Failing Forward Book Summary - Failing Forward Book explained in key points
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Failing Forward summary

John C. Maxwell

Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones For Success

4.5 (237 ratings)
14 mins

Brief summary

Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell is a motivational book that presents failure as a steppingstone for success. It offers practical tips on how to adopt a positive mindset towards failures and transform them into opportunities for growth.

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    Failing Forward
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Failure can’t be avoided, so think of it as a critical part of moving forward.

    While most of us do our best to avoid failure, most entrepreneurs know better. The majority of successful businesspeople attribute their success to their ability to persevere after failures. In fact, it takes entrepreneurs an average of 3.8 failed ventures before they manage to start a successful business.

    These entrepreneurs recognize that even if their business eventually fails, they’ll be in a better position than they were when they started. But if their fear of failure had stopped them at the beginning, they wouldn’t have gotten anywhere.

    In the real world, a single failure doesn’t always mean the end of the road. Take Sergio Zyman, a marketing executive for Coca-Cola in the 1980s. When Zyman launched the new Diet Coke range, it was hugely popular.

    This success bolstered Zyman’s standing in the company and gave him more confidence in his daring ideas. So later, when Coca-Cola wanted to introduce a new formula for Coke, Zyman proposed to introduce it under the name “New Coke.” Zyman believed the new idea would sell so well that he convinced Coca-Cola to stop producing the old version.

    To Zyman’s surprise, New Coke was a complete flop. The rebranded bottles failed to sell, costing Coca-Cola approximately $100 million, and Zyman his job. To recover from this blow, Coca-Cola reintroduced their flagship drink under a new name: Coca-Cola Classic.

    As it turned out, Coca-Cola Classic was a huge hit. The drink became more popular than ever, and Zyman’s failure to transform the brand in the first instance ended up leading to a great success for the company in the long run. In 1993, Coca-Cola chairman Roberto Goizueta rehired Zyman, acknowledging that daring thinkers can’t be right every time.

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    What is Failing Forward about?

    Failing Forward (2000) provides a positive perspective on failure. These blinks draw on legendary success stories and literary anecdotes to explain the importance of failure, the advantages of embracing it and the power of leveraging your mistakes to stimulate personal growth.

    Failing Forward Review

    Failing Forward (2000) by John C. Maxwell is a book that explores the idea of embracing failure as a stepping stone to success. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides practical strategies for reframing failure and using it as a catalyst for personal growth and development.
    • With its inspiring stories and examples of successful individuals who have turned their failures into opportunities, the book encourages readers to adopt a positive mindset towards setbacks.
    • By emphasizing the importance of perseverance and learning from mistakes, the book empowers readers to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

    Best quote from Failing Forward

    Your attitude toward failure determines your altitude after failure.

    —John C. Maxwell
    example alt text

    Who should read Failing Forward?

    • Creative professionals struggling to take risks in their work
    • Perfectionists looking for new ways to accept and interpret their mistakes
    • Ambitious readers curious about the role of failure in success

    About the Author

    John C. Maxwell is a professional leadership trainer, author and speaker. He wrote several best-selling books on leadership and founded a string of companies teaching organizational development.

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    Failing Forward FAQs 

    What is the main message of Failing Forward?

    The main message of Failing Forward is that failure is not the end, but a stepping stone to success.

    How long does it take to read Failing Forward?

    The reading time for Failing Forward varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in around 15 minutes.

    Is Failing Forward a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Failing Forward is definitely worth reading. It provides valuable insights on turning failures into opportunities for growth and success.

    Who is the author of Failing Forward?

    The author of Failing Forward is John C. Maxwell.

    What to read after Failing Forward?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Failing Forward, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Fail Fast, Fail Often by Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz
    • How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell
    • How to Fail by Elizabeth Day
    • Insight by Tasha Eurich
    • The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell
    • The Discomfort Zone by Farrah Storr
    • Mindset by Carol Dweck
    • Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
    • Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John C. Maxwell
    • The 48 Laws of Power (new version) by Robert Greene