61 episodes

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.

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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.

    S7, Ep7 How to Fail: Adam Pearson

    S7, Ep7 How to Fail: Adam Pearson

    So. This podcast episode almost didn't happen because I'd forgotten to put it into my iCal (I find any diary that isn't paper so confusing, don't you?) and on the allotted day, I had a text from sound engineer Chris saying 'We're outside!'. Needless to say, I was not inside. I was half-an-hour away having breakfast with my friend Viv.
    It is a testament to Adam Pearson's kindness that, when I spoke to him, harassed and sweating as I ran for the train, he didn't seem remotely put out. 'It's very on-brand to fail at turning up,' he quipped.
    Anyway, I'm so glad Adam stuck around because when we did sit down to record this interview, he was utterly phenomenal. Adam is a broadcaster, actor, campaigner and documentary-maker (and also Celebrity Mastermind champion) who has lived for most of his life with the incurable genetic condition, neurofibromatosis which causes benign tumours to grow along the nerves. In his case, the tumours are mostly on his face and they have severely affected his physical appearance since the age of five.
    Adam joins me to talk about what his condition has taught him: from standing up to bullies at school to confronting the people filming him on their cameraphones when he ventures outside. He talks about the discrimination, the name-calling and how he has managed to channel his anger into changing the world for the better. Along the way, we discuss the pressures of social media in a culture that has learned to value superficial aesthetic 'perfection' at the cost of other, more meaningful characteristics. And we talk about his failure at dating, which involves once taking a Swedish woman to Ikea (it seemed like a good idea at the time) and possibly the most offensive joke you'll ever hear about why he was barred from eHarmony - listeners of a sensitive disposition might like to turn away for that bit, but I've left it in because it will give you a sense of Adam's humour, which is an integral part of how he has learned to survive.
    I hope you enjoy the episode. As the man himself might say: BOOYAH.

    This episode is sponsored by Frank Body who are offering listeners 15% off when they spend £20 or more with the code HOWTOFAIL15 at checkout.
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    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.
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    You can now buy exclusive How To Fail podcast merchandise - sweatshirts, t-shirts, mugs, post-its and notepads. The perfect gift for the failure in all of us! View the full range at howtofailshop.com
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    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
    Adam Pearson @adam_pearson
     
     

    • 54 min
    S7, Ep6 How to Fail: Marian Keyes

    S7, Ep6 How to Fail: Marian Keyes

    Marian Keyes is one of those people who you think can't POSSIBLY be as lovely and talented and nice as everyone says she is. She must have a hidden dark side, I thought. Maybe she's a terrible diva who will demand bowls of blue M&Ms and want my toilet freshly re-painted and scented with vanilla before she deigns to use it?
    But then you meet her and - lo and behold - she is not only as lovely as everyone says she is, but in fact EVEN NICER than that. This is a woman who has sold millions of book, who is one of the most successful and lauded Irish authors of all time, and who could quite forgivably be an egomaniac, but she's utterly fabulous. Or 'fabliss' as Keyes herself would put it.
    She joins me this week to talk about writing, feminism, low self-esteem, depression, alcoholism, humour as a survival mechanism, her failure to get into journalism college, weight loss (why she knows it shouldn't be important but still can't help worrying about) and her self-perceived 'failure' to have children. We also talk about her great new novel, Grown Ups, where the characters all seem like members of your own family and you're bereft to turn the final page.
    Thank you Marian. You really are fabliss.

    This episode is sponsored by Frank Body who are offering listeners 15% off when they spend £20 or more with the code HOWTOFAIL15 at checkout.
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    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.
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    Grown Ups by Marian Keyes is published by Penguin and is available to buy here.
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    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
    Marian Keyes @mariankeyes
     
     

    • 46 min
    S7, Ep5 How to Fail: Eniola Aluko

    S7, Ep5 How to Fail: Eniola Aluko

     Eniola Aluko is a former footballer who bears the notable distinction of being one of only 11 women to play for England over 100 times and the first ever female pundit on Match of the Day. Born in Nigeria, she was raised on a Birmingham council estate, where her talent for football was obvious from a young age. At 15 she signed up for Birmingham City Ladies. Later, she played for Chelsea and Juventus, gaining a First Class law degree along the way. Later still, she was a whistleblower for racist bullying within the Football Association  It was a public battle that required extraordinary reserves of strength, courage and determination.
    Eni joins me to talk about racism, sexism, equal pay, psychological pressure, failing the New York bar exam twice and the very real difficulties of dating when you're a female athlete. We also discuss her gripping memoir, They Don't Teach This, which is ALL about the incredible lessons she's learned from failure and is therefore very on-brand for this whole podcast.
    Thank you Eni! This word is overused but you are truly an inspiration.
     
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    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.
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    They Don't Teach This by Eniola Aluko is published by Yellow Jersey and is available to buy here.
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    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
    Eni Aluko @EniAlu
     

    • 59 min
    S7, Ep4 How to Fail: Tom Kerridge

    S7, Ep4 How to Fail: Tom Kerridge

    This week, the podcast welcomes its first ever Michelin-starred chef. Yes...it's Tom Kerridge! And what a chef he is. He failed at school, but found his way in catering college after the death of his Dad. He climbed the ranks of the profession, working hard and partying harder. Professional success followed, at the same time as personal failure - the long hours triggered a drink problem and he became unhealthily overweight. Faced with his own mortality, he gave up alcohol and went on a fitness regime that resulted in his losing 11 stone. His transformation was so impressive that it inspired a series of bestselling books, the latest of which, Lose Weight and Get Fit, is out now.
    Tom joins me to talk about his failure at education, his failure in business, his alcoholism and the associated failure to live in the moment. We talk about living to the extremes, having an addictive all-or-nothing mindset, how you can work with your spouse in a stressful industry and stay married, what it means to fail in a high-pressure environment and how he once had ambitions to be a child actor because it meant he got to hang out with the girls from a local private school. What a lovely chap he is - I hope you enjoy!
     
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    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.
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    Lose Weight and Get Fit by Tom Kerridge is published by Bloomsbury Books and is available to buy here. 
     
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    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
     
    Tom Kerridge @cheftomkerridge 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    • 54 min
    S7, Ep3 How to Fail: Mabel

    S7, Ep3 How to Fail: Mabel

    My guest today has the middle name Alabama-Pearl, which is pretty cool but NOT QUITE AS COOL as the fact that she's a chart-topping pop-star who has racked up three top-10 hits and recently wrote one of the best Christmas songs of all time, Loneliest Time of the Year (and I say that as a die-hard Mariah fan). Plus, my guest is still only 23 years old. Revolting.
    Yes, that's right, it's Mabel, a double Brit nominee and the creative brains behind the hit song Don’t Call Me Up, which was in the top 40 for four months. She was born in Malaga, went to school in Stockholm and now lives in London. Her creative lineage is quite something: Mabel's mother is Neneh Cherry, her dad Cameron McVey is a producer who has worked with Massive Attack, Portishead, All Saints and Sugababes, her uncle is Eagle-Eye Cherry and her  step-grandfather is the legendary jazz musician Don Cherry. But her talent and self-possession is all her own. Mabel joins me to talk about her failure to remember lyrics, her failure to stay vegan (which is hilarious) and her failure to sleep, which is a first on the podcast and I'm so glad she decided to broach the subject of insomnia as I know it effects so many of us and is such a debilitating thing.
    Thank you, Mabel, for coming on the podcast and doing your research so well that you actually read my book first. I heart you hard for that.
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    Talking of that book...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 MEYA, a new meditation app that uses the power of music to switch you into a meditative state. Download the app here to experience the power of MEYA mind journeys and a new way to fit meditation into your daily routine this January. 
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    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
    Mabel @Mabel
    MEYA @meya_app
     
     
     
     
     

    • 56 min
    S7, Ep2 How to Fail: Malcolm Gladwell

    S7, Ep2 How to Fail: Malcolm Gladwell

    My guest this week is Malcolm Gladwell, a man who has challenged and changed the way we think with six bestselling books including The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers. Gladwell also hosts his own highly successful podcast, Revisionist History and is basically 98% brain. Obviously this makes him quite an intimidating prospect to interview, but luckily he was extremely nice and, as luck would have it, his new book is all about how we can best talk to strangers. It is called, appropriately enough, Talking To Strangers, and I found it a fascinating read, written in Gladwell's trademark style which combines academic research with humour, insight and journalistic expertise, all of which makes for a curiously propulsive narrative.
    Malcolm really engaged with the idea of this podcast and came up with three highly thoughtful failures, including a professional low-point which caused him public embarrassment and a deeply felt failure to stand by an alcoholic friend. We also chat about running, faith and whether prejudice can ever be a force for good. Talking to Malcolm for an hour felt like plunging into a freezing pool and emerging zingily refreshed from the experience. It was thought-provoking in the best, most meaningful way and I hope it stimulates you as much as it did me.
    *
    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.
    *
    Talking To Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell is published by Penguin Books and is available to buy here. 

    This episode is sponsored by MEYA, a new meditation app that uses the power of music to switch you into a meditative state. Download the app here to experience the power of MEYA mind journeys and a new way to fit meditation into your daily routine this January. 
    *
    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
    Malcolm Gladwell @gladwell
    MEYA @meya_app
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    • 46 min

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