Fail Better

By (author): Mark Kingwell

Taking seriously the idea that baseball is a study in failure—a very successful batter manages a base hit in just three of every ten attempts—Mark Kingwell argues that there is no better tutor of human failure’s enduring significance than this strange, crooked game of base, where geometry becomes poetry.

Weaving elements of memoir, philosophical reflection, sports writing, and humour, Fail Better is an intellectual love letter to baseball by one of North America’s most engaging philosophers. Kingwell illustrates complex concepts like theoretically infinite game-space, “time out of time,” and the rules of civility with accessible examples drawn from the game, its history, and his own halting efforts to hit ‘em where they ain’t. Beyond a “Beckett meets baseball” study in failure, Kingwell crafts a thoughtful appreciation of why sports matter, and how they change our vision of the world.

Never pretentious, always entertaining, Fail Better is set to be the homerun non-fiction title of the season.


Mark Kingwell

Mark Kingwell is the author of sixteen books and a contributing editor for Harper’s magazine.


Praise for Fail Better

“Fail Better … is a ballpark ramble of memoir, lore and nostalgia. Its north star is baseball’s time-out-of-timelessness, its leisurely Zen gaps between actions.”New York Times

Fail Better is baseball considered personally, historically, poetically, formally, legally, critically, politically, linguistically, ethically, geographically, metaphysically, nostalgically, morally, and aesthetically. Like the game itself, it’s fascinating all the way through.”—Stephen Marche, author of The Unmade Bed: The Messy Truth about Men and Women in the 21st Century

Praise for Mark Kingwell and Catch and Release

“Mark Kingwell is a beautiful writer, a lucid thinker and a patient teacher … His insights are intellectual anchors in a fast-changing world.”—Naomi Klein

“[Mark Kingwell] illuminates on almost every page.”—LA Times

“[Catch and Release is] filled with a sense of joy and awe.”—Publishers Weekly


There are no awards found for this book.
Excerpts & Samples ×
There are no other resources for this book.

Reader Reviews



278 Pages
8.5in * 5.5in * .71875in


April 11, 2017





Book Subjects:

SPORTS & RECREATION / Baseball / General

Featured In:

All Books



Related Blog Posts

There are no posts with this book.

Other books by Mark Kingwell