Fantastic People Who Dared To Fail

Authored by Luke Reynolds
Published by Simon and Schuster

Fantastic People Who Dared To Fail comprises real accounts of significant people in recent history who have overcome challenges in their journeys to success.

Readers will learn about the lives of famous people who demonstrated resilience and who refused to allow failure to stand in their way of their personal beliefs and goals. Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, J.K. Rowling and Albert Einstein are just some of the 35 famous names whose potted biographies are shared as a means to motivate and empower readers to learn that success comes from self-belief, drive and determination.

This book by former teacher Luke Reynolds provides opportunities to develop a growth mindset culture and foster a propensity for greater resilience within students by giving real examples of successful people who learnt from their mistakes or who were not discouraged in the face of diversity.

Although each biography is packed with valuable life lessons of perseverance, grit and resolve, the reader is faced with a lengthy myth before reading the truth about each individual’s life journey. For example, we are told that ‘Even into old age, Christopher Reeve remained immune to any physical struggle and never had to redefine himself…’ and that ‘Nelson Mandela was never threatened or imprisoned, and his journey toward becoming president was complete with enthusiastic support.’ These falsehoods are then followed by phrases such as, ‘Scratch that!’ and ‘Fib alert!’ Not only are these fabrications misleading, particularly for literal readers or those with English as an additional language, but they detract significantly from the successes and achievements which these people should be remembered and applauded for.

As a teacher, I would use the messages of persistence and determination in Fantastic People Who Dared To Fail within assemblies and PSHE sessions to foster a culture of growth mindset and resilience but would bypass the falsehoods or turn them into a question or statement to stimulate discussion.