The Virtues of Failure

Original title: Les vertus de l’échec

Author: Pépin, Charles

Publication Date:

September 2016



Original language and publisher

French | Allary Editions

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. French

Territories Sold

Germany (Carl Hanser)
Italy (Garzanti, in a pre-empt)
Romania (rights reverted)
Brazil (Estação Liberdade, at auction)
Greece (Dioptra)
Portugal (Gradiva)
South Korea (rights reverted)
Spanish (Spain) (Editorial Ariel/Planeta)
Catalan (Ara Llibres)
Poland (Muza)
Czech Republic (Omega, two-book deal)
Ukraine (Vivat, two-book deal)
Arabic (Al Kotob Khan)
China (Ginkgo)


Personal Development

The Virtues of Failure

Original title: Les vertus de l’échec

Author: Pépin, Charles


[Pépin] makes you want to dare, change and transform our French culture! – France 2 

A wise treatise that puts us on the path for authentic success – Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes 

Everyone is looking for success… To the point of running away from the failures that would help us question ourselves and find our way. This is what the philosopher Charles Pépin explains in this successful essay. – Elle

An ode to empiricism. – Direct Matin

A passionate book! | Failure, a step toward success. – Europe 1 

Could failure have a positive side? Could there be a beneficial effect in falling flat on your face? Advantages to disappointments, whether they come in your private or professional life? Reasons to be pleased, to smile even, after failing? A thousand times yes, says this philosopher – Le Figaro

Changing the way we see failure – Psychologies 

Charles Pépin invites us to take time to examine the detours of our lives. | He shows the extent to which failure is about becoming fully human, by discovering the limits of our power. – Philosophie Magazine

[Pépin] forcefully defends our right – our duty, even! – to get things wrong and explains how failure builds our future successes – Pelerin

With a title like this, the cheeky Charles Pépin was bound for success – L’Express

A reinvigorating essay! – Les Inrockuptibles 

Crystal clear, this essay on the virtues of failure is like a guide to being yourself, with yourself, for yourself. In a society of success in everything and at any cost, this book gives us back control over our own lives Libération 

A book that will give everyone a burst of optimism – Laurent Require – Les Grosses têtes, RTL

Failing could prove beneficial, if three conditions are met: avoiding any denial of the failure, distinguishing it from personal failure, and taking the time to question yourself. This is what the philosopher Charles Pépin reveals in his book The Virtues of Failure – L’Echo 

Redeeming failure to develop a culture of daring, this is a bold move that is full of common sense! – Cfdt magazine 

One of the most invigorating essays of this fall.  Le Point

Failure isn’t pleasant. However, it opens up a window onto reality, allowing us to deploy our abilities, bringing us closer to our intimate quest in life, our deepest desire. — Charles Pépin, Revue

Great achievements often hide laborious beginnings, fruitless attempts and other fiascos. Full of examples, this essay from Charles Pépin teaches us how to fail successfully.

While in many countries entrepreneurs, politicians and sportspeople do not hesitate to talk about their disappointments, failing is not looked on favorably in France. Many see it as a sign of weakness rather than of daring, a handicap and not a measure of experience.

But what if the time has come to rehabilitate failure? Far from being an irremediable fault, failure can be seen as a special moment when an individual, faced with reality, becomes aware of their limits, learns to know themselves and better understands what they want most of all. A healthy challenge that gives them a clearer vision of themselves, humbler and stronger. De Gaulle, Steve Jobs, Rafael Nadal, The Beatles, JK Rowling… This essay reminds us that they all suffered painful setbacks at the beginning of their careers, which they were able to transform into founding experiences.

Drawing on these examples, Pépin calls on Seneca, Cicero, Sartre and Freud to look at failure differently. In a sharp and direct style, he teaches us how not to be paralysed by the fear of failure in order to live fully, to dare and to have a go; ‘to take the risk of life itself.’

A little book of wisdom that, by showing us the virtues of failure, puts us on track for authentic success.

Marketing Information

  • Over 160,000 copies sold
  • Winner of the Prix du livre Actualité du Cercle de l’Excellence RH and Prix Elina & Louis Pauwels 2017
  • English sample and full German & Spanish translations available


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Germany (Hanser), Spain (Editorial Ariel/Planeta), Italy (Garzanti), Catalonia (Ara Llibres), Romania (Niculescu), South Korea (Keumdong Books), Brazil (Estação Liberdade), Portugal (Gradiva), Netherlands (Scriptum), Greece (Dioptra), Poland (Muza)