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Tavis Smiley on ‘building success from failure’

When searching for a way to describe someone who has authored 13 books, hosts a nightly PBS program and two radio shows, the word “failure” does not immediately come to mind. However, Tavis Smiley — author, television and radio host — says his failures helped him achieve his successes. His new book, “Fail Up,” was inspired by a Samuel Beckett quote: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Smiley discussed the new book with Need to Know’s Alison Stewart.

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  • jan

    Thank you. I think I needed to hear that tonight.

  • Balthasar

    Smiley’s comment that we need to discuss ‘Love’ as an answer to the complicated questions of our day is, as he noted, taken from King and Gandhi. But even as the Arab street discovers the power of nonviolent opposition, we have to recognize that we’ve moved on to another level of discussion: how to educate, organize, employ, and protect people in the context of a post-liberation reality. There is, and probably always will be racism lurking about, but the message of Obama is that racism isn’t anymore the greatest challenge facing communities that need better schools and job opportunities, better healthcare and affordable food and housing. Economic inequality and social justice are the new battlefields of our day, and if Tavis complains that commentators like O’Donnell and Maddow can discuss racism and he can’t, he might consider that that’s because they are on that new battlefield, and he isn’t. Ironically, the solution for him is to become more inclusive in his analysis of events, present and future, and to realize that we are all of us, not just the black community, in this struggle together.

  • Libby Ernst

    I was so impressed with what Tavis Smiley had to say, and the calm, knowledgeable way he said it. I have not liked him in the past (yells, cuts off interviewees, etc.) but tonight I saw a reasonable man who was speaking the truth.

    Thank you.

    Great show all the way around – I never miss it!
    Libby Ernst
    Santa Cruz, CA

  • Brikel

    Maybe Tavis could look up the definition of “penultimate”? He’s a dim bulb.

  • Jason – Statesboro, GA

    I myself have made mistakes many times in life. We all do. We are supposed to learn from those mistakes and apply it to our future. I do respect Tavis Smiley and he is right about many things. He does speak the truth from his perspective as do I. It is called freedom of expression. At the end of the day… we all should meet in the middle and find common ground to stand together on…