6 Books on Failure to Build Your Resilience

UPDATED: May 14, 2024
PUBLISHED: August 15, 2021
6 Books on Failure to Build Your Resilience

You can react one of two ways when confronted by failure. You may give up, or you can try again. Everyone will tell you, “Keep trying.”

But that advice rings hollow after defeat. If you have given something your all, maybe that’s all you’ve got. That is where resilience comes in. Resilience means more than repeating past mistakes. It means having fortitude to keep moving forward with the knowledge gained from defeat. It means accepting your scars and gaining success from them.

Resilience requires setbacks. Learning from failure requires certain tools that may not come easily. With that in mind, here are 6 useful, practical books to help you learn resilience as a process. Only then can you seize success from the jaws of failure.

Go for No! Yes Is the Destination, No is How You Get There

By Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz

Everyone works in sales to a degree. And not just if you’re on a sales team. If you manage an office, own your own business, write proposals for funding, or currently seek a new career, you are in sales.

And as a salesperson, the reply you will hear most often is: No.

Go for No! leads this for a reason. It is both inspirational and practical. At a quick read of 82 pages, Fenton and Waltz distinguish failure from failing by example. The lessons are not simple feel-good platitudes. Rather, the book guides you step by step from seeming failure toward real success. Although this list aims to offer useful books for a range of tastes, Go for No! leads for a reason. It will empower you with practical skills in turning seeming negatives into positives.

The Resilience Factor: How to Face Adversity, Trauma and Tragedy Like a Superhero

By Dr. Syleecia Thompson

Dr. Thompson knows setbacks. She knows success, too. A cancer survivor with no shortage of obstacles in her life, she persisted through adversity to earn a doctorate in business administration and manage more than 160 clients as an entrepreneur.

The Resilience Factor emphasizes personal growth over business practices. That is, building inner strength and fortitude in the face of adversity. Yet, the reader may apply her lessons to all of life’s struggles. This amazing and personal book leans on a self-help model, appealing to readers to look inward. The author includes a guided journal to use as a self-aware, practical guide to build resilience in the face of challenge.

The Failure Book: How 22 Extraordinary People Persisted to Beat the Odds and How You Can Too

By Karen Lilly and Chad Lilly

When we fail, we often fall into the habit of aiming lower. Didn’t get the big client? You might be tempted to try for the smaller one next time. But if you fail then too, the cycle continues. This approach becomes a self-defeating web that has captured each of us at some time. What if you aimed…higher?

The Failure Book serves in part as inspiration by relating the failure-to-success stories of renowned scientists, business leaders, athletes in others. But just as importantly, this paperback-only book provides practical advice and exercises to build your resilience in the face of defeat.

Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Successful

By John C. Maxwell

Although this list is focused on recent books, no practical list on building success from failure should miss this 2007 classic. Although academic in approach, Failing Forward is quick and engaging to read. Maxwell makes strong use of scientific studies and historical anecdotes. In doing so, he develops a case to help you not only stop fearing failure, but why you should embrace it as a means to future success.

The reader will find Maxwell’s approach both practical and inspiring. Perceived disadvantages become blessings. And you will undoubtedly feel motivated with new tools to use in both professional and personal life.

The Little Book of Stoicism: Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence, and Calmness

By Jonas Salzgeber

Did I refer to Failing Forward as a classic? Let’s really dive into the classics!

Failure, resilience, and ultimate success are ancient concepts. They are the stuff of ancient myths and legends. That is, they are timeless. And although Salzgeber’s book draws from the Greek stoic philosophers, his 2019 publication is fully contemporary. Easy and fun to read, The Little Book of Stoicism serves as a practical guide. You come to terms with failure as not only something to endure in life, but as a necessary part of it. If you’ve found yourself overloaded, bogged down, and seeking strength in simplicity, this book is for you.

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again

By Dan Santat

Yes, this is a children’s book. It is fun and silly, and not intended for you to read it on your own. Instead, the inspiration you gain will come from the process of reading it to others.

Whether reading Santat’s book to a family member, neighbor’s child, or in a school setting, seeing the comprehension of a child will put your own struggles into perspective. Not only did Humpty Dumpty fail, but he lost a piece of himself in the process. How did he learn to overcome his fears? What obstacles did he face? And what methods did he use to overcome them? You will learn a lot from the answers your young audience provides. Some of them may add perspective to your own struggles more perfectly than imagined

Photo by HQuality/Shutterstock

Bryan Lindenberger

Bryan enjoys the digital space where arts and technology meet. As a writer, he has worked in education, health and wellbeing, and manufacturing. He also assists smaller businesses in web development including accessibility and content development. In his free time, he hikes trails in central Florida.