The up side of down: Why failing well is the key to success

 

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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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Timothy P.
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