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Failing Forward

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Failing Forward

Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success

HarperCollins Leadership,

15 min read
19 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

 Baseball’s best hitters fail in two out of three at-bats, proving that great success can come from failure.

Editorial Rating



  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Baseball slugger Tony Gwynn won eight batting titles in 20 seasons with the San Diego Padres. His .338 lifetime batting average means he failed to get a hit during approximately 67% of his at-bats. To further break that down, Gwynn had 9,288 turns at bat, but he failed to get a hit 6,147 times. Yet he established himself as one of Major League Baseball’s greatest hitters of all time. Gwynn proves that failure can generate great success. Prolific leadership author John C. Maxwell sets out a program that teaches how successful people use failure as a stepping stone to lifetime achievement. His message: Don’t fail backward; fail forward and learn to attain your goals. 


Millionaire entrepreneur Dave Anderson failed forward a few times before he triumphed.

Few people have failed as often or as spectacularly as entrepreneur Dave Anderson. A Native American from the Choctaw and Chippewa tribes, Anderson graduated from high school in Chicago in 1971. Soon after, he heard a speech by motivational author Zig Ziglar, who promised that if you have faith in yourself, you will achieve your goals. Inspired and intrigued, Anderson listened to Ziglar’s audio tapes every night for six months.  

Anderson’s father, a construction worker, invested a hard-earned $2,500 to help his son launch a business that quickly went bust. Anderson then spent several years at college only to end up with either terrible grades or incompletes. More failures followed, including a bankruptcy.At one point, Anderson was so broke he had to take his wife’s jewelry to a pawn shop and hock it for cash they desperately needed.

When Anderson began selling paper cups to restaurants his hard work, resilience and determination finally paid off. While working in the company’s last-place sales territory...

About the Author

Bestselling leadership author John C. Maxwell has sold more than 26 million books in 50 languages. His books include The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You; Developing the Leader Within You 2.0; The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential; Leadership 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know; The Self-Aware Leader: Play to Your Strengths and Unleash Your Team; Winning With People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time; and many more.  

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