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Grant number like: FZ-250414-16

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Costica Bradatan
Texas Tech University System (Lubbock, TX 79409-0006)

Public Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2017 – 5/31/2018

In Praise of Failure

Offering a series of biographical essays on historical figures and their failures, the book explains how living with failure adds meaning to life.  The figures to be treated include Diogenes, E.M. Cioran, Gandhi, Che Guevara, and Yukio Mishima.

"In Praise of Failure" (under contract with Harvard University Press) makes the argument that, because of our culture’s obsession with success, we miss something important about what it means to be human, and deny ourselves access to a deeper, more meaningful layer of our humanity. A sense of what we are in the grand scheme of things, an openness towards the unknown and the mysterious, humility and reverence towards that which transcends and overwhelms us, the wisdom that comes from knowledge of one’s limits, the sense of personal redefining and self-fashioning that results from an encounter with a major obstacle – these are some of the rewards that a proper grasp of failure could bring about. Using a mix of phenomenology, intellectual history, biography, and cultural hermeneutics, the book proposes the notion that not only can we live with failure, we can also flourish; not only doesn’t failure kill us, but it can help us live more meaningful lives.