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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day

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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.

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.
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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.




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...


S4, Ep7 How to Fail: Nesrine Malik

This week on the podcast, I'm delighted to welcome the brilliant Nesrine Malik, a British-Sudanese writer and newspaper columnist who has recently been longlisted for the prestigious Orwell Prize and whose forthcoming book, We Need New Stories, is a riveting assault on our tired old ideologies. (She's also really funny, by the way.) Nesrine joins me to talk about the not-so-terrible-yet-somehow-devastating shame of not getting the A-grade she was predicted in her GCSE English (a failure so...


S4, Ep6 How to Fail: Andy McNab

You could say that my guest this week became famous because of failure. Andy McNab led the Bravo Two Zero SAS mission during the first Gulf War but his team was compromised soon after they were dropped into Iraq in 1991. This was the most horrific kind of failure. It resulted in the deaths of three of the squad, a cat-and-mouse chase across the desert and McNab's eventual capture. He withstood six weeks of torture and imprisonment, later turning his harrowing experiences into the bestselling...


S4, Ep5 How to Fail: Charly Cox

I have my FIRST POET on the podcast this week - and my, what a poet. Charly Cox is not only a beautiful soul but a beautiful chronicler of what it is to be human. Her first collection, She Must Be Mad, became the bestselling poetry debut of 2018 and Cox was named by Elle magazine as one of their 20 ‘power players’ of the year. Although still only 23, she's accumulated an astonishing store of wisdom and I was so, so happy to have her on the podcast because what Charly has to say is deeply...


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'...


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...


S4, Ep2 How to Fail: John Crace

My guest this week is John Crace, one of our foremost journalists and critics. Probably best known for his role at the Guardian as parliamentary sketch-writer (it was he who famously coined the term ‘Maybot’ to describe our besieged Prime Minister’s rather…um…mechanical response to crisis) and as the author of the brilliant Digested Read column, which takes the book of the moment and distils it into a hysterically funny parody. John joins me to talk about being a heroin addict for 10 years....


S4, Ep1 How to Fail: Vicky McClure

We’re baaaaaack! And to celebrate our fourth season, please welcome the one, the only, VICKY MCCLURE. You’re in for a treat with this one. Vicky is not only one of my favourite actresses but also one of my favourite people, as genuine as she is talented, and a total delight to interview. She’s probably most famous for her role as police officer Kate Fleming in Line of Duty, which kicked off again in spectacular style on Sunday night (did you watch the first episode? Could you follow what...


S3, Ep9 How to Fail: Haemin Sunim

Sniff. Sob. Wail and gnashing of teeth. Yes, it’s the SEASON THREE FINALE already - how did that happen? For our final episode in this series, I had the great privilege of talking to Haemin Sunim, one of the most influential Zen Buddhist teachers in the world. He is a Korean ‘super-monk’ - so-called because he has over one million followers on Twitter and because his books have become instant global bestsellers. His latest, Love For Imperfect Things, is a guide to self-acceptance in which...


S3 BONUS EPISODE How to Fail: Kristen Roupenian

Ahead of next week's season finale, I offer you, my wonderful listeners, a whole new BONUS EPISODE. I know, I'm too good to you, I really am. No, but honestly, thank you so much for your continued support - for all those lovely messages, ratings and reviews. I appreciate it so, so much. Here, by way of a thank you is the amazing Kristen Roupenian, author of the viral short story sensation Cat Person, and an all-round brilliant woman who has such interesting things to say about...


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...


S3, Ep7 How to Fail: Sharmaine Lovegrove

This week on How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, my guest is the brilliant Sharmaine Lovegrove. Sharmaine is a champion of stories. As a publisher, she heads up her own imprint, Dialogue Books, at Little, Brown and has been instrumental in bringing more diverse voices into print. But Sharmaine is also one of the most dynamic and inspiring women I've ever had the privilege of meeting. This is a woman who survived a challenging childhood and ended up living on the streets while studying for her...


S3, Ep6 How to Fail: James O'Brien

Today's guest is quite possibly one of the most intimidating people to interview given his own reputation as a fearsome interrogator. But fine, I'll give it a go. James O'Brien is an LBC radio presenter who hosts a daily phone-in discussion show which attracts a million listeners a week. Clips of him dismantling the ignorance and prejudice of politicians, bigots and racists with his customary cool, hard logic have gone viral on more than one occasion. His first book, How To Be Right In A...


S3, Ep 5 How to Fail: Raven Smith

This week my guest is Raven Smith who, as well as having one of the best names dot dot dot EVER is also the funniest man on Instagram (it's true, don't @ me). Smith is a columnist for British Vogue, a guest lecturer at Central Saint Martins and is currently working on his first book: Raven Smith’s Trivial Pursuits, a guide to modern life which covers everything from Ikea meatballs to Ant & Dec and which promises to be just as funny and irreverent as the man himself. We talk about Smith's...


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...


S3; Ep3 How to Fail: Jonny Benjamin

Ok, so full disclosure: I cried during this interview. You will quite possibly cry too. You will quite possibly need a box of tissues next to you as you listen. And you will quite possibly leave feeling enlightened and uplifted by the magical, gorgeous man that is Jonny Benjamin, MBE. Jonny is a mental health campaigner and someone with a truly extraordinary story to tell. In 2008, Jonny was 20 and standing on the edge of Waterloo Bridge about to jump. A passing stranger noticed his...


S3, Ep2 How to Fail: Chris Patten

This week, my guest is the former politician Chris Patten. It's almost easier to list the high-powered offices of state he hasn't occupied than the ones he has. Patten was the 28th governor of Hong Kong, the former Chairman of the BBC, the current Chancellor of Oxford University. For 13 years, he was the Conservative MP for Bath before losing his seat in the 1992 election - one of the incidences of failure he discusses on this episode. At 74, Patten has published seven books, gained a...


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...


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)....


How to Fail: David Baddiel

For the season two finale of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, I speak to David Baddiel: comedian, author and co-writer of the best unofficial football anthem of all time (Three Lions, people). It was an interview that almost didn't happen because of his FAILURE to find a parking space near my flat. But we ended up piling into his Audi and driving to his house instead, so it all worked out in the end. We discuss a horrendous corporate gig that almost put Baddiel off comedy altogether...