69 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

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    • 4.6, 318 Ratings

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, 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.
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    Jessie Ware's latest album, What's Your Pleasure, is out on 19th June and available to preorder 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. 
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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
    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
    *
     
    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
    SPECIAL EPISODE! How to Fail: Henry Holland on business failure in the time of Covid-19

    SPECIAL EPISODE! How to Fail: Henry Holland on business failure in the time of Covid-19

    In the last of four special episodes specifically designed to help you through lockdown and Covid-19 anxiety, I welcome the fashion designer Henry Holland onto the podcast. This week, How To Fail returns to its usual format of discussing three failures but I've chosen to make this a special episode because one of Henry's failures will speak directly to a lot of people right now. It is the failure of his business, House of Holland, a failure linked to the impact of Coronavirus and which has left Henry having to call in the administrators and let beloved members of staff go. It's a failure he is still coming to terms with and I'm so grateful to him for choosing to talk about it. 
    We also discuss growing up in Ramsbottom, with childhood friend (and future supermodel) Agyness Deyn, and going to a school which stifled his individuality and where even the female teachers were called 'sir'. Later, Henry became a fashion journalist on teen magazines in London before he started making slogan t-shirts as a side-hustle. The t-shirts proved so popular they rapidly became a sought-after fashion item, and Henry's future in fashion was assured. It was a life that took him onto the world's catwalks and into some of the most glamorous parties (keep your ears tuned in for the Kanye West anecdote) but, last month, he was forced to acknowledge that his business was no longer financially sustainable.  'The emotional turmoil of closing a business was one that was heavy to bear,' he wrote recently in a piece for British Vogue. 'But now, on the other side, while unemployed in the craziest economic time we’ve experienced in a generation, I can’t help but feel a sense of relief. Relief I am no longer letting people down. Relief I am no longer pretending everything is perfect when in fact it’s not. And relief most of all that I have space and time to think about what it is I want from my working life.'
    Thank you Henry. We'll be back in June for a brand new season with a truly fabulous line-up of guests. Until then, stay safe and I hope you all enjoy the episode. 
     
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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
    *
     
    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
    Henry Holland @henryholland
     

    • 1 hr
    SPECIAL EPISODE! How To Fail: Listeners share their Coronavirus stories

    SPECIAL EPISODE! How To Fail: Listeners share their Coronavirus stories

    For this extra-special listener episode, I asked you to get in touch with your stories. And you did not let me down. I received so many responses that when I printed them out they ran to over 100 pages of typed text. I wished I could read every single one of them out, but that would have taken quite a long time, so I did the best I could and picked a selection of the most moving, most eloquent, most reassuring, most funny, most inspiring, most heroic stories you are ever likely to hear. I burst into tears while reading your emails and messages, and I laughed a lot too. I adore you, you wonderful listeners. You are the most exceptional, thoughtful and brave audience.
    In this special episode, you will hear from NHS doctors and nurses, from teachers, from vets, from struggling parents and from blended families and from those who desperately want to be parents but aren't, from those who have just broken up with lovers and from those in brand new relationships now in lockdown, from those who have tragically said goodbye to loved ones, from people who live with chronic illness and disordered eating, from those whose school and university terms were cut short without notice, from spoon-carvers and home-bakers and trashy-television-watchers. In every story, there will be a shimmering grain of humanity that I hope makes each and every one of us feel more connected.
    Thank you for honouring me with your stories. Thank you for trusting me with your insights. Thank you for listening and connecting. Thank you for your acts of courage and quiet heroism. And thank you for giving me the chance to make this episode.
    We will find our feet again. This too shall pass. Sending love to all of you out there, and I’ll see you soon.
    *
    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

    • 52 min
    SPECIAL EPISODE! How To Fail: Alain De Botton on embracing vulnerability in the age of Coronavirus

    SPECIAL EPISODE! How To Fail: Alain De Botton on embracing vulnerability in the age of Coronavirus

    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
     

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

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

    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
     
     

    • 1 hr 10 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
318 Ratings

318 Ratings

mimpol123 ,

Absolutely love it

Always puts me in a better mood. Delightful, thought-provoking and sincere. Thank you Elizabeth!!

JS1206 ,

Thought provoking and real!

I appreciate the real ness of these conversations and the lessons you can pull from them!

nbekkkkk ,

How to fail

Inspiring, thought provoking and thoughtful discussions. Thank you!

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