Book Review: Fail Fail Again Fail Better (Pema Chödrön)

Book Review: Fail Fail Again Fail Better (Pema Chödrön)

Fail Fail Again Fail Better by Pema Chödrön

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Samuel Beckett

Finally A Book About Something I’m Good At

Feels that way anyway. Which is kind of the point of the commencement speech (and the Q and A afterwards). We all feel that way — a lot. Like a lot a lot.

This is the perfect topic for a commencement speech, as all of these young graduates are about to enter out into the world. It is a time of great uncertainty and not knowing where the future holds. And there is such an impetus, especially upon leaving college or schools, to succeed, to become something, to never fail, to become ‘the best’.


Thats why this speech and this book is so on point with life. We all fail. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve failed today already and its only 10AM. (And hopefully my Bengals won’t fail in the AFC Championship today……….) Its just a part of life. And one we all need to be prepared for. And Pema does a wonderful job of talking about it, and using Samuel Beckett’s quote to emphasize her point, that we are all going to fail, and need to accept it.

Book Review

The book is the commencement speech that Pema Chödrön gave to the 2014 graduating class of the University of Naropa.

The GoodReads blurb reads:

“When her granddaughter was accepted to Naropa University, the celebrated author Pema Chödrön promised that she’d speak at the commencement ceremony. Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better contains the wisdom shared on that day.

“What do we do when life doesn’t go the way we hoped?” begins Pema “We say, ‘I’m a failure.” But what if failing wasn’t just “okay,” but the most direct way to becoming a more complete, loving, and fulfilled human being?

Through the insights of her own teachers and life journey, Pema Chödrön offers us her heartfelt advice on how to face the unknown—in ourselves and in the world—and how our missteps can open our eyes to see new possibilities and purpose. For Pema’s millions of readers, prospective graduates, or anyone at a life crossroads, this gem of clarity and reassurance is sure to find a welcome place in many a kitchen, office, and backpack.”

The layout of the book makes it a simple, quick, easy, and attractive read. On the left of each two-page grouping is a swirling artwork piece, and on the right is a paragraph or two from the commencement speech. It is a roughly quick book given that there’s just two paragraphs per page (about 90 or so pages devoted to the speech, and then the Q and A at the end). There is also a “forward” (not a foreword) at the beginning that comprises of a few pages. The Q and A and “forward” do not have the artwork on the left page.

This is then followed by a Q and A that consists of about 40 pages of back and forth in a question / answer type interview (obviously). I enjoyed the Q and A session more than the commencement speech itself. (Not that there was anything wrong with the commencement speech, just that I enjoyed the Q and A session more.) I found the Q and A to be more elucidating and brought more of Pema’s thoughts to the forebear than the commencement speech itself did. She goes more into the details of failure, of how to push through, her own life, and how Buddhism has helped. (And look at that, I accidentally hit CTRL + Z twice in this paragraph, and had to rewrite it twice. Failure!)

All in all, the book can be read in less than an hour and a half (probably less for more people, or for those with better attention spans than myself). Its a fun, enjoyable book, with some quick and concise advice on failure – something we all need!

My GoodReads Rating: ****
My LibraryThing Rating: ****
Global Average GoodReads Rating: 4.08 (as of 1.30.22)

Yesterday’s Predictions

So did I have any failures yesterday in my predictions? I did have some. Yesterday was the 2022 Royal Rumble and in my beer review for Funk Brewing’s Royal Rumble (Beer Review: Royal Rumble by Funk Brewing) I gave my predictions for the show. The show’s card was:

1Men’s Royal Rumble Match30-man Royal Rumble Match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 38[16]
2Women’s Royal Rumble Match30-woman Royal Rumble Match for a women’s championship match at WrestleMania 38[17]
3Brock Lesnar (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Bobby Lashley (with MVP)Singles match for the WWE Championship[18]
4Becky Lynch (c) vs. DoudropSingles match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship[19]
5Edge and Beth Phoenix vs. The Miz and MaryseMixed tag team match[20]
6Roman Reigns (c) vs. Seth “Freakin” RollinsSingles match for the WWE Universal Championship[21]
The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) are barred from ringside.
Royal Rumble 2022 Card

My predictions were:

  • Reigns over Rollins
  • Miz and Maryse over Edge and Beth Phoenix
  • Lynch over Doudrop
  • Bobby Lashley over Brock Lesnar
  • Ronda Rousey returning and winning the Women’s Royal Rumble
  • Brock Lesnar being a surprise entrant (or taking the place of someone else) and winning the Men’s Royal Rumble

The final results were:

1Seth “Freakin” Rollins defeated Roman Reigns (c) by disqualificationSingles match for the WWE Universal Championship[18]
The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) were banned from ringside.
2Ronda Rousey won by last eliminating Charlotte Flair30-woman Royal Rumble Match for a women’s championship match at WrestleMania 38[19]59:40
3Becky Lynch (c) defeated Doudrop by pinfallSingles match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship[20]13:00
4Bobby Lashley (with MVP) defeated Brock Lesnar (c) (with Paul Heyman) by pinfallSingles match for the WWE Championship[21]10:15
5Edge and Beth Phoenix defeated The Miz and Maryse by pinfallMixed tag team match[22]12:30
6Brock Lesnar won by last eliminating Drew McIntyre30-man Royal Rumble Match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 38[23]51:10
Final Results

So I would say I didn’t do too bad! Now, in the work pool – both of my numbers (#7 in the Women’s and #7 in the Men’s) lost. But hopefully my predictions are a better indicator for today’s Bengals vs. Chiefs AFC Championship Game. Who Dey! Let’s go Bengals!

Thanks For Reading Everyone

Thanks for reading everyone, and see you next time on here with more beer reviews, book reviews, etc. Thanks!


-B. Kline

As always, thank you everyone for reading! Leave your likes, comments, suggestions, questions, etc, in the comments section. Or use the Feedback – Contact Us – page, and we’ll get right back to you!

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