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Failing Up

How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning
Written by: Leslie Odom Jr.
Narrated by: Leslie Odom Jr.
Length: 3 hrs and 35 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

I can tell you’re a dreamer – you’re a human. We hope, we imagine, and believe daydreams will be realized. Then lives take shape, ambitions are shelved. What does it mean to be realistic?

Leslie Odom, Jr., became a household name when he originated the role of Aaron Burr in the Broadway sensation Hamilton, a performance that won him the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. But before he could perform for sold-out audiences in one of the most massively successful shows of all time, Odom had to stop playing it safe and take the risk of a lifetime. Now, with the depth and poetic power he brought to the stage, Odom shares his story in his own voice.

Listen in as Odom recounts his dynamic path to success with sincerity and vigor bound to inspire, motivate, and ultimately, help you believe in your own potential. In his intimate retelling of childhood dreams — finally fully realized — Odom shares insights to lift up listeners and offers concrete actions they can immediately apply to their own lives. Honest and thoughtful, Leslie Odom, Jr., transforms sentiment into success.

Cover photo by Christopher Boudewyns. 

©2018 Leslie Odom Jr. (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What the critics say

"Listening to Leslie Odom, Jr., it's clear that he approached the narration of his audiobook with the same attention to craft, preparation, and openness that he strives to bring to all of his projects.... Listeners will be glad to spend time in his company." (AudioFile)

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

Locomotive

Leslie takes a while to get into this little book but punch’s well above his weight.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anthony L. Dennis
  • 2018-05-04

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 !

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrea
  • 2018-04-17

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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  • Amy Aguilar
  • 2018-04-11

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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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-07-02

didn't motivate me

If you are the type of person who doesnt get motivated by other people success, then this book is NOT helpful. (maybe I didn't like the book much because I have never heard of the author or seen any of his work)
It was nice to listen to his experiences but it did not change my life or made me get up of my lazy butt and do something useful!
This book could be summarized in:
Dont sit and do nothing. Dont just wait for something to come your way. Go do something new/else while you are waiting for what you want to happen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • person
  • 2018-04-16

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.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Faye
  • 2018-04-12

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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  • David
  • Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, United States
  • 2018-04-19

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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  • Deborah Jacob
  • Port of Spain
  • 2018-11-03

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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  • Dayna Vango
  • 2018-04-16

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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  • Emery
  • 2018-04-13

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