Mark Graban’s Upcoming Book: “The Mistakes That Make Us”

Oh, hi there. Did I mention that I'm writing a book that's inspired by the stories and lessons shared by the people I've interviewed in my podcast series called “My Favorite Mistake“?

Mistakes That Make Us is a tentative book title, but I think that's the direction. I also need to decide on a subtitle, such as “How Getting Things Wrong Can Make it Right for Leaders and Organizations.”

That book cover shown above is completely just a mockup / prototype. I won't make the mistake of trying to do the book cover myself.

A culture of learning from mistakes means we will improve more, be more innovative — and that means more success.

The book will include a helpful framework for responding to mistakes in ways that improve personal and professional performance.

If you'd like to be an early reader of some partial draft material, you can sign up here to be notified via

If you'd like to receive occasional updates about the project, including notification when the book is available for purchase, please fill out this form. The draft book description is below that form.

Draft Book Description (A Work in Progress)

Everybody makes mistakes, but the most successful people (and companies) learn from those mistakes, Mark Graban explains in The Mistakes That Make Us. Individuals often say, “We learn the most from our failures,” but many organizations have unreasonable (and counterproductive) expectations of perfection. It's better to expect to make mistakes — we're all human — and react constructively in a way that turns them into stepping stones to success. 

Many entrepreneurs say we should “fail early, fail often.” It's better to, instead, “fail early, learn, and be more likely to succeed.”

Drawing on his “My Favorite Mistake” podcast interviews of CEOs, entrepreneurs, and other leaders from wide-ranging fields including healthcare, software, and professional sports, Graban illustrates how to:

  • Shift from shaming ourselves (or others) to learning and improving after mistakes
  • Take ownership of mistakes instead of blaming others
  • Avoid making the same mistake twice
  • Be proactive about trying to prevent mistakes while realizing they might still happen
  • Stop saying with certainty, “we know that’s a great idea,” and instead start recognizing and saying, “we could be wrong”
  • Test ideas and assumptions in a way that mitigates risk
  • Embrace (and learn from) small mistakes, so we avoid the catastrophic ones
  • Create a workplace culture where it’s safe for people to disclose mistakes, ensuring learning instead of coverups

Graban's book shares compelling stories about how a culture of learning from mistakes, built upon psychological safety, means we can learn more and reach greater heights. As the subtitle says, “getting things wrong can make it right” — if we can lead with grace and humility.