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February 9, 2012

Fail Better

How “fail better” has entirely lost meaning.

Hard as it might be to accept, none of Beckett’s work is ever going to reach even one tenth as many people as this little crumb of Worstward Ho taken out of context. Not Waiting for Godot, not Endgame, not the trilogy, not How It Is. “Fail again. Fail better” is on T-shirts, mousepads, mugs, and posters, including one by the same company who did “Keep Calm and Carry On.” It’s been quoted (inaccurately) by Mary Louise Parker’s character on Weeds. In addition to The 4-Hour Workweek, it does inspirational duty in books like What’s Stopping You: Why Smart People Don’t Always Reach Their Potential and How You Can, Innovation Leaders: How Senior Executives Stimulate, Steer and Sustain Innovation, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Great Customer Service, as well as providing the title for Fail Better!: The World’s Worst Marketers and What We Can Learn from Them and Epic Fail Better: How to Get Rich Off Internet Memes.