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Failure Is an Option

An Attempted Memoir
Written by: H. Jon Benjamin
Narrated by: H. Jon Benjamin
Length: 4 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (136 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Actor, voice actor, and comedian H. Jon Benjamin helps us all feel a little better about our own failures by sharing his own - despite his success starring on Archer and Bob's Burgers - in a hilarious, self-helpful memoir.

While he's not quite a household name, most people would consider H. Jon Benjamin, the voice-actor star of Archer and Bob's Burgers (and a sentient can of mixed vegetables in 2015's Wet Hot American Summer) a comedy show business success. But he'd like to remind everyone that as great as success can be, failure is also an option. In a hilarious, self-deprecating memoir, Jon lays out some of his many failures in all areas of life, from Work ("wherein I'm unable to deliver a sizzling fajita") to Family ("wherein a trip to PF Chang's fractures a family").

Fans of his characters' signature wit and voice will rejoice in H. Jon Benjamin's comical failures - and appreciate a rare look into the life of the man behind their favorite shows.

©2018 H. Jon Benjamin (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

“His craft, and what makes him such an inspired and singular voice, is to make it look easy.... That it’s decidedly not that easy is part of the gag; writing this funny requires immense talent.” (AV Club)

“It’s that voice.... Had me laughing out loud.” (The New York Times)  

“Benjamin’s stories run the gamut from personal to professional and will leave you laughing out loud and embracing your own failures.” (HelloGiggles

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Not reading this book would be an epic failure

I have never bothered to write a review before. I listened straight through, laughing all the way. So much to relate to, so much to cheer for, so much to just enjoy. Rushed out and bought several copies as gifts.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I almost finished this in one sitting!

Don't sleep with your cousin for a good story!!
This story is the opposite of serious and will have you cringing in a good way.
You will enjoy it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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H. John Benjamin is my kindred spirit.

If you like Archer, Bob's Burgers, or the convenience store dude on Family Guy just to name a few...BUY THIS BOOK. If you don't, do it anyway, I laughed out loud like a fool to many times to count.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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10/10 would recommend

This was a great listen! Very entertaining and down to earth. I Had no idea that H. Jon Benjamin has had such an eventful life and I was hooked the entire time :)

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Fantastic

Amazing listen. Jon reminds that we only need to get it right once, and that one day we'll look back on all our failures and laugh. Relatable and hilarious

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Very Funny and Interesting Book

H Jon Benjamin's life is a wild ride and all the better that he narrated. You won't be disappointed!

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Hilarious

I literally cried laughing. Literally. AND nearly peed my pants on more than five occasions, which is very high praise.

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A hilarious memoir & up yours to success books!

I only knew H. Jon Benjamin as the voice of Archer on the adult cartoon series by the same name, and I saw him in some bit parts on TV shows. His memoir's title was compelling and I like his voice. This audiobook did not disappoint. I laughed hard and often. Also I found the premise of failure being an option in life was refreshing after so many damned Success Now or Success in 10 Easy Steps books. You don't need to be some huge success to have a good and meaningful life. H. Jon thank you for you your candour and wit!
#Audible1

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splendid

I love it, I was expecting less, and got much more. I recommend it so very much. 11/10 would listen/read again.

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H. Jon Benjamin at his best and worst

If you are a fan of Archer or Bob's Burgers you will most definitely recognize H.Jon Benjamin even if you have never heard his name.
The story is one of having the ability to accept that failure is indeed an option and that's ok. No matter how much stuff you are going through, it's ok to fail.
The book is one of stories from being young and foolish and others that would make you thankful for kind valets.
Having the author narrate the book is a great choice, it is one that I will listen to again and again. #Audible1

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  • Gisela
  • 2018-05-07

No joke, This book helped my marriage

I'm way to hard on myself and my failures, which is why I decided to listen to this book. I thought if I could hear how a person who's, by all rights, "made it" can be casual about failure, then I could be too. What the book did, was allowed me to think back to some of my failures and be ok with them. Besides, failure is a set closer to success ... that if, if you keep going, which Jon often didn't ... but that's not the point.

It also gave me a great amount of insight about my husband, who focuses on his own failures, and has described the many times in his life when he's been paralyzed by failure, or the possibility of failure. I hugged him often while finishing a listening session and gained a new level of love and awe for his ability to succeed even when the fear of failure paralyzed him so.

This book was funny, and fun to listen to, and honestly it's made all the better by Jon actually reading it to you.

I recommend it to anyone who wants to laugh about themselves, while laughing at someone else.

45 of 50 people found this review helpful

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  • Tanya
  • 2018-05-08

Everything I expected and more

With all it's rambling filler this book is wonderful. The comedy within is all I hoped for. Well done!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonathan
  • ORCHARD PARK, NY, United States
  • 2018-05-08

Super funny...

...I just wish it were longer. Any fan of Jon's work should get a kick out of his attempted memoir; I don't think I've ever laughed out loud this many times while listening to an audiobook. Hopefully he attempts a follow up!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Posinerd
  • Rocky Mount, NC
  • 2018-05-11

Love H Jon Benjamin

Truth be told, I was a little disappointed about the book. BUT H. Jon Benjamin as narrator does NOT disappoint, and the last 3 chapters are worth the price of admission. You should still get this book.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Mollie
  • 2018-05-08

Set up to fail

Thank you Jon Benjamin. Thank for you this book which I do very much believe in written form is made of solid gold. It’s probably a heavy book then. Thank you for narrating your book. Thank you for being you. I feel like I’m set on a good track to fail after listening to this audio book! If you have even just one working ear you should listen to this book. Your ear(s) will thank you.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-05-07

Failure to not entertain

Very funny and above expectations! I love Jon's other work and enjoyed get a bit of insight into his life's failures.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jill Nicely
  • 2018-05-03

sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, archer, and bob

I've been a fan of Bob's Burgers and Archer for years, so when I saw that H. Jon Benjamin wrote a memoir, I knew I had to have it. And when I saw that he read it himself, I knew I had to get in on audio. 

I was not disappointed. 

Failure Is an Option is a phenomenal book to listen to. Benjamin starts from his childhood and goes through his life so far, detailing his failures: how he failed to have a name, how he failed to have a sleepover, how he failed to make a pilot, how he failed at launching a kid's show. He's had a lot of failures. And yet, he's clearly had successes too. He makes the point that while some authors talk about how failures can lead to success, he believes that they're not necessarily correlated. We all fail. We all succeed. But then he goes back to doing one of the things he does best, being funny. 

With buckets of honesty and self-awareness, Benjamin shares stories of living in France and studying at university, about trying pot and negotiating with gay escorts (it's not as easy as it sounds, especially when they play Good Gay Escort/Bad Gay Escort). He goes to Canada and baseball games and a Chinese restaurant that his parents "discover." He buys a dirt bike (or two) and offers poor customer service, both in his father's electrical supply store and at a restaurant that serves sizzling hot fajitas. And in with all the stories of his failures are other ideas he's had: failed Presidential pets, failed business ideas, failed pickup lines, and he even includes an excerpt from his fake Holocaust memoir. 

His openness is only matched by his ability to take what could be a painful experience and turn it into a laugh-out-loud funny story that makes you like him even more.

Failure Is an Option may be a perfect audiobook. I recommend it strongly (while giggling behind my hand, knowing what you're in for). 

Note: this isn't for everyone. There is talk of sex, including threesomes, and drug use. If you know him from Bob's Burgers, you might cringe a little every once in awhile. If you know him from Archer, you won't even bat an eyelash. 

Second, far more important note: In this book, Benjamin admits that as a teenager, he liked disco. Not only that, he had the ability to do the DISCO SPLITS! ON ROLLER SKATES!! How has this not been in an episode of Archer yet??? Someone important: please make this happen, ASAP!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Irene Barnett
  • 2018-06-15

Favorite comedy book of all time

I’m a huge fan of Archer so getting to listen to that voice in my ear - huge plus. HJB is so likable and endearing and hilarious. Laughed through the whole book, out loud and to the concern of others at the gym.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin Zeillmann
  • 2018-07-16

Great narration, less than great content

I love H Jon Benjamin's voice, and I really enjoyed parts of the book, but when someone keeps writing about how unimpressive they are, you gradually start to ask yourself why you are listening to such an unimpressive person and learning about their life. As much as I love his voice, I couldn't finish the book. Made it about 60% of the way

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Aaron
  • 2018-05-23

Hilarious

This was one of the funniest books I have ever read. A must read, so relatable, so perfect.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful