Episodes

  • GLORIA STEINEM. Gloria ACTUAL Steinem.

    For this very special bonus episode, I had the absolute honour of interviewing one of my all-time heroes, the feminist activist, writer and icon, Gloria Steinem. And yes, I'm still pinching myself.

    We talk about her failure to understand her mother, her failure to be at her father's deathbed and her failure to learn lessons quickly enough - yes, we go deep... She also talks to me about how, at the age of 86, she is joyfully outliving society's expectations of her; of how fear can often be a sign of growth (let that sink in), about how 'anger is an energy cell', about how we are 'linked not ranked', about not having children, about spending a lifetime combatting misogyny and racism and sexism and injustice, and about the counteracting forces of love and compassion and friendship which keep her going. If you've been watching the Mrs America miniseries about the battle for equality, then this is a MUST-LISTEN, even if I do say so myself.

    I love Steinem's work so much that I often quote her in my own - the book of How To Fail is a classic example (she's in the 'Anger' chapter) - and so to be given a chance to meet her, albeit remotely, was honestly a life highlight. She did not let me down. In fact, she exceeded my wildest expectations.

    Whoever said never meet your heroes clearly never met Gloria Steinem.

    *

    If you've enjoyed this season of How To Fail, you might like to join me for a livestream event I'm doing on 2nd October to mark the launch of my new book Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong You can book here

    *

    The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off, an illustrated collection of Steinem's best quotes, is out now and available to buy here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Gloria Steinem @gloriasteinem

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • It is the SEASON FINALE, BABY! I know, I know - it goes so quickly doesn't it? But here we are, two months after we started season eight, with a truly phenomenal guest. Bernardine Evaristo was the first black woman to win the Booker Prize, with her stunning novel, Girl Woman Other. She joins me to talk about her failure to be an actor, her failure to drive from London to Australia (hey, it happens to the best of us) and...brilliantly...her failure to be a lesbian. Along the way, we talk about writing, motivation, race, coercive control, age, gender and the courage she found to create her own work when none was offered to her. Bernardine is the embodiment of that overused term - an inspiration - and a truly jouyous interviewee. Thank you for listening!

    *

    If you've enjoyed this season of How To Fail, you might like to join me for a livestream event I'm doing on 2nd October to mark the launch of my new book Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong You can book here

    *

    Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo is available to buy here

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Bernardine Evaristo @bernardineevaristowriter

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • Missing episodes?

    Click here to refresh the feed.

  • Siena Castellon is my youngest ever guest. She's a 17-year-old activist and mentor. She is autistic, has dyslexia and dyspraxia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. And she's just published her first book.

    Her book, The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic, is a brilliant guide for neurodiverse girls navigating a neurotypical world. It is packed full of information and insight into many of the challenges that autistic teen girls face. There are sections on how to date, how to deal with social anxiety and sensory sensitivity and an analysis of the fact that autism is routinely underdiagnosed in girls (in Siena's words: 'we’re really good at hiding our autistic traits. In fact, we become so good at pretending to be “normal” that we convince everyone that we’re neurotypical.')

    Siena joins me to talk about being bullied at school, being misunderstood by teachers and failed by a mainstream education system that seemed unable to appreciate her difference. We discuss neurodiversity, sexism, dogs, prejudice, challenging the stereotypical 'Rainman' view of autism and why it's important to stand up for yourself. As Siena puts it: 'I've learnt that you can't assume that people experience the world the way you do and that it's important to express yourself to avoid people making untrue assumptions about you.'

    Siena is AMAZING. Listen to her and feel inspired (and also probably quite old).

    *

    The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic by Siena Castellon is out now and available to purchase here.

    *

    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Siena Castellon @NCWeek

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • This week, I bring you the utterly sensational Glennon Doyle. She is the author of three books, the latest of which, Untamed, is a memoir that defies easy categorisation - somewhat like the woman herself. Untamed is thrilling, original and brave. In it, Glennon dismantles our socialised preconceptions of what women should be and challenges us all to look at the boxes we're trapped in that are not of our own making. She joins me to talk about all of this, and about why women are taught to 'look outward for permission, approval and consent' when we should be looking 'inward for wisdom' (I KNOW! THIS IS GENUINELY HOW SHE SPEAKS!) But, don't worry, there's also plenty of amazing stuff in here whatever gender you are.

    We also discuss her failure to have a thick skin (and how she protects herself from judgement), her failure to keep her family together (and what this taught her about love) and her failure to be fully comfortable with her own body image (despite years of trying). Every sentence she utters contains a revelation, which is why when the time came to edit this interview I just...couldn't. So I've let it run at full length, with no cuts, exactly how it happened.

    Enjoy.

    *

    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Glennon Doyle @glennondoyle

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • Today's guest is someone I fell in platonic love with by reading her work. Julia Samuel is one of the country's leading psychotherapists but she is also well-known as an author. Her first book, Grief Works, was a Sunday Times bestseller and is routinely cited as one of the most helpful and compassionate books on bereavement you will ever read. Her second book, This Too Shall Pass, Stories of Change, Crisis and Hopeful Beginnings, was published just before lockdown and could not have been a more insightful guide to the uncertain times we all found ourselves in. Adwoa Aboah called it 'one of the most valuable books I've ever read', while my hero Esther Perel, said it was 'a remarkable portrayal of how we need to understand ourselves to truly heal'.

    She joins me to talk about failing exams, failed jobs, her self-perceived failures as a mother and the impossibility of putting our emotions through a logical system. We also touch on imposter syndrome, quitting things you aren't good at, being a twin (she is one!), her close friendship with the late Princess Diana (plus what kind of godmother she is to Prince George) as well as the discomfort she feels talking about herself, rather than being the one to ask questions of a client.

    I am so honoured to have Julia on the podcast. Her integrity and intelligence, forged through 30 years as a working therapist, shine through absolutely everything she does. Her work has been crucially important to me personally and I'm sure it will be to you too.

    As Julia says: 'We are brought up thinking life is an upward journey, a stairway to a better place, each step higher than the last. but the reality is far less certain: there are ups and downs, and the only certainty that exists is that there will be change.'

    *

    Julia's latest book, This Too Shall Pass, is out now and available to order here.

    *

    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Julia Samuel @juliasamuelmbe

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • Scarlett Moffatt was working at the checkout in Asda when she and he family got the chance to be on Channel 4's Gogglebox. She rapidly became the show's break-out star with her brilliant one-liners. Television fame followed - she co-presented with Ant and Dec, won 2016's I'm A Celebrity and now hosts the official podcast for Rupaul’s Drag Race UK. But with her overnight celebrity also came increased scrutiny and criticism.

    She joins me to talk about becoming an accidental famous person and dealing with online abuse (she will now reply to trolls with the phone number for the Samaritans). Scarlett also discusses her shifting relationship with body image and her own struggles with anxiety and low self-worth.

    This is a woman who has worked hard all her life - from her first job at 14, putting sweets into Pic n' Mix to being employed in sales at the Carphone Warehouse. When she went on I'm A Celebrity, she had only just managed to clear her student overdraft. With the fee she was given from that show, Scarlett paid off the mortgage on her parents' house. She talks to me about the value of hard graft, being bullied at school, a bicycle accident that left her with Bell's Palsy and using humour as a defence mechanism. This episode also contains what is quite possibly the greatest Tom Hardy anecdote you will ever hear.

    Thank you Scarlett, you are an absolute gem. Those school bullies were wrong about you. They always are.

    *

    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

    *

    You can listen to Scarlett hosting Rupaul's Drag Race UK: The Podcast here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Scarlett Moffatt @scarlettmoffatt

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • Matthew Syed is an acclaimed author, newspaper columnist and broadcaster. He is also, in many ways, is the father of failure. I mean that as a compliment, obviously. Through his seminal, bestselling books - Bounce, Black Box Thinking and his latest, Rebel Ideas - he has shown again and again that failure can actually be the richest seam of data acquisition.

    His interest in making mistakes in order to evolve started, incongruously, with table tennis. He was the British number one in 1995 but later choked in spectacular fashion at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. The experience triggered a fascination with what it means to fall apart under pressure and why it happens.

    Syed joins me to talk about all this, as well as leaving school at 15, his childhood experiences of racism, the horror of cold-calling when he ran a marketing agency, the 'terrible' early newspaper columns he wrote, the necessity for diversity of thinking, fatherhood and why we don't need to be scared of airplane turbulence (thank goodness, quite frankly, because I'm terrified of it). It was a joy meeting Matthew, and I also liked his exceptionally polite way of saying 'thank you' when I ask a question.

    *

    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

    *

    Matthew Syed's lates book, Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking is available to order here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Matthew Syed @matthewsyed

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • *This episode was recorded before recent tragic events in America. There are links to useful Black Lives Matter resources and ways to help below*

    You know when you read someone's work and feel like you'd be friends in real life, and you become basically a little obsessed and Google them to inhale all the online content that is out there about this person and their work and THEN you get to to meet them and despite thinking they couldn't possibly live up to all your overhyped expectation, they actually do? Well, ok, so that's what happened to me with Samantha Irby.

    Not only is she a brilliant, hilarious and perspicacious essayist (she has published three collections, the latest of which, Wow, No Thank You, entered the New York Times bestseller list at number one) but she's a wonderful, generous and warm human being. Samantha joins me to talk about failure to complete college, her failed relationships, failing at drama class, being her mother's carer, growing up poor, using humour as a defence mechanism and the BRILLIANT theory she has developed of 'Detachment Parenting' which she deploys on her wife's children. Oh, and we talk about The Real Housewives too, because we're both huge fans (in fact, we went on about it for so long that I had to edit some of it out in case we bored everyone else). My other favourite thing about this interview is that producer Naomi nonchalantly informed me that Samantha would be dialling in from Kathmandu, Nepal. It turns out that she had misheard and actually meant Kalamazoo, Michigan.

    Samantha, I heart you. Please can we be friends for real? CALL ME!

    *

    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully hand-illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

    *

    Samantha Irby's latest book, Wow, No Thank You is out now and available to order here. Her extraordinary essay, My Mother, My Daughter is available to read for free online here.

    *

    Many of you will have been as appalled as we are by the recent tragic news from America and the homicide of George Floyd. If you'd like to help there is a link to Black Lives Matter resources (including petitions to sign and places to donate) here.

    Belly Mujinga was a railway worker at London's Victoria station who was spat at by an assailant and who later died of Covid-19. You can donate to her family here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Samantha Irby @wordscience

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • *This episode was recorded before recent tragic events in America. There are links to useful Black Lives Matter resources and ways to help below*

    WE'RE BAAAAAACCCCKKKK just like Backstreet, The Mack, and the toilet roll that's now in stock again in Sainsbury's. And what a guest I have for you! It is the one, the only, Jessie Ware. Not only is she one of my favourite singer-songwriters (four Brit nominations to her name, three top-ten albums and a whopping 120 million streams on Spotify for one of her most famous songs, Say You Love Me...JUST SAYIN) but she's also one of my favourite podcasters, co-hosting the brilliant Table Manners with her mother, Lennie and interviewing an array of astonishing talent over a home-cooked dinner. Their eponymous cookbook is a Sunday Times bestseller.

    Part of what makes Table Manners so special is Jessie's down-to-earth manner, whip-smart sense of humour and her ability to shortcut to the real stuff (it's also the affectionate bickering with Lennie, who says that they 'put the fun into dysfunctional'). All of these qualities also make her a wonderful interviewee. She joins me to talk about her failure to tidy up, her failure to be a journalist and her failure to live in the present. Along the way, we discuss imposter syndrome, body image, accidental success, life, love and almost everything in between. Basically all you need to know is that I loved her before we recorded this episode, but now I love her even more.

    *

    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully hand-illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

    *

    Jessie Ware's latest album, What's Your Pleasure, is out on 19th June and available to preorder here.

    *

    Many of you will have been as appalled as we are by the recent tragic news from America and the homicide of George Floyd. If you'd like to help there is a link to Black Lives Matter resources (including petitions to sign and places to donate) here.

    Belly Mujinga was a railway worker at London's Victoria station who was spat at by an assailant and who later died of Covid-19. You can donate to her family here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Jessie Ware @jessieware

  • Ok, so I said I was done with the special lockdown episodes but, forgive me, I CHANGED MY MIND. The reason for this is that I watched Normal People and thought it was the most exceptional piece of television I've seen in...well...an absolute age, and I basically hunted down Daisy Edgar-Jones like the obsessive fan I was until she agreed to be interviewed by me.

    And so here it is: Daisy Edgar-Jones, who gave the performance of a lifetime as Marianne in the BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney's acclaimed novel, Normal People, joins me for the most beautiful chat about failing to go to university, feeling the need for constant validation, wanting to do things for their own artistic sake but being hamstrung by other people's approval, body image, living with anxiety (which manifests as hypochondria), feeling lost in her late teens, dealing with rejection, the weirdness of overnight fame and Connell's silver chain (in-joke there for Normal People mega-fans). We also talk allllll about Normal People: how she approached the part of Marianne, her on-and-off-screen relationship with Connell (played brilliantly by Paul Mescal), how they filmed those extraordinary, respectful sex scenes and the story behind Marianne's fringe.

    Daisy is 21 but speaks with the wisdom of someone three times her age. She is so open, so funny, so kind and so generous in this interview that I know it's going to be a great help to a great many people, especially as it's Mental Health Awareness Week and we need more people to talk like this. Thank you Daisy, you're insanely talented and a genuinely lovely person and I'm so grateful you replied to my Instagram DM.

    *

    I haven't taken sponsorship for any of the special lockdown episodes because it didn't feel right, but if you have enjoyed this interview or any of the others, I'd be so grateful if you'd consider donating to Samaritans. a truly incredible charity which helps people in crisis by being there, at the end of a phone line, 24/7, 365 days a year. Covid-19 has placed an unprecedented pressure on Samaritans volunteers at precisely the time that we need them the most. Any donation, however small, will help and I'd be so grateful if you felt able to make one. Here is the link to donate:

    https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/howtofailwithelizabethday

    *

    CORRECTION: during the course of our conversation, Daisy made an innocent mistake in referring to the condition where you effectively 'drown yourself' through drinking too much water as 'hyperhidrosis'. In fact, hyperhidrosis is a serious dermatological condition experienced by 2 million people in the UK which causes excessive sweating, caused by the sympathetic nervous system overreacting and causing bodies to go into stress overdrive. Despite 3 in 100 people in the UK having this condition, not many people talk about it for fear of shame and embarrassment. Thank you to the lovely listener who pointed out the error and who wished to raise awareness of this overlooked condition.

    What Daisy actually meant to say was hyponatraemia, a rare but potentially lethal over-hydration which dilutes salt levels in the blood and has similar symptoms to dehydration, such as headaches, nausea and cramp.

    *

    If you really can't get enough How To Fail content and are looking for something to read during lockdown, there is a book! How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now and available to order here

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and recorded, edited and mixed by Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Daisy Edgar-Jones @daisyedgarjones

    Connell's Chain @connellschain

  • In the last of four special episodes specifically designed to help you through lockdown and Covid-19 anxiety, I welcome the fashion designer Henry Holland onto the podcast. This week, How To Fail returns to its usual format of discussing three failures but I've chosen to make this a special episode because one of Henry's failures will speak directly to a lot of people right now. It is the failure of his business, House of Holland, a failure linked to the impact of Coronavirus and which has left Henry having to call in the administrators and let beloved members of staff go. It's a failure he is still coming to terms with and I'm so grateful to him for choosing to talk about it.

    We also discuss growing up in Ramsbottom, with childhood friend (and future supermodel) Agyness Deyn, and going to a school which stifled his individuality and where even the female teachers were called 'sir'. Later, Henry became a fashion journalist on teen magazines in London before he started making slogan t-shirts as a side-hustle. The t-shirts proved so popular they rapidly became a sought-after fashion item, and Henry's future in fashion was assured. It was a life that took him onto the world's catwalks and into some of the most glamorous parties (keep your ears tuned in for the Kanye West anecdote) but, last month, he was forced to acknowledge that his business was no longer financially sustainable. 'The emotional turmoil of closing a business was one that was heavy to bear,' he wrote recently in a piece for British Vogue. 'But now, on the other side, while unemployed in the craziest economic time we’ve experienced in a generation, I can’t help but feel a sense of relief. Relief I am no longer letting people down. Relief I am no longer pretending everything is perfect when in fact it’s not. And relief most of all that I have space and time to think about what it is I want from my working life.'

    Thank you Henry. We'll be back in June for a brand new season with a truly fabulous line-up of guests. Until then, stay safe and I hope you all enjoy the episode.

    *

    If you really can't get enough How To Fail content and are looking for something to read during lockdown, there is a book! How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now and available to order here

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and recorded, edited and mixed by Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Henry Holland @henryholland

  • For this extra-special listener episode, I asked you to get in touch with your stories. And you did not let me down. I received so many responses that when I printed them out they ran to over 100 pages of typed text. I wished I could read every single one of them out, but that would have taken quite a long time, so I did the best I could and picked a selection of the most moving, most eloquent, most reassuring, most funny, most inspiring, most heroic stories you are ever likely to hear. I burst into tears while reading your emails and messages, and I laughed a lot too. I adore you, you wonderful listeners. You are the most exceptional, thoughtful and brave audience.

    In this special episode, you will hear from NHS doctors and nurses, from teachers, from vets, from struggling parents and from blended families and from those who desperately want to be parents but aren't, from those who have just broken up with lovers and from those in brand new relationships now in lockdown, from those who have tragically said goodbye to loved ones, from people who live with chronic illness and disordered eating, from those whose school and university terms were cut short without notice, from spoon-carvers and home-bakers and trashy-television-watchers. In every story, there will be a shimmering grain of humanity that I hope makes each and every one of us feel more connected.

    Thank you for honouring me with your stories. Thank you for trusting me with your insights. Thank you for listening and connecting. Thank you for your acts of courage and quiet heroism. And thank you for giving me the chance to make this episode.

    We will find our feet again. This too shall pass. Sending love to all of you out there, and I’ll see you soon.

    *

    If you really can't get enough How To Fail content and are looking for something to read during lockdown, there is a book! How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now and available to order here

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and recorded, edited and mixed by Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

  • In the second of two special episodes, the renowned philosopher Alain de Botton, returns to How To Fail With Elizabeth Day to talk about how to be human and how to stay (relatively) sane in the grip of a global pandemic. We talk about the fact that, right now, it's rational to be a little demented and how we should all take lessons from our childhood and be less ashamed of bursting into tears when we really need to. He tells me about the merits of stoicism, the comfort that comes from admitting the situation we're in without sentimentalisation and what it means to find consolation in these unprecedented times.

    Along the way, de Botton tackles how to deal with grief and dismantles the idea of any hierarchy of suffering - insisting that how we feel is a fact that must be taken seriously, even if there are people worse off than us. And he also tells me about the need 'to turn the light on in the room of your fears' so that the darkness no longer has the power to terrify us. This leads to the brilliant idea of having a pessimistic shopping list, where you write down all the things you're most afraid of.

    In many ways, this interview is the perfect companion piece to Mo Gawdat's episode last week: de Botton tackles similar subjects but approaches them from a different angle, one that embraces darkness rather than choosing not to dwell on it. I found it so comforting talking to him, and it's a comfort that has sustained me for the days since doing the interview. I hope it does the same for you.

    *

    If you really can't get enough How To Fail content and are looking for something to read during lockdown, there is a book! How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now and available to order here

    *

    Alain de Botton is the founder of The School of Life You can see a video of this podcast recording on their YouTube channel.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and recorded, edited and mixed by Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Alain de Botton @alaindebotton

  • Hello. I hope you're all doing ok out there. Bit of a strange time isn't it? It can feel overwhelming to be living through a global pandemic, but there are things all of us can do - small things that can have big impact. We can stay at home and save lives. We can distance socially and help the heroic health carers working on the frontline of this disease. We can spread a little positivity. We can refuse to panic buy toilet roll. And I, at least, can make podcasts so that you can listen to them and hopefully feel a little less alone.

    When I was thinking of who I most wanted to hear from about how to live through this unprecedented moment in our history, there was really only one answer. It was Mo Gawdat. I originally met Mo when I interviewed him in Season 4 of the podcast. You can listen to that episode here. He told me about how he had developed a seemingly simple algorithm that enables every single person to be happy, whatever the circumstances - you can read more about that in his book Solve For Happy. Meeting Mo had a huge impact on me. I know it also helped a great many of you - at every event I do now, at least one person will come up to me to say Mo has changed their life for the better.

    I am so, so grateful to Mo for agreeing to come back onto the podcast to discuss how to live with anxiety and isolation in a time of Coronavirus. We talk about how to handle negative thoughts, how to practise gratitude and the concept of 'committed acceptance' which focuses on a) accepting the situation and b) within that acceptance, working out what you can actively do to make life better. He shares with us his own daily routine for self-isolation, the difference between the inevitability of pain and the choice of suffering, the wondrous abilities of the brain to come up with narratives which sometimes do not serve us and the importance of understanding the impact exercising our own free will have on others. Along the way, we argue about whether Love Actually is the best romcom of all time.

    I hope you enjoy the episode and that it brings you some comfort as you go about your day.

    Sending love to you all.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and recorded, edited and mixed by Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Mo Gawdat @mgawdat

  • SURPRISE! Here I am, clogging up your podcast feed again. Yes, I know I said that Frankie Bridge was the last episode in season 7, but I might have slightly not been telling you the whole truth because here I am with a brand, spanking new BONUS EPISODE all fresh and ready to be listened to by your gorgeous ears.

    This week, I talk to Ella Mills, aka Deliciously Ella, the woman who launched an empire of plant-based foodstuffs, delis, bestselling cookbooks and fitness apps, all designed to make you live a healthier life. The starting point was her own illness: as a student at St Andrews University, she went in and out of hospital for months until she was diagnosed with a condition that effects the autonomic nervous system. The medicines she was prescribed met with limited success, so Ella decided to experiment with diet. The resulting blog became a phenomenon, and now, here we are.

    She joins me to talk about her fear of failure and how it stopped her being honest about her illness to her best friends, her failures in business, her failure to know when to quit and her failure to breastfeed, which wrongly made her feel like a failure as a mother. Along the way we discuss sexuality, death, the clean-eating backlash and why chickpeas are great. It will not surprise regular listeners of this podcast to learn that I segued into talking about hummus.

    Thank you so much to the wonderful Ella Mills!

    (And that really is the final episode for a while. See you again for Season 8).

    *

    This special bonus episode is sponsored by one of my favourite jewellery brands, Missoma. Visit uk.missoma.com and use the code ElizabethDay10 at checkout for 10% off your next purchase!

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

    *

    There is a FLASH SALE on exclusive How To Fail podcast merchandise - sweatshirts, t-shirts, mugs, post-its and notepads - until Thursday morning. The perfect gift for the failure in all of us! View the full range at howtofailshop.com

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Ella Mills @deliciouslyella

  • Frankie Bridge is probably best known as a member of one of the UK's most successful girl bands of all time, The Saturdays. But, more recently, it's as a mental health advocate that she has been making headlines. Her new memoir, Open: Why asking for help can save your life, is a brave and unflinchingly honest attempt to destigmatise the conditions that so many of us struggle with in private. Frankie lives with treatment-resistant depression. Initially, she struggled in silence but when she was hospitalised in 2011, she could no longer ignore the severity of what she was facing. Open tells the story of what happened next, of how she survived and of the decisions she makes on a daily basis to protect that survival.

    It was an honour to have her on the podcast to talk about all of this, especially in the wake of the devastating news about Caroline Flack. I met Caroline a few years ago and she was really lovely: so warm and funny and kind. I - like many of you - have been so sad and so shaken by the idea that she could see no other way out. I cannot imagine the pain that her family and friends are feeling. I am thinking of them. Although this interview with Frankie was recorded before any of us knew what Caroline was going through, Frankie has a lot to say about the dark places that depression can take you and offers many helpful insights into how to cope.

    Below are some useful numbers that can help you if you are going through a tough time or have been affected by any of the issues raised. Please know that you are not alone. Please know that, even if it doesn't feel like it right now, this too shall pass. You are loved, you are wonderful, you are unique. You are worthwhile. You exist. Please hold on.

    USEFUL NUMBERS

    Contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 116 123 (free from any phone).

    If you don't feel like talking, text Shout to 85258 to get help from crisis volunteers 24/7 (free on all mobile networks).

    Mind, the mental health charity, is on 020 8519 212.

    *

    Frankie Bridge's memoir, Open, is out now and available to order here.

    *

    This episode is sponsored by one of my favourite jewellery brands, Missoma. Visit uk.missoma.com and use the code ElizabethDay10 at checkout for 10% off your next purchase!

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

    *

    You can now buy exclusive How To Fail podcast merchandise - sweatshirts, t-shirts, mugs, post-its and notepads. The perfect gift for the failure in all of us! View the full range at howtofailshop.com

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Frankie Bridge @frankiebridge

  • So. This podcast episode almost didn't happen because I'd forgotten to put it into my iCal (I find any diary that isn't paper so confusing, don't you?) and on the allotted day, I had a text from sound engineer Chris saying 'We're outside!'. Needless to say, I was not inside. I was half-an-hour away having breakfast with my friend Viv.

    It is a testament to Adam Pearson's kindness that, when I spoke to him, harassed and sweating as I ran for the train, he didn't seem remotely put out. 'It's very on-brand to fail at turning up,' he quipped.

    Anyway, I'm so glad Adam stuck around because when we did sit down to record this interview, he was utterly phenomenal. Adam is a broadcaster, actor, campaigner and documentary-maker (and also Celebrity Mastermind champion) who has lived for most of his life with the incurable genetic condition, neurofibromatosis which causes benign tumours to grow along the nerves. In his case, the tumours are mostly on his face and they have severely affected his physical appearance since the age of five.

    Adam joins me to talk about what his condition has taught him: from standing up to bullies at school to confronting the people filming him on their cameraphones when he ventures outside. He talks about the discrimination, the name-calling and how he has managed to channel his anger into changing the world for the better. Along the way, we discuss the pressures of social media in a culture that has learned to value superficial aesthetic 'perfection' at the cost of other, more meaningful characteristics. And we talk about his failure at dating, which involves once taking a Swedish woman to Ikea (it seemed like a good idea at the time) and possibly the most offensive joke you'll ever hear about why he was barred from eHarmony - listeners of a sensitive disposition might like to turn away for that bit, but I've left it in because it will give you a sense of Adam's humour, which is an integral part of how he has learned to survive.

    I hope you enjoy the episode. As the man himself might say: BOOYAH.

    *

    This episode is sponsored by Frank Body who are offering listeners 15% off when they spend £20 or more with the code HOWTOFAIL15 at checkout.

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

    *

    You can now buy exclusive How To Fail podcast merchandise - sweatshirts, t-shirts, mugs, post-its and notepads. The perfect gift for the failure in all of us! View the full range at howtofailshop.com

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Adam Pearson @adam_pearson

  • Marian Keyes is one of those people who you think can't POSSIBLY be as lovely and talented and nice as everyone says she is. She must have a hidden dark side, I thought. Maybe she's a terrible diva who will demand bowls of blue M&Ms and want my toilet freshly re-painted and scented with vanilla before she deigns to use it?

    But then you meet her and - lo and behold - she is not only as lovely as everyone says she is, but in fact EVEN NICER than that. This is a woman who has sold millions of book, who is one of the most successful and lauded Irish authors of all time, and who could quite forgivably be an egomaniac, but she's utterly fabulous. Or 'fabliss' as Keyes herself would put it.

    She joins me this week to talk about writing, feminism, low self-esteem, depression, alcoholism, humour as a survival mechanism, her failure to get into journalism college, weight loss (why she knows it shouldn't be important but still can't help worrying about) and her self-perceived 'failure' to have children. We also talk about her great new novel, Grown Ups, where the characters all seem like members of your own family and you're bereft to turn the final page.

    Thank you Marian. You really are fabliss.

    *

    This episode is sponsored by Frank Body who are offering listeners 15% off when they spend £20 or more with the code HOWTOFAIL15 at checkout.

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

    *

    Grown Ups by Marian Keyes is published by Penguin and is available to buy here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Marian Keyes @mariankeyes

  • Eniola Aluko is a former footballer who bears the notable distinction of being one of only 11 women to play for England over 100 times and the first ever female pundit on Match of the Day. Born in Nigeria, she was raised on a Birmingham council estate, where her talent for football was obvious from a young age. At 15 she signed up for Birmingham City Ladies. Later, she played for Chelsea and Juventus, gaining a First Class law degree along the way. Later still, she was a whistleblower for racist bullying within the Football Association It was a public battle that required extraordinary reserves of strength, courage and determination.

    Eni joins me to talk about racism, sexism, equal pay, psychological pressure, failing the New York bar exam twice and the very real difficulties of dating when you're a female athlete. We also discuss her gripping memoir, They Don't Teach This, which is ALL about the incredible lessons she's learned from failure and is therefore very on-brand for this whole podcast.

    Thank you Eni! This word is overused but you are truly an inspiration.

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

    *

    They Don't Teach This by Eniola Aluko is published by Yellow Jersey and is available to buy here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Eni Aluko @EniAlu

  • This week, the podcast welcomes its first ever Michelin-starred chef. Yes...it's Tom Kerridge! And what a chef he is. He failed at school, but found his way in catering college after the death of his Dad. He climbed the ranks of the profession, working hard and partying harder. Professional success followed, at the same time as personal failure - the long hours triggered a drink problem and he became unhealthily overweight. Faced with his own mortality, he gave up alcohol and went on a fitness regime that resulted in his losing 11 stone. His transformation was so impressive that it inspired a series of bestselling books, the latest of which, Lose Weight and Get Fit, is out now.

    Tom joins me to talk about his failure at education, his failure in business, his alcoholism and the associated failure to live in the moment. We talk about living to the extremes, having an addictive all-or-nothing mindset, how you can work with your spouse in a stressful industry and stay married, what it means to fail in a high-pressure environment and how he once had ambitions to be a child actor because it meant he got to hang out with the girls from a local private school. What a lovely chap he is - I hope you enjoy!

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

    *

    Lose Weight and Get Fit by Tom Kerridge is published by Bloomsbury Books and is available to buy here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Tom Kerridge @cheftomkerridge