Failure is not defeat but a key step on the road to success and happiness, according to this self-help work.
Debut author Bankoski aims to empower people to make better decisions. Her model, which she calls the “Choice Cycle,” is drawn from the business world, but she argues that the same principles companies use to manage resources can also “influence many of our life decisions and to guide behavior to improve our lives.” Everyone draws on what resources are available to them, including money, relationships, and time, when making decisions. Bankoski breaks the decision process down into five stages: “pause,” “learn,” “act,” “correct,” “control,” and “confess.” After one’s resources are depleted without success, one must admit failure and begin the process again, she says. But although failure is seen by most as something to avoid, Bankoski views it as a key part of the Choice Cycle and a necessary prerequisite to joy, which comes when one finally recognizes “that there are new opportunities for success.” The author’s effort to redefine failure in a positive light, while not unique, may cheer readers who become discouraged when things don’t work out in their lives. In her introduction, she frames her book as a general self-help guide for people looking to improve their lives, but at times, it reads more like a resource for managers and business owners, as when the author points out that “Organizations function best when the vision, mission, and values are written to be clear to all, shared and understood.” The illustrations, while helpful in visualizing the different parts of the Choice Cycle, also look very much like a PowerPoint presentation. More concrete examples of people achieving “joy after failure” would have been welcome as well. However, Bankoski hits her stride in the final chapter, when she makes an impassioned call for people to band together to change old habits and end old prejudices.
A slim book with an encouraging take on failure that might have benefited from the inclusion of more actionable advice.