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Failing Up

How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning
Narrated by: Leslie Odom Jr.
Length: 3 hrs and 35 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (979 ratings)

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Go Behind the Scenes with Leslie Odom, Jr.

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The Broadway phenom...draws on his own life, and success, to offer advice about living to your fullest potential.

-The New York Times
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Our favorite moments from Failing Up

Identify your true passion
Have you taken a step forward today?
Open your heart to a new reality
Beginners luck isn’t actually luck

  • Failing Up
  • Identify your true passion
  • Failing Up
  • Have you taken a step forward today?
  • Failing Up
  • Open your heart to a new reality
  • Failing Up
  • Beginners luck isn’t actually luck

About the Author and Performer

Leslie Odom, Jr., is best known for his breakout role as Aaron Burr in the smash hit Broadway musical Hamilton, for which he won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and a Grammy Award as a principal soloist on the original cast recording. Making his Broadway debut in Rent at age 17, he also starred in the stage adaptation of Leap of Faith. His off-Broadway work includes Venice and the original staging of Hamilton, both at the Public Theater. He also starred opposite Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo in a 2014 City Center Encores! revival of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick ... Boom!. Odom was most recently seen on the big screen in Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express. His previous film work includes the 2012 historical drama Red Tails, as part of an all-star cast that included Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and David Oyelowo. On television, he starred in the cult-classic musical drama series Smash and had recurring roles on NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and CBS’s Persons of Interest and CSI: Miami. In December 2017, Odom returned to the New York stage in a solo concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center -- a cabaret-style performance that was also filmed for PBS’s Emmy Award-winning series Live from Lincoln Center, aired in April 2018. Odom is also a featured performer on the Audible Audiobook The Radical King.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of the most profound reads I've heard yet!

At one of my lost/ lows at the time I've heard this reading, it was profound to me on account of losing my job, at home (my brother's home) on the couch, "waiting on calls" for job offers, feeling worried, and sorry for myself, this book couldn't have come at a better time! This book read out a loud that I can "try harder ", more proactively to help myself out of my situation! Thank you Leslie Odom Jr. for a book with real depth of self excellence !

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Just what I needed to hear

Any additional comments?

As a working actor, who continuously goes through the feast and famine that this industry offers, the internal and emotional struggles that is inevitable to go through during this perpetual hustle, Leslie Odom Jr.'s book really hits home and speaks to my inner self and has helped center me, inspire me, allow me to accept the decisions I've made or am making and pushed me to keep learning, to say No when needed without remorse and never to be afraid to fail. Well done and thank you.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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When you take one step, the universe takes two

My only wish is that there was more. I really enjoyed this and found it inspirational. Fail up. Don’t be afraid to fail. TRY. Take the risk and jump. Fly.

27 of 35 people found this review helpful

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mesmerizing and intuitive

There's no lack of positive words I could use to describe this audio book, performed with an appealing candor it was an easy listen that I had to continually repeat because of getting lost in the story I wasn't absorbing the life lessons, phenomenal I would reccomend this to anyone.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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I wish this would have been a biography instead

A straight autobiography would have been more impactful. Leslie recounts specific events in his life to demonstrate certain values, and unfortunately it comes off preachy.
His personal stories are told too briefly and incredibly flatly- it would go from "I married my best friend, love of my life" to "my life wasn't great and I was depressed" in the same paragraph with little transition and little detail to gain meaning.
His successes are so extraordinary that when he tries to impress a life lesson, it's cheapened by the lack of narrative around his struggles. Instead, "fail spectacularly" was repeated again and again, with little substance to inspire.
Most of the stories in this book is easily found elsewhere, so I would pass on this if you're looking for more insight into Leslie's life. I would also pass if you're looking for life lessons.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, United States
  • 04-19-18

Inspirational

Good story. Could have been shorter. Got repetitive. But a good story nonetheless. Epilogue was poignant!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Never Fails to Engage the Listener

Using events in his own life, Leslie Odom Jr offers an inspirational read that feels different from any of the other inspirational books I've read. This one deals with perseverance and commitment like other books of its kind, but this one goes to dark and scary places that have to do with taking chances, giving yourself permission to fail and learn from those failures. The whole tone is fresh and different. Blending anecdotes with good, sound, concise advice, readers understand that everyone can achieve a more creative life. Never sad, always uplifting and often a little scary, Failing Up is a must read at any stage in your life because we all want to live a more creative life -- no matter how young or old we are. I loved the audiobook because you get to hear Leslie Odom Jrs' golden voice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Trust the closed door!!

I thought this was profound. TRUST THE CLOSED DOOR. I love that!!!! Great voice! Nice to hear his story. Calm and easy to listen to book. I had no idea who this guy was but sounds like he is up and coming! Keep up the good work.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Great Book!

What did you love best about Failing Up?

I loved his message and energy - he gives a real view into his experiences leading into Hamilton and afterwards.

What other book might you compare Failing Up to and why?

I would compare it to Michael Strahan's autobiography. If you like his book, you will like this one.

What about Leslie Odom Jr.’s performance did you like?

Very clear, very well paced.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The Leslie Odom story - how to become the actor you want to be.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I Loved This Book

I’ve personally known Leslie for a long time. I’ve seen his unique and meteoric star rise and I understand exactly why and how he’s sculpted this life for himself and his family. It wasn’t luck. It was him. His diligence, self-belief, strong work ethic, proactiveness, good vibes, and willingness to fail of course. Getting to know him on another level through this book was truly special. It doesn’t happen often. Read this book. Listen to this book. You’ll be glad you did.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-23-18

Amazing

Brilliant audio book and such a lovely voice to listen to. Inspirational thank you for your story

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • AmazonCustomer
  • 04-11-18

Adored this

I am now an even bigger fan of Leslie Odom Jr. what a brilliant man! Very honest and open book!
Just wish it would have been longer!!! Wanted more!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Miss
  • 01-21-19

Extremely helpful

I have listed to this book several times and it's amazing, and it's beautifully narrated. The real take home for me is the importance of being intentional about what it is you want for your life. It has guided me to enjoy the process of looking at opportunities in my life and taking risks. As well as, helped me to see that failing is not really my fear, it's the shame (and the inability to deal with it) that comes with giving your all and not succeeding. So now this book has led me into some further self-reflection and self-improvement. Can't thank Mr. Odom Jr. enough for his openness and over sunny demeanor throughout the book. Well worth a listen.