Why I Failed by Shweta Punj – Book Review


Why I Failed by Shweta Punj, talks about the failures of successful people from various walks of life.

There is enough literature celebrating and analyzing success but, not much that looks at one of the most neglected building blocks of success – failure. More importantly the ability to deal with it. Every success story has many failure stories wrapped inside it. More often than not, what differentiates successful people from others is their ability to learn from the failures and move on. We all know people around us who gave up after the first or first few failures.

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The author talks about each person’s failure story. And then goes on to bring out the reason for their failure and the learning from the same. Each person had a different reason for failure. Some had to face it because they did not fit into the perceptions of society like Sminu Jindal who chose to work in a heavy engineering domain while being a woman and a physically challenged person. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw has enough tales to narrate from her journey to setting up Biocon. There are those who failed because they made mistakes in trusting people too much like Sunil Alagh. People like Shankar Sharma and Ajit Gulabchand failed because they could not work with the government.

I found the stories of Abhinav Bindra, Subhash Ghai, and Sabyasachi Mukherjee very interesting. Probably because I did not know much of their stories. Other stories that have been often written in the media may be in different formats. I was smiling at Subhash Ghai referring to himself as ‘Panjab University ka Hero’. I could almost imagine him on the campus acting as a hero.

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What you gather from these diverse stories is that failure can come in any shape and size just like success, and more often than not it comes when least expected. I liked what Kiran Mazumdar Shaw says – failure can be real or perceived and it is pity that many of us tend to take the perceived failures to be real and suffer. Overall, there is some lesson in every story for the reader to pick and work on.

When Edison said, I did not fail 2000 times, but I learned about so many ways that do not work, that is the way successful people look at failure. By making seemingly successful people talk about their failures, Shweta Punj gives you examples from your time and space, of people you know, and the way they took failures in their stride and came out shining from those failures.

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Chapters follow a simple format of introducing the personality, followed by their failure story, and then ending it with key reasons for failure and the advice for the readers. Language is easy to read.

Why I Failed is a simple, small book to read. Read one chapter at a time or it may appear repetitive.

Why I Failed by Shweta Punj

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  1. thank you very much for suggesting the book, though at times I think why do certain things happen in the way that happen, probably after reading this book I don’t pay much attention to those aspects

  2. I like the concept of this book, even though its the same theme wrapped under a different name! But I am all in for true stories of people who made it and often, people do hide their failures. I have read long autobiographies where all that the author did in life was to go from one success to another!

    Failure is an essential ingredient of success. If someone succeeds too quickly or seems to succeed frequently, it means that failure will shortly come up! Second, failure enables us to look at life in a more realistic way, instead of the bloated image that we generally have while we are successful!

    Destination Infinity


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