIAL EPISODE! How to Fail: Daisy Edgar-Jones on being the star of Normal People, the lockdown television hit everyone is talking about

May 20, 2020 • 58m

Ok, so I said I was done with the special lockdown episodes but, forgive me, I CHANGED MY MIND. The reason for this is that I watched Normal People and thought it was the most exceptional piece of television I've seen in...well...an absolute age, and I basically hunted down Daisy Edgar-Jones like the obsessive fan I was until she agreed to be interviewed by me. And so here it is: Daisy Edgar-Jones, who gave the performance of a lifetime as Marianne in the BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney's acclaimed novel, Normal People, joins me for the most beautiful chat about failing to go to university, feeling the need for constant validation, wanting to do things for their own artistic sake but being hamstrung by other people's approval, body image, living with anxiety (which manifests as hypochondria), feeling lost in her late teens, dealing with rejection, the weirdness of overnight fame and Connell's silver chain (in-joke there for Normal People mega-fans). We also talk allllll about Normal People: how she approached the part of Marianne, her on-and-off-screen relationship with Connell (played brilliantly by Paul Mescal), how they filmed those extraordinary, respectful sex scenes and the story behind Marianne's fringe. Daisy is 21 but speaks with the wisdom of someone three times her age. She is so open, so funny, so kind and so generous in this interview that I know it's going to be a great help to a great many people, especially as it's Mental Health Awareness Week and we need more people to talk like this. Thank you Daisy, you're insanely talented and a genuinely lovely person and I'm so grateful you replied to my Instagram DM. * I haven't taken sponsorship for any of the special lockdown episodes because it didn't feel right, but if you have enjoyed this interview or any of the others, I'd be so grateful if you'd consider donating to Samaritans. a truly incredible charity which helps people in crisis by being there, at the end of a phone line, 24/7, 365 days a year. Covid-19 has placed an unprecedented pressure on Samaritans volunteers at precisely the time that we need them the most. Any donation, however small, will help and I'd be so grateful if you felt able to make one. Here is the link to donate: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/howtofailwithelizabethday   * If you really can't get enough How To Fail content and are looking for something to read during lockdown, there is a book! How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now and available to order here *   How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and recorded, edited and mixed by Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Daisy Edgar-Jones @daisyedgarjones Connell's Chain @connellschain    

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#15

SPECIAL EPISODE! Alain De Botton on embracing vulnerability in the age of Coronavirus

March 31, 2020 • 59m

In the second of two special episodes, the renowned philosopher Alain de Botton, returns to How To Fail With Elizabeth Day to talk about how to be human and how to stay (relatively) sane in the grip of a global pandemic. We talk about the fact that, right now, it's rational to be a little demented and how we should all take lessons from our childhood and be less ashamed of bursting into tears when we really need to. He tells me about the merits of stoicism, the comfort that comes from admitting the situation we're in without sentimentalisation and what it means to find consolation in these unprecedented times. Along the way, de Botton tackles how to deal with grief and dismantles the idea of any hierarchy of suffering - insisting that how we feel is a fact that must be taken seriously, even if there are people worse off than us. And he also tells me about the need 'to turn the light on in the room of your fears' so that the darkness no longer has the power to terrify us. This leads to the brilliant idea of having a pessimistic shopping list, where you write down all the things you're most afraid of. In many ways, this interview is the perfect companion piece to Mo Gawdat's episode last week: de Botton tackles similar subjects but approaches them from a different angle, one that embraces darkness rather than choosing not to dwell on it. I found it so comforting talking to him, and it's a comfort that has sustained me for the days since doing the interview. I hope it does the same for you. * If you really can't get enough How To Fail content and are looking for something to read during lockdown, there is a book! How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now and available to order here * Alain de Botton is the founder of The School of Life You can see a video of this podcast recording on their YouTube channel. *  How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and recorded, edited and mixed by Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Alain de Botton @alaindebotton  

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#16

S4, Ep6 How to Fail: Andy McNab

May 08, 2019 • 45m

You could say that my guest this week became famous because of failure. Andy McNab led the Bravo Two Zero SAS mission during the first Gulf War but his team was compromised soon after they were dropped into Iraq in 1991. This was the most horrific kind of failure. It resulted in the deaths of three of the squad, a cat-and-mouse chase across the desert and McNab's eventual capture. He withstood six weeks of torture and imprisonment, later turning his harrowing experiences into the bestselling book, Bravo Two Zero. He was also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his courage behind enemy lines. In 2017, he was awarded a CBE. But this SAS hero did not have the most auspicious start in life: abandoned as a baby in a carrier bag on the steps of a London hospital, he was brought up by adoptive parents on a Peckham council estate and dropped out of school as a teenager, barely able to read or write. He fell into a life of petty crime. After an arrest for burglary at the age of 16 he decided to turn his life around, and joined the British Army. Andy joins me to talk about the failure of that Bravo Two Zero mission, about what the SAS taught him about how to fail, about how someone who struggled with literacy managed to make a career as a bestselling author, about why he's been married so many times (four, since you ask) and about how he's now found lasting happiness with his wife Jenny (partly to do with a laminated strip in his wallet...listen to find out more). Oh, and he tells me he's a certified psychopath, but not - apparently - one of the bad ones. So that's a podcast first.   Andy McNab's books are available to buy here How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.     Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Andy McNab @the_real_mcnab Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks                        

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#17

S4, Ep5 How to Fail: Charly Cox

May 01, 2019 • 50m

I have my FIRST POET on the podcast this week - and my, what a poet. Charly Cox is not only a beautiful soul but a beautiful chronicler of what it is to be human. Her first collection, She Must Be Mad, became the bestselling poetry debut of 2018 and Cox was named by Elle magazine as one of their 20 ‘power players’ of the year. Although still only 23, she's accumulated an astonishing store of wisdom and I was so, so happy to have her on the podcast because what Charly has to say is deeply important for anyone struggling with how to value themselves for who and what they are rather than how they aspire to be perceived. She's been dubbed an Instagram poet for the millennial generation, but I think her work has relevance for all ages. We spoke about anxiety, depression and her diagnosis with PTSD and Bipolar II disorder. We also discussed dropping out of school and failing to find lasting romantic love (and her fear that she is ultimately unloveable. AS IF, CHARLY). And we chat about a career failure that left her on a hotel bathroom floor in the grip of a panic attack at which point she remembers thinking: 'I will never work again. I can't believe it's taken this long for everyone to finally see I'm an imposter. I can't do this.'  One of my favourite things about Charly is that she made me realise that the personal can be universal - that by being open about our vulnerabilities, the things we feel most shame about, we not only diminish the shame, but we connect with others who experience exactly the same emotions. And that, my friends, is what creates SOLIDARITY as a force for meaningful change.   Charly Cox's bestselling She Must Be Mad is available to buy here Her brilliant new collection, Validate Me, is out in October and available to pre-order here  How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here. *IMPORTANT NEWS KLAXON*  I’m doing a live How To Fail With Elizabeth Day event on 5th May at The Bridge Theatre in London with ZAWE ASHTON (who is amazing). There are still some tickets available here. This is NOT being recorded, so the only way to be part of it is to be there or...erm...be square?    Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Charly Cox @charlycox1 Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks          

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#18

S6, Ep5 How to Fail: Shirlie Kemp

October 23, 2019 • 56m

Today, I welcome Shirlie Kemp to the podcast. She was an 80s icon: a backing dancer for Wham! who ACTUALLY APPEARED IN THE MUSIC VIDEO FOR 'LAST CHRISTMAS', as well as being a best friend to George Michael until his untimely death in 2016 at the age of 53. She was also one-half of the pop duo Pepsi & Shirlie and the wife of Martin Kemp, of Spandau Ballet fame (fun fact: their son, Roman, is the Capital Radio DJ). Shirlie joins me to talk about what went on behind the scenes of fame and her memories of George, including the last conversation they ever had. She talks about her challenging council estate upbringing, feeling a failure at school and developing an eating disorder in her teens. We also discuss her long journey to self-confidence as a woman and how she and Martin coped with his brain tumour diagnosis in 1995, and what got them through those tough times as a couple. And we touch on the mean photography teacher whose criticism she will NEVER FORGET (but more fool him, because now she's an amazing photographer so there). Thank you for coming on How To Fail, Shirlie: you are truly the loveliest woman.    * The How To Fail Live tour has now started! I will be at various venues around the UK and Ireland over the next two months, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. Limited tickets left! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail *  The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here. * Shirlie and Martin Kemp are releasing a joint album, In The Swing of It, next month. You can pre-order it here. *  This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Shirlie Kemp @shirliekemp Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty                  

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#19

S6, Ep1 How to Fail: Camilla Thurlow

September 25, 2019 • 57m

We're back! Did you miss us? Go on...say you did. I'm really very, very needy. It's such a treat for me to be opening season six with a truly fantastic guest: Camilla Thurlow. Camilla was always one of the most genuine and impressive contestants on ITV2's hit reality show, Love Island. A former bomb disposal expert who worked in life and death situations in Cambodia and Afghanistan, she came second in the 2017 series. Instead of launching a clothing line or advertising detox tummy teas, Camilla went on to use her new-found public platform to talk about issues close to her heart: namely, the immigration crisis and mental health. Her first trip after Love Island was to a refugee camp with the contestant she coupled up with, Jamie Jewitt (oh, and by the way, they are still together). Set aside any preconceptions you might have about reality TV and listen to the wisdom this extraordinary woman imparts about love, loss and human connection. We talk about her periods of extreme anxiety and panic as she was forced to confront who she really was rather than the Camilla she was trying to be. We talk about the challenges of public expectation and the fear of not living up to other people's idea of her. We talk about social media, turning 30 and her ingrained fear of making a fool of herself. We also talk about a near-fatal car accident and the unexpected lessons it taught her. I am so grateful to Camilla for opening up to me and for showing that strength comes through an acknowledgement of - and respect for - vulnerability. I know that you will find so much to relate to in what she says. Thank you for listening. It's great to be back. * I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail *  The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here. * This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Camilla Thurlow @camillathurlow   Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty      

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#20

S2, Ep3 How to Fail: James Frey

October 17, 2018 • 41m

This week on How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, we're joined by the author James Frey who also just so happens to be my first American guest (hello, USA! I heart you!). Frey has written four critically acclaimed novels, and his fifth - Katerina, a sweeping love story set between 2018 Los Angeles and 1992 Paris - has just been published. But he's probably as well known for his notoriety as his talent. In 2003, Frey published A Million Little Pieces, a memoir of his criminal past and addiction to crack cocaine. An instant bestseller, it was picked by Oprah Winfrey for her influential book club. But when it was subsequently shown that Frey had fabricated large portions, Oprah brought him back on her show to give him an exceptionally public dressing down that made headines around the world. This is a man who has been a literary rock-star and a literary pariah; someone who has experienced public failure on a level most of us couldn't even begin to comprehend. He joins me to discuss what that felt like, what he learned from the fallout, what the difference is between factual truth and truth in fiction, living with addiction, what he has learned from failure, and he tells me about his peronsal motto: 'Fail Fast, Fail Often'. Along the way, he also reveals whether he'd vote for Oprah if she ran for President and his unlikely support for the England football team.   How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books   Katerina by James Frey is out now published by John Murray   Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks        

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