Sometimes the only way to succeed is by screwing up. Failure is a tricky beast that catapults some on to bigger and better successes, but flaws others, inhibiting progress. Sarah Lewis looks at the phenomenon of failure, and shows how to deal with it, and how to convert it into something meaningful and valuable, unlocking a potential you never before knew existed. At her Harvard University commencement address, Sarah Lewis heard a writer begin by expressing gratitude for the invitation and the "fear" and "nausea" it had occasioned. She then offered the crowd a detailed account of her "epic" setbacks. It surprised many to hear that "rock bottom" as she put it, "became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." She didn't have to say that she had since become one of the world's best selling authors and the richest woman in England. J.K. Rowling pressed on. Experiencing failure, she argued, offered a wisdom that she could have discovered no other way. Inspired by that speech, this is a book about conversion, not about defeat. It is about the story that neuroscience, psychology, and biography together are telling us about human capacity. The chapters of Rise focus on the four main strategies that are common to this process: the powerful experience of failing after a near win, cognitive reframing, perceptual gains, and conversion. There are advantages to having certain opportunities. This book asks that we expand the idea of opportunity to include its seeming opposite. How, exactly, does a setback become an aide, even an accelerant? In recent years, science and biography together have begun to offer a more complete response than Lincoln could give that young man, but with a surprisingly similar simplicity. How do we multiply something by zero and increase its value? As it turns out, there is a way.
'Sarah Lewis has assembled a rich trove of reflections not just on creativity but on the too-often ignored role that failure and surrender play in almost any ambitious undertaking. That counter-intuitive point of attack makes 'The Rise' a welcome departure from standard accounts of artistry and innovation' Lewis Hyde, author of 'The Gift 'The Rise provides a map across the chasms of self-doubt that separate even the brightest, most ambitious people from success. Sarah Lewis' keen and generous insights will convince you that dead ends can have a dazzling afterlife, that failure can provide the impetus and the freedom to find mastery, innovation, even genius' Andrew Solomon, author of 'Far from the Tree' 'Like Malcolm Gladwell, Sarah Lewis brilliantly takes complex ideas and makes them easy to follow, making it possible for us to see the world in a brand-new way' Edwidge Danticat, author of 'Create Dangerously'