by Costica Bradatan
Harvard University Press, 2023
Paper: 978-0-674-29720-3 | eISBN: 978-0-674-28735-8 | Cloth: 978-0-674-97047-2
Library of Congress Classification BF575.F14B73 2023
Dewey Decimal Classification 158.1


A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

“Charming and brilliant.” —Times Literary Supplement

“Provocative, stimulating, wise―the book that our success-obsessed age needs to read.”―Tom Holland

“Bradatan, a philosopher, writes with elegance and wit, his every thought and sentence slipping smoothly into the next…I was absorbed by Bradatan’s book even—or especially—when I felt uncomfortable with its implications.” —Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

“Bradatan wears his erudition lightly. He is a pleasure to read, and his prose conveys a happy resilience in the face of life’s inevitable contradictions. His lessons in humility remind us that the pursuit of success is often motivated by the dread of failure—and that our attempts to create things are often driven by an avoidance of our mortality.” —Michael S. Roth, Washington Post

“Bradatan writes with the same daring, the same interpretive anger that made his subjects notorious in their own day for choosing failure over what their respective worlds counted as success. A gripping read, start to finish.” ―Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography

Our obsession with success is hard to overlook. Everywhere we compete, rank, and measure. Yet this relentless drive to be the best blinds us to something vitally important: the need to be humble in the face of life’s challenges.

In Praise of Failure explores several arenas of failure, from the social and political to the spiritual and biological. Gleefully breaching the boundaries between argument and storytelling, scholarship and spiritual quest, Costica Bradatan mounts his case for failure through the stories of four historical figures who led lives of impact and meaning and assiduously courted failure. Their struggles show that engaging with our limitations can be not just therapeutic but positively transformative.

See other books on: Existentialism | Failure | Philosophers | Praise | Spirituality
See other titles from Harvard University Press