Better By Mistake

Somewhere along the line, you've probably been told that failure is a useful experience and that you should learn from your mistakes. The trouble is that all to often, we talk the talk but don't walk the walk. Now two writers are trying to force us to take those ideas seriously and maybe even live by them.

Part Three of The Current

Better By Mistake

We started this segment with a message many of us have heard since childhood -- failure is a learning experience ... to err is human ... learn from your mistakes. And it's a note Michael Ignatieff struck after the Liberal Party's historic defeat two weeks ago.

It's an idea many people find appealing. But in practice, we just don't seem to be living up to it. Shareholders call for CEOs' heads when profits don't meet expectations ... kids are frequently traumatized by failing grades ... coaches - routinely fired after a disappointing season. In fact, just last Friday, Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson said that Team Canada's failure to win a medal at the World Hockey Championships for the second year running was "totally unacceptable."

In the face of all that, we were joined by two people who are trying to rehabilitate the idea that mistakes can be good for you. Tim Harford is a columnist for the Financial Times. He's best known as the author of The Undercover Economist and his new book is Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure. Tim Harford was in London, England. And Alina Tugend is a columnist with the New York Times and the author of Better By Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong. She was in Larchmont, New York.

Last Word - Headaches

We ended the program today with a preview of something The Current's Shannon Higgins is working on for tomorrow's program. She got the last word today.

Other segments from today's show:

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