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Event Summary

In her new book, “The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success,” Megan McArdle argues that failing in the right way is necessary for both individual and social growth. At an AEI book forum on Wednesday evening, McArdle discussed her argument and the practical applications of failing well.

McArdle claimed that the right way to fail is to treat the setback as a chance to learn and improve. She connected the ideas of failure, forgiveness, and growth to American bankruptcy policy, which is much more lenient than Europe’s. America’s unusual tolerance of failure is a hidden strength of the US economy because it encourages risk-taking, innovation, and self-improvement. McArdle also argued that the 2008 financial crisis was due in part to bankers’ assumption that there was no chance of failure, leading to a lack of preparation for a market shock.

Tyler Cowen of George Mason University praised “The Up Side of Down” for its potential to reform our approach to education. He noted that teaching young children how to fail properly is an important learning tool, and suggested that teachers and parents in particular would do well to take a page from McArdle’s book.
–Thomas Sanders

Event Description

Most new products fail; so do many small businesses. And most individuals have experienced a major setback in their personal or professional lives. Success — in life, business, and government — requires harnessing the power of failure, argues Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle in her new book, “The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success.”

Through Detroit bailouts to sociological experiments to her own very bad dates, McArdle assesses what makes some failures productive and other disastrous. At this AEI book event, McArdle will discuss, among other topics, how America is the land of opportunity because it is the country most tolerant of failure.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.

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Agenda

5:15 PM
Registration

5:30 PM
Presentation:
Megan McArdle, Bloomberg
Respondent:
Tyler Cowen, George Mason University

Moderator:
Timothy P. Carney, AEI

6:30 PM
Book Signing and Wine and Cheese Reception


Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Janine Nichols at [email protected], 202.862.7172.


Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.


Speaker Biographies

Timothy P. Carney is a visiting fellow at AEI, where he helps direct the Culture of Competition Project, examining barriers to competition in all areas of American life, from the economy to the world of ideas. Carney has more than a decade of experience as a journalist covering the intersection of politics and economics. His work at AEI focuses on how to reinvigorate a competitive culture in America in which all can reap the benefits of a fair economy. Carney is the author of two books: “The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money” (John Wiley & Sons, 2006) and “Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses” (Regnery Publishing, 2009).

Tyler Cowen
is the Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University (GMU) and chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center at GMU. He is also coauthor of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution and cofounder of the online educational platform Marginal Revolution University. He writes the Economic Scene column for The New York Times, has contributed extensively to national publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Money magazine, and serves on the advisory boards of both Wilson Quarterly and The American Interest. His research has been published in the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Ethics, Journal of Philosophy, and Journal of Public Affairs.

Megan McArdle is a Washington-based journalist who writes about economics, business, and public policy as a full-time blogger for Bloomberg View. McArdle has been a correspondent for The Atlantic, The Economist, and Newsweek and appears regularly on MSNBC, Fox News, and National Public Radio. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, and numerous other outlets. Her new book, “The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success” (Viking, 2014), argues that risk and failure are essential components of both high-achieving individuals and dynamic societies.

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