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  • Published: 12 September 2023
  • ISBN: 9781847943774
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Press
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $40.00

Right Kind of Wrong

Why Learning to Fail Can Teach Us to Thrive




We all fail sometimes. Now, a world-leading Harvard professor reveals how these failures can lead us to happier, more successful lives - provided we know how to learn from them.

'A masterclass' Angela Duckworth, author of Grit

We used to think of failure as a problem, to be avoided at all costs. Now, we're often told that failure is desirable - that we must 'fail fast, fail often'. The trouble is, neither approach distinguishes the good failures from the bad. As a result, we miss the opportunity to fail well.

Here, Amy Edmondson - the world's most influential organisational psychologist - reveals how we get failure wrong, and how to get it right. She draws on a lifetime's research into the science of 'psychological safety' to show that the most successful cultures are those in which you can fail openly, without your mistakes being held against you. She introduces the three archetypes of failure - simple, complex and intelligent - and explains how to harness the revolutionary potential of the good ones (and eliminate the bad). And she tells vivid stories ranging from the history of open heart surgery to the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, all to ask a simple, provocative question: What if it is only by learning to fail that we can hope to truly succeed?

  • Published: 12 September 2023
  • ISBN: 9781847943774
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Press
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $40.00

About the author

Amy Edmondson

Amy Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School. Renowned for her world-leading research into the concept of psychological safety, Edmondson has been named by Thinkers50 as the most influential management thinker in the world. Her work has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Psychology Today and Harvard Business Review, and been drawn upon by companies including Google and Microsoft. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Praise for Right Kind of Wrong

With great clarity and insight, Amy Edmondson shows us how we can make room for failure, recognizing that our emotions and personal needs are part of the solution. Right Kind of Wrong will inspire you to do your boldest work.

Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar and author of CREATIVITY, INC.

The best book ever written on learning from failure by the researcher who taught millions of us about the power of psychological safety in our workplaces. Right Kind of Wrong is packed with Amy Edmondson's relentless wisdom and warmth, and above all, proven solutions that will help you build teams and companies where we fallible humans can thrive.

Robert Sutton, Stanford professor and author of THE NO ASSHOLE RULE

This book is as important as any I, among the most avid of readers, have ever encountered . . . I no less than guarantee Right Kind of Wrong will be a "game-changer." The result of serious study and application of this tome will be one of the most important steps in your professional life.

Tom Peters, author of IN SEARCH OF EXCELLENCE

A masterclass in navigating, and even seeking out, the inevitable failures that pave the way to success. The incomparable Amy Edmondson shows us how to see failures as beginnings rather than endings - and how to create the conditions for failing well. Comprehensive, clear, and full of real-world examples, a must-read for performers and leaders alike.

Angela Duckworth, author of GRIT

The noble failure is essential to innovation and growth. But what is the difference between the noble failure, the sloppy mistake, and blameworthy sabotage? How can you make sure you're creating the conditions for success? Right Kind of Wrong will help you take the kind of risks you have to take in order to succeed in your career and in life.

Kim Scott, author of RADICAL CANDOR

No skill in life is more important than learning from failure - and no one on earth knows more about it than Amy Edmondson. Drawing on her eye-opening evidence and rich practical experience, she offers a wealth of insight on how to take intelligent risks and bounce forward after setbacks. If everyone internalised the ideas in this important book, we would all be safer, smarter, and more successful.

Adam Grant, author of THINK AGAIN

Amy Edmondson, one of our finest business minds, offers a bold new perspective on human fallibility. With a graceful mix of scientific research and practical advice, she shows how to transform failure from an obstacle to a steppingstone - from a weight that holds us back to a wind that propels us forward. Right Kind of Wrong is guidebook for our times.

Daniel Pink, author of DRIVE

Unpicks a morass of confusion, contradiction and glib happy talk about the joys of failure . . . The timeworn euphemism for a screw-up is a "learning experience", but Edmondson’s story points to a broad truth about that cliché: neither organisations nor people can learn from their mistakes if they deny that the mistakes ever happened.

Financial Times

Absolutely outstanding . . . Full of really careful research, a pleasure to read, incredibly fluently written, full of interesting stories . . . This is the real deal.

Tim Harford, author of THE UNDERCOVER ECONOMIST

Lays out a clearer path about how to stop avoiding failure and take smarter risks.

Books of the Year, Financial Times

An excellent new guide to how to promote "intelligent failures" and learn from them . . . Her message is relevant not only to Silicon Valley bros, but also to anyone who has worked in any organisation, from hospitals (where Edmondson started her research) to consultancies . . . A useful template and taxonomy for failing well.

Financial Times

Entrepreneurs have generated a mass of platitudes about the need to "embrace" and "celebrate" failure. In this book, another finalist for FT/Schroders Business Book of the Year, the Harvard professor lays out a clearer path about how to stop avoiding failure and take smarter risks. One important step is to admit that you have made mistakes.

Financial Times, Best Books of 2023