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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.




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...


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...


How to Fail: Farrah Storr

Farrah Storr, the award-winning editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, is this week's guest on How To Fail With Elizabeth Day and I'm so thrilled to have her on as have basically been stalking her on Instagram for years. In person, she does not disappoint. We talk about the curse of perfectionism, the notion of having-it-all (ish) and Farrah's decision to be a child-free woman. We also cover her failures as a child carol singer (and why she still can't face doing karaoke because of it), being...


How to Fail: Alastair Campbell

This week How To Fail With Elizabeth Day welcomes Alastair Campbell to the confessional booth. The former spin doctor to Tony Blair (and inspiration for the character of foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker in The Thick Of It) talks movingly about his mental health breakdown in 1986, and how that changed the course of his life. He also discusses living with depression, admitting to an alcohol problem, almost crying on live TV and playing the bagpipes (not all at the same time). Along the way, we...


How to Fail: Otegha Uwagba

This week my guest is writer, podcaster and all-round megawatt woman, Otegha Uwagba. Otegha joins me to talk about her failures at getting a job, dealing with sexism at work, living with depression and why she just can't seem to help being petty on Twitter (her words). We also discuss racism and how she handles daily micro-aggressions: 'I’m so conscious to be overly polite if I encounter a sort of older white person lest they then leave with a bad impression of black people generally,'...


How to Fail: James Frey

This week on How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, we're joined by the author James Frey who also just so happens to be my first American guest (hello, USA! I heart you!). Frey has written four critically acclaimed novels, and his fifth - Katerina, a sweeping love story set between 2018 Los Angeles and 1992 Paris - has just been published. But he's probably as well known for his notoriety as his talent. In 2003, Frey published A Million Little Pieces, a memoir of his criminal past and addiction...


How to Fail: Mishal Husain

The wonderful Mishal Husain joins How To Fail With Elizabeth Day this week, which I'm very excited about because she's basically my long-time woman crush. Husain, who has been presenting Radio 4’s flagship Today programme since 2013 and is also one of our most recognisable and respected television broadcasters, joins me to talk about failing at university admissions, failing to get what she thought was her dream job, failing to ask the right questions in interviews and beating herself up...


How to Fail: Jessie Burton

We're BACK! How To Fail With Elizabeth Day returns for a second season, and to kick this one off, I'm joined by mega-star, besteslling author Jessie Burton. Burton's 2014 debut novel, The Miniaturist, was published in 38 countries and sold over a million copies and last Christmas, it was adapted into a sumptuous two-part BBC drama starring Romola Garai and Anya Taylor-Joy. Her secnd novel, The Muse, was a Sunday Times bestseller and Burton has just published her first book for children,...


How to Fail: End of Season 1

A thank you from Elizabeth for listening to the first season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day and a sneak peek of the guests lined up for season two. See you in October! How To Fail is hosted by Elizabeth Day and produced by Chris Sharp How To Fail is sponsored by Moorish The Party by Elizabeth Day is published by 4th Estate Social Media: Elizabeth Day @elizabday Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio Moorish @moorishhumous


How to Fail: Elizabeth Day

For the last episode of the first season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, our interviewee is…well…Elizabeth Day. Which means I’m currently writing shownotes about myself in the third person. Which is weird. Let me stop doing that. Over the course of the last eight weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to interview some truly wonderful, interesting, successful people, all of whom have opened up to me and made themselves vulnerable by discussing the place failure occupies in their lives. It...


How to Fail: David Nicholls

David Nicholls, bestselling novelist, critically acclaimed screenwriter, aspiring piano player and thoroughly nice man, joins How To Fail to talk about his myriad failures. You might not expect the author of One Day, which sold five million copies and was adapted into a film starring Anne Hathaway, to have much of an acquaintance with failure, but Nicholls insists there’s plenty to discuss. We touch on his failure to be an actor for 10 years (he was always the understudy; never the main...


How to Fail: Gina Miller

Political activist Gina Miller is best known for one major victory when she successfully took the government to court over the triggering of Article 50 to leave the European Union. But in this week’s How To Fail, she discusses the failures that led her to that point. In a frank and honest conversation with host Elizabeth Day, Gina talks about failing to graduate from law school, surviving an abusive marriage, raising a daughter with special needs and building up her emotional resilience so...


How to Fail: Olivia Laing

This week on How To Fail, we’re joined by the brilliant writer Olivia Laing. Her three critically-acclaimed works of non-fiction, To The River, The Trip to Echo Spring and The Lonely City, have explored themes of alcoholism, loneliness and suicide (and yet somehow manage to be deeply uplifting to read). Her recent debut novel, Crudo, has everyone from Jilly Cooper to Viv Albertine in veritable ecstasies. Olivia talks to us about losing her way in her 20s, how the torture of romantic...


How to Fail: Sathnam Sanghera

This week, journalist and author Sathnam Sanghera joins How To Fail and kicks off by saying how flattered he was to be asked to contribute to a podcast on failure because he hates hearing nice things said about himself. So that’s good. As well as discussing his failure to take a compliment, Sathnam talks movingly about growing up in a household where both his father and his sister had schizophrenia. At first, he tried to run away from accepting it and then when that didn’t work, he wrote...


How to Fail: Dolly Alderton

This week’s guest on How To Fail with Elizabeth Day is memoirist, podcaster and journalist Dolly Alderton. Dolly, the co-host of the utterly fantastic The High Low podcast and author of the brilliant Sunday Times bestseller Everything I Know About Love, talks about being rejected from Bristol University (and still feeling resentful of anyone she meets who went there), being ‘compassionately’ fired from a job she didn’t really want and what happens when you don’t meet the love of your life,...


How to Fail: Sebastian Faulks

Sebastian Faulks, bestselling novelist and author of Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, joins How To Fail to talk about his failure to win the Booker Prize (“the whole thing is absolutely ridiculous”), his sense of social isolation at boarding school and a period of depression at university he feels he has never fully recovered from. Along the way, he talks about what it really means to be a “successful” writer and whether it matters what other people think, as well as the time he failed his...


How To Fail - Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator and star of Fleabag, writer of Killing Eve, superstar feminist and human embodiment of a Star Wars droid, joins How To Fail to talk about how she failed at her 20s (but got lots of brilliant material from the terrible dates she endured), failing at drama school, terrible auditions (including one for Downton Abbey) and how her female best friend is quite possibly the love of her life. She also talks about emotional vulnerability, why women fail at anger and...