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How to Fail Most Successfully
Published by W.W. Norton in 1988
Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2002
This is a small book (5" by 8") with only 100 or so pages. The book jacket has a picture of a hammer with a bent handle trying to nail the handle of the hammer into the floor. Since a hammer obviously can't hammer itself into the floor, the picture aptly demonstrates the straits of "our man" that Watzlawick describes in the book.
He begins with the Macbeth witches (Hecate) plotting against his hypothetical hero, "our man," but somehow gets lost along the way. Throughout the book are echoes of his former books with their insightful metaphors - most of which seem familiar. For an introduction to his thoughts this book will be a good investment- for those who have read his other books, wait for the paperback. The book reads quickly and about half way through I felt that I had not wisely invested my money.
One of his main points was that "ultrasolutions" consist of solutions that transcend the usual Manichean true/false, black/white solutions. Not enough to justify writing a whole book about, I surmised when beginning the book and by the end of it I was convinced of it. It seemed to me that the author wanted another book under his belt so he belted this one out in the shower one night, had it typed and sent off to his publisher and updated his curriculum vitae all in one evening. That was his ultrasolution by his own definition.
As further testimony to the limited nature of the book, I cannot even fill out my usual quota of words for this review.
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