Fear of Failure

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

James Marshall Galbraith, a highly successful entrepreneur who has faced personal ruin on more than one occasion, is a man on a mission. Convinced that corporate America is suffering from a collective fear of failure, he has written a testimonial to explain the problem and offer what he sees as the only solution possible if American business is to continue to prosper in a world where the risks of doing business are ever increasing.

Galbraith begins with several chapters that provide a personal account of his own business ventures, describing his successes and failures in buying and selling a number of companies over a decade. He is remarkably honest in his account, candidly explaining how his own naivete or bad judgment caused him and his partners to find themselves on the brink of financial disaster on more than one occasion. He then supplements his personal story with reviews of the careers of men such as Donald Trump and Ted Turner, other entrepreneurs who have not let the possibility of failure keep them from taking the risks necessary to be successful, or to pick up and start over when failures bring them to a temporary halt in their pursuit of personal business goals.

Galbraith’s account reads like an adventure novel: full of suspense, threats of personal and corporate ruin, last-minute deals and other incredible incidents where business savvy and dumb luck combine to tip the scales in favor of success. FEAR OF FAILURE strikes a cautionary note, too, for all those who have become taken in by the notion that success and financial wealth are synonymous; Galbraith cites example after example of individuals who achieved the latter but found themselves still frustrated and unsatisfied. He encourages all who would be truly successful to find their measures for self-worth in the personal satisfaction that comes from bringing to fruition complex endeavors in a high-risk environment. Overcoming the fear of failure and moving forward confident of success—and not being crushed when success eludes one on occasion—will produce more real satisfaction than the accumulation of millions.