OwlTail

Cover image of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is a podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right. Every week, a new interviewee explores what their failures taught them about how to succeed better.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Popular episodes

All episodes

The best episodes ranked using user listens.

Podcast cover

S10, Ep2 How to Fail: Matt Haig

Today, I invite you to listen to one of my most-requested guests. I've lost count of the number of messages I've received begging me to get Matt Haig on the podcast, and now here he is: the man, the myth, the legend himself! Matt is a bestselling author of both fiction and non-fiction and a mental health advocate whose admirers include everyone from Dolly Parton to the Duchess of Sussex. After surviving serious, life-threatening depression in his 20s, Matt used his experiences to form the basis of his 2015 memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive, which was a number one Sunday Times bestseller and stayed in the UK top 10 for 46 weeks. His latest novel, The Midnight Library, tells the story of Nora Seed, who, after attempting to take her own life, finds herself in a library of books which contain alternative versions of Nora’s future. It's a charming meditation on what it means to live a fulfilled life, and on the often blurry line between failure and success. Matt joins me to talk about his failure to get the right work / life balance, his failure to check his own privilege and how he wishes he'd been open about his mental health earlier [TW: contains discussion of depression and suicide]. We also talk about having thin skin in an age of social media, how to handle criticism and the dangers of being given 'expert' status when you've never sought it for yourself. * Matt's latest novel, The Midnight Library, is out now. * Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom and is out now. * How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Matt Haig @mattzhaig

1hr 1min

10 Feb 2021

Rank #1

Podcast cover

How to Fail: End of Season Two

So here we are at the end of SEASON TWO of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, 16 wonderful interviews (and untold numbers of pots of babaganoush) later. In order to mark this momentous occasion, I speak to the legend behind the microphone, the one and only Chris Sharp, producer extraordinaire. We chat about our favourite moments of the podcast so far and discuss the most memorable building work we've had to contend with along the way (it's a nightmare for the sound quality, apparently). Ironically, this takes place just as building work is being done in the flat above mine, so you get to hear an unexplained thumping sound about three-quarters of the way through. You're welcome. Thank you so, so much for listening, rating, reviewing and subscribing. We'll be back in the New Year with eight new brilliant guests. Until then, remember what Truman Capote said: 'Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour.' How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

12mins

22 Nov 2018

Rank #2

Similar Podcasts

Podcast cover

S3, Ep1 How to Fail: Lily Allen

Haaaappy New Year! We're back with a whole new season and we open with a bona fide musical superstar: Lily Allen. A singer, songwriter, the recipient of multiple awards, Lily's songs such as Smile and The Fear are observationally crafted with honesty and irreverent wit. In 2018, she was nominated for a Mercury Prize for her (brilliant) fourth album, No Shame, and published her memoir, My Thoughts Exactly, which was a Sunday Times Number 1 bestseller. In it, she writes unflinchingly about feminism, fame and family dysfunction. Oh, and shagging Liam Gallagher in an airplane toilet.  She joins How To Fail With Elizabeth Day to talk about failing to be famous, failing to report a sexual assault, body image, children, marital breakdown, drugs and alcohol, songwriting and why, one day, she might just enter politics. I am SO EXCITED to have Lily on the podcast. It's so rare that someone this famous is also this honest and it's a real treat. I hope you enjoy listening. How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen is out now published by Blink Publishing Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Lily Allen @lilyallen Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

40mins

2 Jan 2019

Rank #3

Podcast cover

S3, Ep4 How to Fail: Deborah Frances-White

My guest this week is Deborah Frances-White: an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and quite possibly the defining feminist of our generation. You'll probably know her from her hit podcast, The Guilty Feminist, or from her book of the same name and if you don't then WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING, WHERE? Deborah joins me to talk about failure at improvisation, failure to be a biological mother and how to rebuild your life after leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses. Along the way, we discuss her adoption, the Syrian refugee who lives in her house and why learning to be joyful about miserable failure could actually be the key to long-term happiness. Deborah is such an impressive and clever woman and every time I hear her speak, I learn something unbelievably helpful and new. This occasion was no exception. My favourite bit is where we talk about dating as a data-gathering exercise. Enjoy! How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books The book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day is available to pre-order here. The Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances-White is out now published by Virago. Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Deborah Frances-White @deborahFW The Guilty Feminist @GuiltFemPod Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

46mins

23 Jan 2019

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

Podcast cover

S10, Ep1 How to Fail: Jameela Jamil

[TW: contains discussion of eating disorders, including references to calorie-counting and body dysmorphia] We're back, baby! So much has changed hasn't it? Last year, I released a new series in the grip of a national lockdown and a global pandemic. This year...well, I'm releasing a new series in the grip of a national lockdown and a global pandemic. I hope Season 10 of How To Fail brings you some much-needed cheer in these strange times. And WHAT a guest I have for you to kick off with. Jameela Jamil started out as an English teacher, fell into TV presenting, subsequently became an actress, starring alongside Ted Danson and Kristen Bell in The Good Place and is now well-known for her activism.  In 2018, Jameela launched I Weigh, which has grown into a radically inclusive global movement against shame and now has its own YouTube channel and podcast. Along the way, she's come in for her fair share of criticism - perhaps unsurprising when you consider her habit of calling out of media hypocrisy on Twitter and Instagram where she has a combined following of 4.4 million. Jameela joins me to talk about her failure to be a 'good' female celebrity, her failure to be kind to her body and her failure to get a handle on her finances. If you are a woman, a parent of a daughter, or simply a sentient human being trying to do this thing called life, you will find this episode full of mind-expanding truth bombs. Enjoy! * My book Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom and is out now. * How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Jameela Jamil @jameelajamilofficial

56mins

3 Feb 2021

Rank #5

Podcast cover

S6, Ep 8 How to Fail: Jane Garvey

*SEASON FINALE KLAXON* I mean...where does the time go? A minute ago it was summer and now here I am posting the final episode of Season Six and it's a mere 24 shopping days left until Christmas. Sheesh.  But what a pleasure I have in store for you! She comes in the form of the ICONIC Jane Garvey: broadcaster extraordinaire, host of Radio 4's Woman's Hour and one-half of the brilliant podcasting duo, Fortunately...with Fi and Jane. I couldn't have asked for a better guest to bring this season to a close. (Well, I suppose I could have asked, but the point is, no-one would have been able to fulfil that request). Jane so engaged with the premise of How To Fail that she sent not three but seven failures over email, saying she was 'struggling to narrow it down' and that it was up to me to choose which ones we talked about. We talk about her failure to listen, her tendency never to be seen to be trying too hard in case she doesn't succeed and her failure to appreciate fully what women were really up against in terms of equal pay at the BBC, partly because of what she sees as her own internalised misogyny and self-acknowledged white privilege. Most poignantly, Jane talks about her three miscarriages, and the long-felt emotional impact of each one. As anyone who has ever been through it will know, having a miscarriage is a specific form of grief that is difficult to describe but Jane articulates her feelings so beautifully that I know her story will be a great help to many of us.'All sounds a but whiny,' she signed off her email, 'but I’m actually a laugh when I try!!' You are indeed Jane. You're HILARIOUS. But you're also someone who isn't afraid to go deep and we're so grateful for it. I'll be taking a little break now but will be back in January with eight more fabulous guests. I'm deeply appreciative of everyone who has listened, downloaded, rated, reviewed and subscribed. You make me very happy (and, on a practical note, you also make it more financially feasible for me to carry on doing this so YAY for that). Until next year: thank you and keep failing better!*  Looking for a Christmas present? THEN LOOK NO FURTHER THAN MY MEMOIR, the Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong which is available here. * You can listen to Fortunately...with Fi and Jane here *  This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Jane Garvey @janegarvey1 Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

1hr

20 Nov 2019

Rank #6

Podcast cover

S6, Ep2 How to Fail: Alain De Botton

This week on How To Fail, we are doing something slightly different. I know, I know, we don't like change, but sometimes IT'S GOOD FOR US. It's especially good for us when it comes in the form of Alain de Botton, one of the most intelligent, eloquent and thoughtful people on the planet. And because it's Alain de Botton, modern philosopher, founder of The School of Life and bestselling authors of life-changing books such as Essays In Love, I decided to allow him a little leeway. Instead of choosing personal failures, Alain wanted to talk about three philosophical 'failure concepts' and I'm so glad he did, because it led to one of the most fascinating and enlightening discussions I've ever had on the topic. We discuss the idea that we can be good people and yet fail, and the concept (which I'm forever banging on about) that failure is the norm, and that we should find contentment in the average rather than constantly expecting the exceptional. He also has brilliant insights into why romantic break-ups are not, in and of themselves, tragic, because each relationship teaches you something you need to know, and when the time is right, it is ok to move on. Along the way, I also ask him about X Factor, so fear not, I'm there to pepper his brilliance with my usual lowbrow content, as per. It was such a delight to meet Alain. An hour in his company left my brain fizzing with new (and reassuring) ideas, and I hope it has the same effect on you. * The new book from The School of Life, co-authored and introduced by Alain de Botton, is out now and available to buy here.  * I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail *  The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here. * This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Alain de Botton @alaindebotton Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

54mins

2 Oct 2019

Rank #7

Podcast cover

S7, Ep1 How to Fail: Andrew Scott

HAPPPPPY NEW YEAAARRRR! I hope you've woken up with a sense of rejuvenating freshness about the year ahead, but if you haven't - if you're hungover or feeling weird or sad or discombobulated or tired or like you haven't achieved enough - then fear not. You are simply caught up in this messy business of being human and that's fine. There is no need for a new year to mean a new you. The old you is great! The old you has stuff to say. And to remind you of this, I have the most wondrous of all special guests to help you usher in the first days of 2020. Andrew Scott, as well as being an utterly lovely person, is an astonishingly talented and versatile actor. Yeah, ok, you might just have heard of him from the little-known, moderately successful television show that is Fleabag, in which he played the Hot Priest and somehow made 'KNEEL' the sexiest word in the English language, but he's also been in Bond movies and Shakespeare plays and in some of the best television shows and films of the last decade. I'd list them all here but there wouldn't be enough room. He joins me to kick off a new decade and to talk about his failure at a drama competition aged 10 (a failure that ended up teaching him about the arbitrary nature of criticism), his failure to complete his degree and - his words - his 'failure to be heteronormative'. Along the way, we talk about the judgemental language of sexuality (why do gay people have to 'come out' when it implies you're hiding something? Why refer to someone as 'openly gay' when you wouldn't say 'openly Irish'? What does 'casual sex' really mean?), why acting should be playful, why growing older is an act of un-learning the things you think you know and why he still feels bad about a pizza delivery guy. I love this man. I know you will too. * The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out NOW in paperback and available to buy here. *  This episode is sponsored by Secret Spa - the mobile app that provides you with all your beauty treatments in the comfort of your own home. Now covering London and Manchester, for 15% off your first booking, use the code HOWTOFAIL on the app or via the website secretspa.co.uk * How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday ANDREW SCOTT IS NOT ON SOCIAL MEDIA. (Yet another reason to love him).

1hr 1min

1 Jan 2020

Rank #8

Podcast cover

S5, Ep3 How to Fail: Emeli Sandé

This week, I chat to the chart-topping singer Emeli Sandé about life, love, fame...and all the nitty gritty bits in between. Emeli has sold over 19 million singles, won four Brit Awards and is about to return after a three-year break with her hotly anticipated third album, Real Life. Her rise to fame was rapid and overwhelming. Celebrity, she says, took some time to get used to. She joins me to talk about her body image and the long journey to self-acceptance in an industry that frequently made her feel like she was never 'enough'. She talks about letting go of the need to be perfect, and embracing failure. Plus we discuss her visit to Zambia to reconnect with her family there, and what impact that had on her. Emeli also opens up for the first time about the breakdown of her marriage, to a man she had been with from the age of 17, and the feeling of shame she had about admitting she was getting divorced before being forced to confront herself as she really was. Emeli speaks as powerfully as she sings: like an old soul channeling all sorts of wisdom. I'm so grateful she came onto the podcast and I hope you get as much from it as I did. Thank you Emeli! *  I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail *  The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here. * How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Emeli Sandé's forthcoming album, Real Life, is out in September and is available to pre-order here *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Emeli Sande @emelisande Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio Naomi Mantin @naomimantin Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

44mins

10 Jul 2019

Rank #9

Podcast cover

S4, Ep8 How to Fail: Jamie Laing

'And now, the end is near / And so I face the final curtain...' Yes, it's the SEASON FINALE! I know, I know: it's gone so fast hasn't it? What's that they say about time flying when you're having fun calling your brain Becky? (That's a podcast in-joke, peeps, don't panic if you're a new subscriber and you haven't got a clue what I'm on about, but do check out my episode with Mo Gawdat, S4, Ep4). Anyway, don't be too sad because I have one solid-gold, cast-iron, brilliant guest for you to usher out this season. Step forward, Jamie Laing. Some of you might know him from E4's structured reality show, Made In Chelsea. Some of you might not watch reality television and believe it to be ushering in the end of days. But I implore you, even if you have no interest in the show and even if you've got preconceptions of who Jamie is, to give this episode a listen. He is such an sincere, funny, generous and self-aware person and so willing to talk openly about the times in his life when things didn't go according to plan that I truly think you will get a lot from it. Jamie joins me to talk about he impact of parental divorce, panic attacks, anxiety, sporting injury and what happens when your idea of your entire future seems to collapse. We also talk about why he's never managed to have a lasting long-term relationship. Along the way, he quotes life lessons learned from Socrates, William Blake and, that seminal 21st century philosopher, Lucy Watson. I hope you enjoy the final episode in this season. Thank you for all your incredible support. We'll be back in July with eight new fantastic guests for season five. In the meantime, if you felt like rating, reviewing and subscribing, I'd be eternally grateful. How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here. You can buy Jamie's delicious all-vegan Candy Kittens sweets here and you can listen to his and Frances Boulle's podcast, Private Parts, here. Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Jamie Laing @jamielaing_UK Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

56mins

22 May 2019

Rank #10

Podcast cover

SPECIAL EPISODE! How to Fail: Leanne Hainsby

It's the weirdest time of the year, when all the days become a formless sludge and we start to miss getting emails. Navigating the days between Christmas and New Year can be tricky at the best of times, but in 2020 there's an extra layer of WTAF. So I knew I wanted to talk to someone motivating, but not annoying; someone who could nudge us gently into 2021, without making us feel like we weren't already good enough; someone sweet and funny who wasn't smug; someone who, in short, is as sceptical about New Year's resolutions as I am and can instead make us all feel better about who we are right now. That person is Leanne Hainsby. Anyone who is lucky enough to own a Peloton will already know who Leanne is. Anyone who doesn't know what a Peloton is, well, it's basically a super-duper fixed exercise bike with a video screen that enables you to join live and on-demand classes given by amazing instructors. If you have never been on a Peloton and would rather chew your own feet than go to a spin class PLEASE STAY WITH ME. You don't need to have any prior knowledge to love Leanne Hainsby, I promise. She is the UK's first female Peloton instructor, a woman whose physical strength is matched only by her emotional authenticity. A former professional dancer for everyone from Katy Perry to Steps, she is kind, supportive, enthusiastic, funny, insightful and empathetic. Her trademark phrase, shouted through the screen to the hundreds of thousands of Peloton riders who join her classes, is 'Yes to you.' Leanne is, quite literally, my favourite person I haven't met yet. And so I wanted to introduce you all to her because she's a total gem. She joins me to talk about her failure to value herself in past relationships, her failure to be punctual and her failure to see herself beyond her problematic skin (such an interesting conversation). Along the way, we chat about music, cats, mood swings, how to exercise when you really don't feel like it and, yes, there might be a few details about her boyfriend (fellow UK Peloton instructor, Ben Alldis). Please have a listen even if you don't think this episode is for you. I promise you it will put a spring in your step. And if it doesn't, I'll give you your money back...oh now, hold on, this podcast is free so that's not possible. You see? Everyone's a winner! YES TO YOU! * If you're in the mood for an antidote to all the 'new year, new me' hype, I can entirely objectively (ahem) recommend my new book Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong which explains why I hate New Year's resolutions and which also contains 7 Failure Principles developed from two-and-bit years worth of accumulated podcast wisdom. * This episode is not sponsored, but I did want to flag a new book by Samaritans out on 7th January. How To Listen comes with a preface by Michael Palin and includes helpful tips from trained Samaritans on how to talk about how we are feeling, as well as how to listen to one another in a way that can prevent day-to-day concern or worry from escalating into more complex emotions. You can (pre)order your copy here. * How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com * Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday How To Fail @howtofailpod  Leanne Hainsby @leannehainsby

56mins

30 Dec 2020

Rank #11

Podcast cover

S5, Ep6 How to Fail: Samin Nosrat

Oh, Samin Nosrat! Where do I start? With her ebullient personality and wildly infectious laugh? With her four-part Netflix show, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat where she travels the world eating freshly baked focaccia and Japanese seaweed? Or with the award-winning, bestselling cookbook of the same name, that revolutionised the way we thought about food? I don't know where to start. So let me just tell you that she is one of the bubbliest, most open and generous interviewees I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. She joins me to talks about growing up in San Diego, the child of Iranian parents, who was 'the only brown kid' in her school, and what this sense of outsidership taught her. She talks about overnight fame, and the weirdness that comes with that, as well as failing to write, what happens when your business fails and the one memorable time she burned the sauce for a dinner she was cooking for Hillary Clinton. Oh, and the story of how she got the description of osmosis wrong in the science part of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and was berated by critics. Also the way she talks about cassoulet will probably leave you feeling very hungry. Thank you so much Samin for coming on my podcast! * Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat is published by Canongate and is available to order here * I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail *  The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here. * How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Samin Nosrat @ciaosamin Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio Naomi Mantin @naomimantin Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

53mins

31 Jul 2019

Rank #12

Podcast cover

S6, BONUS EPISODE! How to Fail: Lemn Sissay

For this extra-special bonus episode, I'm delighted to welcome Lemn Sissay to the podcast. Lemn is a poet, author and broadcaster whose memoir, My Name Is Why, is one of the most moving I have ever read. In it, he writes about his childhood - the son of Ethiopian parents who was wrongly given up for adoption as a baby and fostered by a white, working-class family in Lancashire. At the age of 12, he was told by his adoptive family that they would be putting him in a children's home and would never contact him again. He spent the next five years in a succession of brutal institutions during which he had a mental breakdown. In these dark times, the light of his poetry began to form. It is astonishing, then, that Lemn is such a gloriously expansive interviewee. You know when people talk about good energy? Lemn has good energy by the bucketload. There is not a trace of bitterness in his demeanour, in spite of what he has been through, and he's unafraid to be vulnerable and honest, even though his early life was a succession of betrayals. He joins me to talk about his failure to belong to the family he spent his life searching for, his failure to marry or have children (Lemn is the first male guest to have chosen this as a failure, which in itself is pretty fascinating), why he gave up drinking and his failure to be the poet he wishes he could be. Along the way, we talk about the power of human resilience and what family really means. Oh, and his dislike of cauliflower. This is a deeply inspiring and humbling interview. You might want to have the tissues ready. * The How To Fail Live tour is almost over. SNIFF! There are limited tickets left for Belfast with Sinead Burke (14th November) and Gateshead (8th December). Dublin with Amy Huberman (15th November) has SOLD OUT! Thank you! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail *  The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay is out now, published by Canongate, and available to order here * This BONUS SPECIAL episode of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is sponsored by Sceptre, publishers of The Scriptures by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. This is the complete Fleabag. Every word. Every side-eye. Every fox. Out now. Available from Waterstones, online, and all good bookshops. Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Lemn Sissay @lemnsissay Sceptre Books @sceptrebooks

50mins

12 Nov 2019

Rank #13

Podcast cover

S4, Ep3 How to Fail: Tracey Thorn

My guest this week is the fantastic Tracey Thorn, who I basically grew up listening to. She was one-half of Everything But The Girl, guest vocalist on Massive Attack's phenomenal Protection album and lately has launched her own solo career alongside writing three critically acclaimed memoirs, the latest of which, Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia has won rave plaudits from Julie Burchill, David Nicholls and Dolly Alderton, to name but a few. Tracey joins me to talk about failing to get into the university of her choice (but meeting her husband as a consequence so...y'know...swings and roundabouts), being an utterly terrible driver, as well as living with stage fright and bouts of serious anxiety that have shaped much of her life. Our chat also takes in the jostle between career and motherhood (three kids, including twins), the difficulty of understanding our own parents, the experience of ageing as a woman and why she'd never, ever consider growing her hair long. I'm so grateful to Tracey for being so warm and generous and to Teatulia in Covent Garden for lending us their beautiful tea-shop for the recording. Teatulia sells a wonderful range of teas, some of which you can buy online here, and also makes absurdly good tea-based cocktails. Do pay them a visit if you're ever in the area. Tracey's Sunday Times Top 10 bestselling memoir, Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia, is out now published by Canongate and is available to order here How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out nowand is available to pre-order here. *IMPORTANT NEWS KLAXON*  I’m doing a live How To Fail With Elizabeth Day event on 5th May at The Bridge Theatre in London with ZAWE ASHTON (who is amazing). There are still some tickets available here.  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Tracey Thorn @tracey_thorn Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

44mins

17 Apr 2019

Rank #14

Podcast cover

S3, Ep8 How to Fail: Pandora Sykes

This week I get to interview one of my favourite fellow podcasters: Pandora Sykes is a journalist,  co-host of The High Low and all-round woman of impeccable taste (I mean, she must be to have agreed to come on How To Fail, right?)  Sykes is also a contributing editor at Man Repeller and Elle magazine and writes regularly for other publications. Her High Low co-host, Dolly Alderton, is a former How To Fail guest and - fun fact - Dolly's episode is the most downloaded OF ALL TIME. I'm so happy Pandora agreed to come on the podcast and to talk eloquently and insightfully about not fitting in with friends at school, being fired from an internship in her 20s and 'failing to harness/ contain my brain after having a baby' even though, on the surface, her life seemed to be picture-perfect. Her words will carry so much resonance for so many of us and I loved doing this interview (partly because I got to nose around Pandora's beautiful house and to meet her mother who was as terrific as you'd expect and makes a mean sausage plait). If you haven't listened to The High Low, hello who are you and what are you doing and please download it right now. It's a brilliant weekly take on high and low-brow news and culture. You can order Pandora's essay, The Authentic Lie, via the crowd-funded publisher The Pound Project. (Full disclosure: I wrote the foreword). The book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day is available to pre-order here. Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Pandora Sykes @pinsykes The High Low @thehighlowshow Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

51mins

20 Feb 2019

Rank #15

Podcast cover

S6, Ep1 How to Fail: Camilla Thurlow

We're back! Did you miss us? Go on...say you did. I'm really very, very needy. It's such a treat for me to be opening season six with a truly fantastic guest: Camilla Thurlow. Camilla was always one of the most genuine and impressive contestants on ITV2's hit reality show, Love Island. A former bomb disposal expert who worked in life and death situations in Cambodia and Afghanistan, she came second in the 2017 series. Instead of launching a clothing line or advertising detox tummy teas, Camilla went on to use her new-found public platform to talk about issues close to her heart: namely, the immigration crisis and mental health. Her first trip after Love Island was to a refugee camp with the contestant she coupled up with, Jamie Jewitt (oh, and by the way, they are still together). Set aside any preconceptions you might have about reality TV and listen to the wisdom this extraordinary woman imparts about love, loss and human connection. We talk about her periods of extreme anxiety and panic as she was forced to confront who she really was rather than the Camilla she was trying to be. We talk about the challenges of public expectation and the fear of not living up to other people's idea of her. We talk about social media, turning 30 and her ingrained fear of making a fool of herself. We also talk about a near-fatal car accident and the unexpected lessons it taught her. I am so grateful to Camilla for opening up to me and for showing that strength comes through an acknowledgement of - and respect for - vulnerability. I know that you will find so much to relate to in what she says. Thank you for listening. It's great to be back. * I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail *  The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here. * This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Camilla Thurlow @camillathurlow Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

57mins

25 Sep 2019

Rank #16

Podcast cover

S2, Ep7 How to Fail: Tara Westover

This week, I bring you a truly incredible woman. Her name is Tara Westover. She wrote a memoir called Educated, which is quite simply one of the best books I have ever read: profound, moving, unerringly original. It tells the story of Westover's upbringing, born the seventh child of Mormon survivalist parents who didn't believe in public schooling or mainstream medicine. It wasn't until she was 17 that Westover decided to educate herself - with astonishing results. We talk about what it's like to love your family but to be estranged from them, and how the two ideas can co-exist. We also discuss how on earth someone teaches themselves algebra ('Yeah,' says Westover, 'that wasn't fun') and what it was like to refuse any pain medication despite having a dental abscess. Her failures include flunking tests, finding it difficult to make friends, her failure to believe in her family's religion even though she wanted to and her failure to make her relationship with her parents work. She also quotes John Stuart Mill on feminism and it's completely brilliant. This was one of those very special interviews where I felt my mind expanding just from the privilege of listening to her speak. I hope you enjoy it too. How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books Educated by Tara Westover is out now published by Penguin Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Tara Westover @tarawestover Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

48mins

14 Nov 2018

Rank #17

Podcast cover

S7, Ep2 How to Fail: Malcolm Gladwell

**TW: contains references to police brutality against Black people** My guest this week is Malcolm Gladwell, a man who has challenged and changed the way we think with six bestselling books including The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers. Gladwell also hosts his own highly successful podcast, Revisionist History and is basically 98% brain. Obviously this makes him quite an intimidating prospect to interview, but luckily he was extremely nice and, as luck would have it, his new book is all about how we can best talk to strangers. It is called, appropriately enough, Talking To Strangers, and I found it a fascinating read, written in Gladwell's trademark style which combines academic research with humour, insight and journalistic expertise, all of which makes for a curiously propulsive narrative. Malcolm really engaged with the idea of this podcast and came up with three highly thoughtful failures, including a professional low-point which caused him public embarrassment and a deeply felt failure to stand by an alcoholic friend. We also chat about running, faith and whether prejudice can ever be a force for good. Talking to Malcolm for an hour felt like plunging into a freezing pool and emerging zingily refreshed from the experience. It was thought-provoking in the best, most meaningful way and I hope it stimulates you as much as it did me. * The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now in paperback and available to buy here. * Talking To Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell is published by Penguin Books and is available to buy here.  *  This episode is sponsored by MEYA, a new meditation app that uses the power of music to switch you into a meditative state. Download the app here to experience the power of MEYA mind journeys and a new way to fit meditation into your daily routine this January.  * How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Malcolm Gladwell @gladwell MEYA @meya_app

46mins

8 Jan 2020

Rank #18

Podcast cover

S4, Ep4 How to Fail: Mo Gawdat

Just occasionally in life, you meet someone who changes your way of thinking about the world. The shift might be subtle or it might be seismic, but afterwards, you are never quite the same again. This is what happened to me when my path crossed with that of Mo Gawdat who spoke to me about what it is to live a contented life in a way that had an immediate and practical impact on my outlook. Gawdat is the former chief business officer at Google X (Google's so-called 'moonshot factory' responsible for off-the-wall ideas such as self-driving cars and a balloon-powered internet) but for a long time in his life, despite having professional, personal and material success, he realised he wasn't happy. So he set about solving this problem by applying his scientific research skills to the issue: how can one individual be happy? After 12 years, he developed an algorithm for happiness, eventually arriving at an equation which states simply that happiness is greater than, or equal to, your perception of the events in your life minus your expectation of how life should be. He even wrote a book about it, Solve For Happy, which became an international bestseller. Gawdat joins me to talk about how that algorithm was put to the ultimate test when his beloved 21-year-old son Ali died in tragic circumstances. We talk about how to survive depression and grief; how happiness is like fitness; how to cope with break-ups; why social media is driving us further apart and what to do about it; why life is like a computer game; the illusion of time and why we should always, always be polite to Siri. This episode is slightly longer than normal just because I didn't want to cut any of it. I hope you take as much from Mo's words as I have. Solve For Happy: Engineer Your Path To Joy by Mo Gawdat is available to order here. How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out nowand is available to pre-order here. *IMPORTANT NEWS KLAXON*  I’m doing a live How To Fail With Elizabeth Day event on 5th May at The Bridge Theatre in London with ZAWE ASHTON (who is amazing). There are still some tickets available here.  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio 4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

1hr

24 Apr 2019

Rank #19

Podcast cover

S6, Ep6 How to Fail: George Alagiah

For 15 years, George Alagiah has been a familiar face on our television screens as the presenter of the BBC's Six O'Clock News. Before that, he was one of the corporation's most respected foreign correspondents. Before that, he was born in what was then Ceylon, the only boy in a family of four sisters, and was sent to boarding school in England at the age of 12. George joins me to talk about his self-perceived failures at fatherhood, the challenges of reporting from the front-line in times of humanitarian crisis, his nuanced relationship with racial identity and how he dealt with racist incidents in his youth. He also talks movingly about his bowel cancer diagnosis in 2014, which has seen him undergo over 40 rounds of chemotherapy and make his peace with death. What struck me most about George was his elegance: in person, but also in expression. He has no anger or bitterness or stored-up resentment, and this to me is the definition of a quiet sort of heroism. (Obviously I also asked him about BBC equal pay and if he'd watched Anchorman.) I loved this interview. It moved me and made me think. I hope it does the same to you. * The How To Fail Live tour is almost over. SNIFF! There are limited tickets left for Belfast with Sinead Burke (14th November) and Gateshead with Jess Phillips MP (8th December). Dublin with Amy Huberman (15th November) has SOLD OUT! Thank you! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail *  The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here. * George Alagiah's novel, The Burning Land, is out now and available here. *  This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com *  Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday George Alagiah @BBCAlagiah Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

46mins

30 Oct 2019

Rank #20