73 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.

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day howtofail

    • Books

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.

    S8, Ep5 How to Fail: Julia Samuel

    S8, Ep5 How to Fail: Julia Samuel

    Today's guest is someone I fell in platonic love with by reading her work. Julia Samuel is one of the country's leading psychotherapists but she is also well-known as an author. Her first book, Grief Works, was a Sunday Times bestseller and is routinely cited as one of the most helpful and compassionate books on bereavement you will ever read. Her second book, This Too Shall Pass, Stories of Change, Crisis and Hopeful Beginnings, was published just before lockdown and could not have been a more insightful guide to the uncertain times we all found ourselves in. Adwoa Aboah called it 'one of the most valuable books I've ever read', while my hero Esther Perel, said it was 'a remarkable portrayal of how we need to understand ourselves to truly heal'.
    She joins me to talk about failing exams, failed jobs, her self-perceived failures as a mother and the impossibility of putting our emotions through a logical system. We also touch on imposter syndrome, quitting things you aren't good at, being a twin (she is one!), her close friendship with the late Princess Diana (plus what kind of godmother she is to Prince George) as well as the discomfort she feels talking about herself, rather than being the one to ask questions of a client. 
    I am so honoured to have Julia on the podcast. Her integrity and intelligence, forged through 30 years as a working therapist, shine through absolutely everything she does. Her work has been crucially important to me personally and I'm sure it will be to you too.
    As Julia says: 'We are brought up thinking life is an upward journey, a stairway to a better place, each step higher than the last. but the reality is far less certain: there are ups and downs, and the only certainty that exists is that there will be change.' 
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    Julia's latest book, This Too Shall Pass, is out now and available to order here.
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    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.
     
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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
    Julia Samuel @juliasamuelmbe
    How To Fail @howtofailpod 
     
     
     
     
     

    • 59 min
    S8, Ep4 How to Fail: Scarlett Moffatt

    S8, Ep4 How to Fail: Scarlett Moffatt

    Scarlett Moffatt was working at the checkout in Asda when she and he family got the chance to be on Channel 4's Gogglebox. She rapidly became the show's break-out star with her brilliant one-liners. Television fame followed - she co-presented with Ant and Dec, won 2016's I'm A Celebrity and now hosts the official podcast for Rupaul’s Drag Race UK. But with her overnight celebrity also came increased scrutiny and criticism.
    She joins me to talk about becoming an accidental famous person and dealing with online abuse (she will now reply to trolls with the phone number for the Samaritans). Scarlett also discusses her shifting relationship with body image and her own struggles with anxiety and low self-worth.
    This is a woman who has worked hard all her life - from her first job at 14, putting sweets into Pic n' Mix to being employed in sales at the Carphone Warehouse. When she went on I'm A Celebrity, she had only just managed to clear her student overdraft. With the fee she was given from that show, Scarlett paid off the mortgage on her parents' house. She talks to me about the value of hard graft, being bullied at school, a bicycle accident that left her with Bell's Palsy and using humour as a defence mechanism. This episode also contains what is quite possibly the greatest Tom Hardy anecdote you will ever hear.
    Thank you Scarlett, you are an absolute gem. Those school bullies were wrong about you. They always are.
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    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.
    *
    You can listen to Scarlett hosting Rupaul's Drag Race UK: The Podcast 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
    Scarlett Moffatt @scarlettmoffatt
    How To Fail @howtofailpod 
     
     
     
     

    • 50 min
    S8, Ep3 How to Fail: Matthew Syed

    S8, Ep3 How to Fail: Matthew Syed

    Matthew Syed is an acclaimed author, newspaper columnist and broadcaster. He is also, in many ways, is the father of failure. I mean that as a compliment, obviously. Through his seminal, bestselling books - Bounce, Black Box Thinking and his latest, Rebel Ideas - he has shown again and again that failure can actually be the richest seam of data acquisition. 
    His interest in making mistakes in order to evolve started, incongruously, with table tennis. He was the British number one in 1995 but later choked in spectacular fashion at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. The experience triggered a fascination with what it means to fall apart under pressure and why it happens.
    Syed joins me to talk about all this, as well as leaving school at 15, his childhood experiences of racism, the horror of cold-calling when he ran a marketing agency, the 'terrible' early newspaper columns he wrote, the necessity for diversity of thinking, fatherhood and why we don't need to be scared of airplane turbulence (thank goodness, quite frankly, because I'm terrified of it). It was a joy meeting Matthew, and I also liked his exceptionally polite way of saying 'thank you' when I ask a question.
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    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.
    *
    Matthew Syed's lates book, Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking is available to order 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
    Matthew Syed @matthewsyed
    How To Fail @howtofailpod 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    • 1 hr
    S8, Ep2 How to Fail: Samantha Irby

    S8, Ep2 How to Fail: Samantha Irby

    *This episode was recorded before recent tragic events in America. There are links to useful Black Lives Matter resources and ways to help below*
    You know when you read someone's work and feel like you'd be friends in real life, and you become basically a little obsessed and Google them to inhale all the online content that is out there about this person and their work and THEN you get to to meet them and despite thinking they couldn't possibly live up to all your overhyped expectation, they actually do? Well, ok, so that's what happened to me with Samantha Irby.
    Not only is she a brilliant, hilarious and perspicacious essayist (she has published three collections, the latest of which, Wow, No Thank You, entered the New York Times bestseller list at number one) but she's a wonderful, generous and warm human being. Samantha joins me to talk about failure to complete college, her failed relationships, failing at drama class, being her mother's carer, growing up poor, using humour as a defence mechanism and the BRILLIANT theory she has developed of 'Detachment Parenting' which she deploys on her wife's children. Oh, and we talk about The Real Housewives too, because we're both huge fans (in fact, we went on about it for so long that I had to edit some of it out in case we bored everyone else). My other favourite thing about this interview is that producer Naomi nonchalantly informed me that Samantha would be dialling in from Kathmandu, Nepal. It turns out that she had misheard and actually meant Kalamazoo, Michigan.
    Samantha, I heart you. Please can we be friends for real? CALL ME!
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    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 hand-illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.
    *
    Samantha Irby's latest book, Wow, No Thank You is out now and available to order here. Her extraordinary essay, My Mother, My Daughter is available to read for free online here.
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    Many of you will have been as appalled as we are by the recent tragic news from America and the homicide of George Floyd. If you'd like to help there is a link to Black Lives Matter resources (including petitions to sign and places to donate) here. 
    Belly Mujinga was a railway worker at London's Victoria station who was spat at by an assailant and who later died of Covid-19. You can donate to her family 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
    Samantha Irby @wordscience
    How To Fail @howtofailpod 
     

    • 58 min
    S8, Ep1 How to Fail: Jessie Ware

    S8, Ep1 How to Fail: Jessie Ware

    *This episode was recorded before recent tragic events in America. There are links to useful Black Lives Matter resources and ways to help below*
    WE'RE BAAAAAACCCCKKKK just like Backstreet, The Mack, and the toilet roll that's now in stock again in Sainsbury's. And what a guest I have for you! It is the one, the only, Jessie Ware. Not only is she one of my favourite singer-songwriters (four Brit nominations to her name, three top-ten albums and a whopping 120 million streams on Spotify for one of her most famous songs, Say You Love Me...JUST SAYIN) but she's also one of my favourite podcasters, co-hosting the brilliant Table Manners with her mother, Lennie and interviewing an array of astonishing talent over a home-cooked dinner. Their eponymous cookbook is a Sunday Times bestseller.
    Part of what makes Table Manners so special is Jessie's down-to-earth manner, whip-smart sense of humour and her ability to shortcut to the real stuff (it's also the affectionate bickering with Lennie, who says that they 'put the fun into dysfunctional'). All of these qualities also make her a wonderful interviewee. She joins me to talk about her failure to tidy up, her failure to be a journalist and her failure to live in the present. Along the way, we discuss imposter syndrome, body image, accidental success, life, love and almost everything in between. Basically all you need to know is that I loved her before we recorded this episode, but now I love her even more.
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    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 hand-illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.
    *
    Jessie Ware's latest album, What's Your Pleasure, is out on 19th June and available to preorder here.
    *
    Many of you will have been as appalled as we are by the recent tragic news from America and the homicide of George Floyd. If you'd like to help there is a link to Black Lives Matter resources (including petitions to sign and places to donate) here. 
    Belly Mujinga was a railway worker at London's Victoria station who was spat at by an assailant and who later died of Covid-19. You can donate to her family 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
    Jessie Ware @jessieware
     
     
     
     

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

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

    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.
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    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
     
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    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
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    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
     
     

    • 57 min

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