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Fall of Failure #8: Brian Oliu and the Psychology of Failure

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Helloooooooo, Book Fighters! Welcome to the final week of our Fall of Failure! Yes, yes, we know it’s actually winter now. But this is how our schedule worked out. And we recorded this episode in the tail end of fall. And also get off our damn backs already.

This week’s reading is an unconventional essay by Brian Oliu called “As Is.” The piece is constructed like an ebay listing for Oliu’s body, including its history, its uses, and its defects. We talk about ways to experiment with narrative form without being gimmicky, and how experiments in form can open up your writing.

Also this week, we’re wrapping up our discussion of failure by talking about the psychology of failure. Why do we insist on attaching a narrative to our personal and collective failures, and what can we learn from the particular narrative we choose to attach? We talk about the linguistic history of the word “failure” itself, and how it changed over the course of the 19th century in America, when business failures became inextricably linked with personal and moral failures. Here’s a link to check out the book Mike talked about–highly recommended!–called Born Losers: A History of Failure in America.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, by clicking on the little player thingy below. Or download the mp3 file. You can also visit us in the iTunes store, or through just about any of the available podcast apps, where you can subscribe (for free) and never miss another episode.

If you want to check out the Fall of Failures playlist Mike compiled on Spotify, you can see/hear it here.


Download Fall of Failure #8 (right-click, save-as)

We always welcome your feedback on what we talked about on the show. You can email us, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment here on the episode post. Thanks for listening!


Author: mikeingram25

writer, editor

One thought on “Fall of Failure #8: Brian Oliu and the Psychology of Failure

  1. Pingback: Fall of Failure #8: Brian Oliu and the Psychology of Failure - Foxhead Books

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