20 best books on making mistakes – 2023 reading list & recommendations

Are you tired of trying to be perfect all the time? Do you feel like you’re constantly making mistakes and beating yourself up about it? Well, you’re not alone. Making mistakes is a natural part of life, and it’s something we all go through. In fact, some of the greatest lessons and achievements come from our failures. If you’re looking for some inspiration and guidance on embracing your mistakes, we’ve got you covered. Here are the 20 best books about making mistakes that will help you turn your failures into triumphs.


by Tara Westover

Educated is an extraordinary memoir that delves into the power of redemption and the resilience of the human spirit. It is a captivating book about making mistakes and the transformative journey towards self-discovery.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

by Mark Manson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a refreshing book that challenges the conventional self-help genre. Instead of promoting positivity and happiness at all costs, Mark Manson takes a different approach. He delves into the idea that life is not about avoiding problems or seeking constant pleasure, but rather about finding meaning and embracing the inevitable struggles that come with it.

This book is not your typical self-help guide filled with empty promises and unrealistic expectations. Instead, it encourages you to embrace your flaws, accept your limitations, and make peace with the fact that making mistakes is an essential part of the human experience.

Mark Manson argues that our society is obsessed with constantly seeking validation, success, and happiness, which ultimately leads to feelings of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. He suggests that by reevaluating our values and focusing on what truly matters to us, we can find a sense of purpose and fulfillment in life.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a thought-provoking book that challenges popular beliefs and provides a refreshing perspective on how to navigate the challenges of life. It is a must-read for anyone who is tired of the pressure to always be happy and is ready to embrace their imperfections and learn from their mistakes.


by Beth Macy

Dopesick by Beth Macy is a captivating and eye-opening exploration of the opioid crisis that has swept across America, revealing the devastating consequences of a system that made countless mistakes. This powerful book delves deep into the heart of the epidemic, shedding light on the human stories of those affected by addiction, the doctors who prescribed the drugs, and the pharmaceutical companies that fueled the crisis.

Bad Blood

by John Carreyrou

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou is a captivating book about the disastrous consequences that arise when people deceive themselves and others. It is a gripping tale of ambition, deceit, and the devastating fallout that occurs when mistakes are made and the truth is ignored.

The Undoing Project

by Michael Lewis

The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis is a captivating book about the art of erring. This mesmerizing read delves into the world of cognitive psychology, exploring the intricate workings of the human mind when it comes to making errors. Lewis takes us on a thought-provoking journey, unraveling the fascinating research conducted by psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman.

Within the pages of this book on the fallibility of the human mind, Lewis masterfully uncovers the inherent biases, heuristics, and systematic errors that plague our decision-making process. He explores how our minds can often trick us into faulty reasoning, leading to poor choices and regrettable outcomes.

The Undoing Project serves as a reminder that mistakes are not only inevitable but also valuable. It reminds us that our errors can provide invaluable insights and new perspectives, propelling us towards growth and self-improvement. By understanding the mechanisms behind our mistakes, we can learn to navigate the complexities of decision-making with greater clarity and accuracy.

So, if you’re seeking a compelling book about the intricacies of the human mind and the importance of embracing our fallibility, The Undoing Project is a must-read. Prepare to be captivated by Lewis’ storytelling prowess as he uncovers the hidden depths of the human psyche and the lessons we can glean from our missteps.

The Power of Habit

by Charles Duhigg

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is a fascinating book that delves into the intricate workings of our habits, exploring how they shape our lives and how we can harness their power to create positive change. This book is not just a typical self-help guide, but rather a deep dive into the science and psychology behind our behaviors.

Throughout the pages of The Power of Habit, Duhigg presents numerous real-life examples and case studies that illustrate the power of habits in various aspects of our lives, from personal routines to organizational cultures. He explores the habits of successful individuals, companies, and even societies, revealing the key factors that contribute to their achievements.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this book is how Duhigg explores the idea that habits can be changed, and how understanding the mechanics of habits can empower us to make lasting transformations. He introduces the concept of the “habit loop,” which consists of a cue, a routine, and a reward, and explains how to identify and manipulate these elements to create new, healthier habits.

Furthermore, The Power of Habit emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and self-reflection in the process of habit change. Duhigg encourages readers to examine their own habits, both good and bad, and provides practical strategies for breaking free from destructive patterns. He acknowledges that making mistakes is an inevitable part of the journey, but emphasizes the importance of learning from them and using them as stepping stones towards progress.

In essence, The Power of Habit is a book about making mistakes, learning from them, and transforming our lives through the power of intentional habits. It is a thought-provoking and insightful read that will leave you with a deeper understanding of yourself and the potential for positive change.

The Innovators

by Walter Isaacson

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson is a remarkable exploration of the history of technology and the brilliant minds that shaped our digital world. It is not just a book about making mistakes, but rather a celebration of the process of trial and error that has led to some of the greatest inventions of our time.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is not just a book about making mistakes, it is a riveting tale of discovery, ethics, and the profound impact one woman’s cells had on the scientific world.

Rebecca Skloot takes readers on a captivating journey as she unravels the story behind the immortal cells of Henrietta Lacks. These cells, known as HeLa cells, were unknowingly taken from Henrietta during a medical procedure in the 1950s. Little did anyone know that these cells would become the foundation for countless medical breakthroughs, including the development of the polio vaccine and advancements in cancer research.

However, what sets this book apart is Skloot’s exploration of the ethical implications surrounding the use of Henrietta’s cells. She delves into the history of medical research, highlighting the often questionable practices that were prevalent at the time. Skloot also examines the impact that the discovery of HeLa cells had on Henrietta’s family, who were largely unaware of their mother’s contribution to science.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a thought-provoking and powerful piece of non-fiction that forces us to confront the mistakes of the past and question the ethical boundaries of scientific progress. Through Skloot’s meticulous research and storytelling, readers are not only introduced to the remarkable story of Henrietta Lacks, but also prompted to reflect on the profound impact that one person’s cells can have on the world.

The Glass Castle

by Jeannette Walls

Discover the captivating memoir, The Glass Castle, a remarkable story of resilience, determination, and the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. This compelling book about making mistakes takes readers on a journey through the ups and downs of author Jeannette Walls’ unconventional childhood.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

by Yuval Noah Harari

Have you ever wondered about the fascinating journey of our species? The triumphs, the blunders, and the unexpected twists that have shaped our human history? Look no further than Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari! This captivating book is a treasure trove of knowledge that takes us on an exhilarating ride through the annals of Homo sapiens, exploring our triumphs, our mishaps, and every mistake we’ve made along the way.

The Wright Brothers

by David McCullough

The Wright Brothers is a captivating book by David McCullough that delves into the incredible journey of two ordinary individuals who dared to dream, challenge the status quo, and ultimately changed the course of human history. This remarkable biography is not just a book about making mistakes, but a testament to the power of perseverance, resilience, and the human spirit.

The Big Short

by Michael Lewis

The Big Short by Michael Lewis is a captivating book about the art of making mistakes. This fascinating read takes you on a rollercoaster ride through the world of finance, where a few brilliant individuals had the audacity to see the impending economic collapse that almost no one else saw coming.

The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, is a heart-wrenching and poignant novel that explores the trials and tribulations of two teenagers, Hazel and Gus, who are grappling with the difficulties that life throws their way. This book on making mistakes takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster as Hazel and Gus face the consequences of their decisions.

The Lean Startup

by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is not just your average book on making mistakes. It’s a revolutionary guide that embraces the concept of learning through experimentation and iteration, providing entrepreneurs and business leaders with invaluable insights on how to build and grow successful companies.

This groundbreaking book about making mistakes challenges the traditional approach of meticulously planning every aspect of a business before launching it. Instead, Ries encourages readers to adopt a mindset of continuous learning and improvement, where mistakes are not only expected but embraced as opportunities for growth.

By focusing on a methodology called “validated learning,” The Lean Startup teaches readers how to test their assumptions, gather customer feedback, and adapt their strategies accordingly. Ries emphasizes the importance of building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – a version of the product that allows for rapid testing and learning – before investing significant time and resources into a final product.

Throughout the book, Ries shares his own experiences and lessons learned from his time as a startup founder, making mistakes book more relatable and engaging. He offers practical advice on topics such as measuring progress, pivoting when necessary, and creating a culture of innovation within an organization.

Ultimately, The Lean Startup is not just a book on making mistakes, but a guide that empowers entrepreneurs to embrace uncertainty, learn from failures, and build sustainable businesses that can adapt and thrive in an ever-changing market.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is a captivating exploration into the art of human decision-making. This thought-provoking book delves into the intricacies of our cognitive processes and exposes the fascinating ways in which our minds can lead us astray.

At its core, this book is a treasure trove of invaluable insights on the subject of error-prone thinking. It uncovers the various biases and heuristics that shape our judgments and evaluations, shedding light on the mechanisms behind our inevitable fallibility. Kahneman masterfully dissects the distinction between two systems of thinking: the fast, intuitive, and often error-prone System 1, and the slow, deliberate, and more rational System 2.

Through a combination of rigorous research and personal anecdotes, Kahneman brings to life the many ways in which our minds can deceive us. From the illusion of expertise to the perils of overconfidence, he exposes the vulnerabilities that plague our decision-making processes. This book is a wakeup call, reminding us that even the most intelligent individuals are prone to making mistakes.

With its engaging storytelling and accessible language, Thinking, Fast and Slow manages to captivate readers from all walks of life. It offers an eye-opening journey through the intricacies of our minds, challenging our preconceived notions and forcing us to confront our own cognitive biases. This is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the human condition and the fallibility of our thinking processes.

The Art of Thinking Clearly

by Rolf Dobelli

The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli is a fascinating book that dives deep into the art of avoiding cognitive biases and making sound decisions in our daily lives. It’s a gem for anyone who wants to unravel the intricate web of human thinking and learn how to navigate through it with clarity and precision.

Consider this book as your personal guide on the journey of self-improvement, helping you recognize and overcome the pitfalls of faulty reasoning. Dobelli explores a wide range of topics, including confirmation bias, survivorship bias, and the dangers of overconfidence.

But what sets this book apart is its refreshing take on the importance of making mistakes. Instead of viewing errors as something to be avoided, Dobelli emphasizes how crucial they are for personal growth and success. Through thought-provoking examples and anecdotes, he shows us that making mistakes is an essential part of the learning process and can lead to valuable insights.

So, if you’re looking for a book that will challenge your thinking, expand your perspective, and help you make better decisions, The Art of Thinking Clearly is the perfect choice. It’s a captivating exploration of the human mind and an indispensable tool for anyone who wants to sharpen their thinking skills and avoid the pitfalls of cognitive bias. Don’t miss out on this enlightening journey!

The Black Swan

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a fascinating book about making mistakes that challenges our understanding of the world. Taleb introduces the concept of a “black swan,” an unpredictable event with severe consequences that defies our expectations.

The Tipping Point

by Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point: Unlocking the Secrets of Making Mistakes

Are you curious about the power of mistakes and how they can lead to groundbreaking success? Look no further than Malcolm Gladwell’s thought-provoking book, The Tipping Point: Unlocking the Secrets of Making Mistakes. In this captivating exploration, Gladwell delves into the fascinating phenomenon of how small, seemingly insignificant mistakes can have massive, game-changing consequences.

Unlike traditional self-help books that focus solely on avoiding mistakes, Gladwell takes a refreshing approach by highlighting how mistakes can actually serve as catalysts for innovation and transformation. He argues that it is during these moments of error that individuals, organizations, and even entire societies reach a tipping point – a critical juncture where change becomes inevitable.

Gladwell draws on a wide range of captivating examples to illustrate his insights. From the rise of the Hush Puppies shoe brand to the unexpected spread of crime in New York City, he uncovers the underlying factors that contribute to the tipping point. By dissecting these case studies, Gladwell reveals how seemingly minor errors in judgment or action can lead to exponential growth or decline.

With his trademark storytelling style and meticulous research, Gladwell takes readers on a journey through the complexities of human behavior and decision-making. He explores the role of influencers, connectors, and mavens – those individuals who possess a unique ability to amplify the impact of mistakes and accelerate change.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader, or simply someone who wants to understand the dynamics of success and failure, The Tipping Point is a must-read. Gladwell’s thought-provoking insights will challenge your preconceptions about mistakes and inspire you to embrace them as opportunities for growth and progress.


by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers is not just a book on making mistakes, it’s a captivating exploration of the hidden factors that contribute to success. Malcolm Gladwell, a master storyteller, takes readers on a journey through the lives of extraordinary individuals who have achieved greatness in their respective fields.

In this thought-provoking book about making mistakes, Gladwell challenges the conventional belief that success is solely based on talent and hard work. Instead, he unveils a fascinating pattern of circumstances and opportunities that have shaped the lives of outliers.

By delving into the lives of Bill Gates, The Beatles, and even Canadian hockey players, Gladwell reveals that timing, cultural heritage, and countless hours of practice are essential components of success. He argues that making mistakes is not a sign of failure, but rather a necessary part of the learning process.

Through captivating anecdotes and thought-provoking analysis, Gladwell demonstrates that making mistakes is not something to be ashamed of, but rather a stepping stone towards greatness. Outliers challenges us to reevaluate our understanding of success and encourages us to embrace the power of our own unique circumstances.

So, if you’re looking for a making mistakes book that will inspire and motivate you, Outliers is a must-read. Prepare to be captivated by Gladwell’s storytelling prowess as he uncovers the hidden secrets behind the world’s most successful outliers.


by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Are you ready to dive into a fascinating journey exploring the unexpected world of decision-making and the consequences that follow? Look no further than Freakonomics, a captivating book that delves into the realm of human errors and their surprising outcomes.

Imagine a book that challenges conventional wisdom and sheds light on the hidden factors behind our everyday choices. Well, Freakonomics does just that. This compelling masterpiece, written by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, is a true gem that will make you question everything you thought you knew about the world.

This eye-opening book can be aptly described as a “book on making mistakes.” It uncovers the intricate web of cause and effect, demonstrating how seemingly insignificant decisions can have monumental consequences. Whether it’s the unexpected impact of legalized abortion on crime rates or the surprising reasons behind the decline of the Ku Klux Klan, Freakonomics explores the hidden side of human behavior.

Delving into a variety of topics, this “book about making mistakes” examines the choices we make in our personal and professional lives, highlighting the unforeseen repercussions that can arise. Levitt and Dubner employ their unique blend of economics and sociology to uncover the underlying patterns connecting seemingly unrelated events.

With its thought-provoking anecdotes and meticulous research, Freakonomics is the quintessential “making mistakes book.” It challenges our preconceived notions and encourages us to question the status quo. By exploring the unintended consequences of our actions, this book offers invaluable insights into the complex and often unpredictable nature of decision-making.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a captivating journey into the world of human errors and their surprising outcomes, Freakonomics is the perfect choice. Prepare to have your mind expanded, your assumptions shattered, and your perspective forever altered. Get ready to discover the hidden truths that lie beneath the surface of our everyday lives.


In conclusion, these 20 best books about making mistakes offer valuable insights and lessons for readers of all ages. From memoirs to self-help guides, each book explores the transformative power of embracing our mistakes and learning from them. Whether you are seeking personal growth, professional development, or simply a good read, these books are sure to inspire and provoke thought. So, grab a copy, dive in, and discover the wisdom that comes from embracing our imperfections. Happy reading!