Gayle Forman’s “Life Fails”


We recently invited Gayle Forman to join us in the Penguin Random House video studio. While she was here, Gayle gave us a preview of one of her most popular lecture topics, “10 Ways I Failed at Life.” In this lecture, Gayle recounts some of the “mistakes” she’s made in life, but goes on to explain how those so-called “mistakes” actually ended up paying off and helping her get to where she is today.

Gayle Forman is an internationally bestselling author of Young Adult fiction–something her parents would have never believed when they were told Gayle might have developmental delays because she didn’t color in the lines as a child. This is just one of the many hilarious and heartfelt anecdotes Gayle shared with us while she was in the studio. Take a peek at the videos below to hear how some of Gayle’s biggest “life fails” actually ended up being for the best!

Life Fail #1: Coloring Outside the Lines

As a young child, Gayle colored so drastically outside of the lines, her teachers worried she might have developmental delays:

Life Fail #2: Bombing the SATs:

Gayle was so embarrassed by her score on the SATs that she hid it from her parents, and it was years before she felt comfortable enough to tell anyone:

Life Fail #3: Jumping off the Career Ladder

Just as Gayle’s career as a journalist was taking off, she decided to quit her job and travel the world:

Failure as a Key to Success

Gayle has had a few life experiences that might traditionally be thought of as mistakes or failures. But as Gayle so aptly summarizes it: “Failure is a key ingredient in success. When you fail, when you fall down, you learn to get back up. Failure teaches you to pivot, it teaches you to recalibrate, it teaches you to look at a situation differently.”

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Gayle Forman

Author of the #1 New York Times bestseller If I Stay