CV of Failures

Posted by on July 12, 2016 in recent, web wonders | 2 comments

Last week, I read about Johannes Haushofer’s “CV of Failures.”


Haushofer is an assistant professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University.  He wrote:  “Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible.  I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me…”

And so Haushofer listed the academic things that did not work out for him — degree programs he was not admitted to, grants he did not receive, etc.  Haushofer says that the idea was not unique to him; it was inspired by a University of Edinburgh lecturer, Melanie Stefan.

Haushofer’s CV of Failures is here: (downloads a PDF document.)

I admire Haushofer for starting this discussion.  That said, I’m not quite ready to list all my failures, academically, or as a lawyer, a librarian, or a writer.

Is anyone out there braver than I am?  What failures are you willing to share?



  1. I think I’ve got too many to list! I will say that while I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (one achievement I am most proud of, aside from my children), I didn’t get in the first time I applied. In fact, I didn’t get in to any colleges except for Penn State which had to accept me because I was a resident of the state (but I wasn’t admitted to the main campus) and a small liberal arts school called Beaver College (which has since changed its name). And then, of course, there are the many, many, many rejections of my books and requests for representation by literary agents.
    But I agree that having lots of failures just means that you tried lots of things. If you don’t stick your neck out and try you’ll never succeed despite the fact that that success most of the time comes with a long history of failure.
    Thanks so much for sharing this, Mindy!

    • (Grr, argh… The website hid this from me until today!)

      College-wise, mine would be headed with *didn’t* get into Harvard…