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Hannah Cardoza

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How to Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned from Things Going Wrong
2019 . Elizabeth Day

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It pains my heart to say this, as I really like Elizabeth Day as a podcaster and a person, but I felt let down by this book. The How To Fail podcast has a pleasing structure, asking public figures, to recount 3-4 failures and what they've learnt from it. The book on the other hand, tries to group failures thematically (How To Fail at Dating, How To Fail at Sports etc.) and while I understand the logic of doing so, it doesn't really work and each chapter feels like it hastens to tie things up neatly at the end - when really, failure is a very messy business and there will be several times when your gambles/attempts to be brave will not and have not worked and there will be serious consequences. I especially took against this chapter as I feel she lacked awareness that being a freelance writer is very different to every other career out there and measures she took to achieve for a higher salary (basically just leaving the Observer to go freelance) is not realistic for most careers - finance, law, manual labour, medical etc. I think for this chapter it would have been helpful for her to have drawn more from her podcast guests' stories as there would have been more variety in experience of profession, allowing for a richer picture of 'how to fail at work'. However I thought the chapter of How To Fail at Babies was particularly strong and moving, as it was the first time I had read a comprehensive account of miscarriage and the cycle of hope, anxiety and heartbreak that comes with IVF not taking. The element that I felt was strong in the book is the compassion that Elizabeth clearly has - she is a very generous, kind commentator which makes the book pleasurable to read, even if I didn't always vibe with the content. I think the reason why I struggled with this book so much is because Elizabeth and I are fundamentally quite different people. She often reminds you that even though she was 12 she was already acting like an adult. I would say my own maturity has been a very slow burner, so what she considered her own failures I really didn't (especially my gal got her/my dream job as her first job ๐Ÿคจ).
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Bad Blood
2018 . John Carreyrou

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Probably one of the wildest non-fiction books I've read. Written by investigative journalist John Carryrou it details how a blood-testing startup went from a valuation of $9 billion to $0. The idea behind Theranos was meant to revolutionise blood-testing - instead of needing to take vials of blood intravenously a simple pinprick amount of blood would be analysed in a small machine against 50 types of blood tests to produce a result sent to your phone. An incredible medical breakthrough - only the technology and the biomedicine behind it doesn't actually exist. Not to spoil if you do want to read this book but at some points I was aghast at just how far the CEO Elizabeth Holmes was able to take this scam - it even got to the table of the US Department of Defense for use in military. The book really pulls the veil off Silicon Valley - at how the culture really panders to meglomanics and confidence trickers. Behind the facade of glass buildings, fancy reception areas, coverage in Forbes hid a company culture of loyalty-at-all-costs, harrassment, threats and blatant lies about the ability of their tech. What was sad to see so many incrediblely talented scientists, technicians, medical researchers that tried to sound the alarm that the technology was not safe or accurate for use on human beings, but they were forced out of the company, threatened with litigation and essentially intimidated into silence. I really found myself getting irritated at the stupidity of the Venture Capitalists who kept throwing money at the company and the execs from Walgreens and other pharmacies who were so taken in by Holmes's personality and idea that they didn't even stress test any of the technology to ensure its safety, before rolling it out to their customers - the public.
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Money Heist
2017 . Action & Adventure, Crime, Mystery

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One of the best TV shows I think has ever been written. I've never rooted for heist people before haha. I enjoy watching in the Spanish original with subtitles as the acting is so exquisite
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Peep Show
2003 . Comedy

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Always my hangover watching as a reminder that my life could be worse. Mark, Super and Jez are timeless and it pushed British comedy to risky places
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Modern Family
2009 . Comedy, Drama, Romance

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One of my favourite finds of 2020 - the dunphy, the pritchetts and the tuckers are such a gorgeous, funny, warm family - the episodes were great to tuck into after a difficult year for all
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Curb Your Enthusiasm
2000 . Comedy

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Larry David is a comedic genius. The quality of the series vary and I prefer the later seasons to the former but that opinon is often challenged
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Mrs. America
2020 . Biography, Drama, History

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It has everything I want in a historical drama - incredible actors, fantastic soundtrack, a heart in its screenplay. I didn't know much about the ERA in America but this shows the power of shrewd and cynical opportunism in swaying people who are easy led. Phyllis's ending was pitch perfect, as was the portrayal of the mystique around Gloria Steinem
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