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How to be a Complete and Utter Failure [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Steve McDermott
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Paperback £8.79  
Audio, Cassette, Audiobook £12.19  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, 28 Jun 2007 --  

Book Description

28 Jun 2007

How to be a Complete and Utter Failure turns the concept of self-improvement on its head and offers a total antedote to the motivational, gung-ho, over-enthused tone of all the usual self-improvement guides. 

Delivered in fast, easily digestible chunks, in a style that makes you laugh while you learn, this CD offers tongue-in-cheek advice about what not to do to ensure certain failure in every aspect of your life. From not having any goals, to not taking personal responsibility for your life and results, every idea, strategy, suggestion and story is guaranteed to propel you into the slow lane of total inadequacy.


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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Red Audio Professional; 2 edition (28 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0273715054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0273715054
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 12.4 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 626,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


 "With its clever use of reverse psychology, this is actually a very well researched book about being one of life's winners…written in a simple-to-read and very humorous style."

Professional Manager

"Before I founded The Gadget Shop I'd read every personal and business development book I could get my hands on and picked out the best ideas from each one. What's great about Steve's book is all these ideas, and many others I've never come across, can now be found in one place. Best of all, reading it is just like hearing Steve talk when he is on stage. It's like getting good advice from a friend. Steve uses humour in a very effective way in order to help you make more of your life, career or business".
Jonathan Elvidge, Founder and Chief Executive, The Gadget Shop

"At Asda we've been successful by swimming upstream and placing people development at the heart of our business. Put Steve's book at the heart of your personal development and he'll help you swim upstream too"
Tony De Nunzio, Chief Executive, Asda

"Don't read this book"
Uncle Richard

"This is a very funny business book, but has some sensible thinking behind it. Reinforcing the "don't do this" approach, it gets the message across to readers of how to do things right."

The Bookseller

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Do you want to fail in everything you do and waste all your potential?


Life is about being negative, right? It’s about not taking opportunities, never changing and, most importantly, feeling unhappy and unfulfilled.


How to Be a Complete and Utter Failure is your ultimate ANTI life coach. From not having any goals, to not taking personal responsibility for your life, every idea, strategy, suggestion and story in here is guaranteed to propel you into the slow lane of total inadequacy. 


Be warned: whatever you do, don’t do the opposite of what you learn here or else you’re in serious danger of making some positive changes and leading a more successful life.


This book doesn't do what it says on the tin. Quite the opposite. It is written with commendable charm and clarity, laden with chuckles and insights in equal measure. You will laugh and you will think – often at the same time.

Neil Mullarkey, Founder-Member of the Comedy Store Players


I love this book – by saying the exact opposite of what you should do – it really hones in on the messages – and breaks the bad habits.

Sahar Hashemi, Co-Founder of Coffee Republic



--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This book is fantastic if you need some direction, motivation and inspiration. The real life stories and ancedotes are really funny - and it is very readable. It is not like your standard (and often long and boring) self help book. Once you've started reading it you don't want to put it down. There are exercises to do in the book (if you want!) and you can use it as a great ref book any time you need a 'shot in the arm' to make things happen in your life - be it in your career or personal life. It really will change your perspective for the better.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Failing with style 5 Nov 2002
By A Customer
I'd never been one for books on success....all those glossy volumes in airport bookshops featuring smiling Americans with perfect teeth and nasty suits. Now I've found an entertaining, informative and easy to read book telling me how to keep grubbing along and being a victim. Well...it would if I followed the excellent advice on how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Working on the premise that if people are told not to do something they immediately do it, this book sets out to make us successful by stealth. It's packed full of ideas, in a remarkably small space, avoids jargon and manages to be funny too. It also has a slightly uncomfortable habit of making the reader think 'oh...that's me...I better do something about it!'You also recognise a lot of the traits displayed by your colleagues at work. Buy this book. At the very least, if you don't fly, you'll be failing with style.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I have to admit I have bought quite a few books about starting a business and they tend to go into great detail about raising finance, marketing etc. I have also read biographies of successful entrepreneurs who made their own luck in the right place at the right time.

What I found interesting about Steve's CD on the reasons why people fail - is that it is clearly obvious what you need to do in order to be successful. I could identify with friends that behaved in the way that Steve described on a daily basis and (although they might not probably see themselves as failures) you realise that a bit of thought and hindsight really is a wonderful thing.

Because of Steve's hilarious and illustrative examples, I really did'nt want this audio CD to end. And the great thing with audio is that I am more inclined to listen to it over again on the journey to work rather than re-read a book...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant! 7 Nov 2007
I bought the audio version of this about 2 years ago and I must have listened to it at least 20 times. Now I live in the US and it still translates across here just as well although I have to replace Doncaster with Pittsburgh!

As a life coach at A Daring Adventure I have listened and read dozens of self-development cd's and books and this is right up there with the best. I would encourage you to get the audio version if you can because Steve McDermott is a genuinely very funny person and it comes across so well on the audio. Humour really is the best way to make lasting change by the way.

What's it about? Simply put, it will help you smash all those self-limiting beliefs that may have been holding you back. If you let it, it can help you be a better husband, parent, work collegue, boss and person. That's all really.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational! 4 Feb 2008
Wow, what an amazing book! this book, quite literally, turns all the self help advice on it's head and makes you laugh and go 'Wait, I'm doing that right NOW!' and really inspires you to make changes in your life, be it work or personal (for me it was both)

I would recommend this book to anyone, I wasn't looking for a self help book when I picked this up (was looking for a book to read while waiting at the airport) but it just caught my eye, so glad I did. Since reading this book I have set up my own company and am really getting on with things.

Of course, you don't want to improve your life, you want to be a failure, so the first step for YOU to being a complete and utter failure is to not buy this book - why would you want a better quality of life?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Brilliant 11 Feb 2009
I came across Steve McDermott at a seminar in Brighouse in January 2008 and enjoyed his presentation so much I got hold of the book. I must confess I was a little apprehensive as I wasn't immediately drawn to the title or the cover - however the content was bloody brilliant! I could hear Steve's voice and delivery in my head as I read it.

Written in an innovative style of telling you what not to do to be a failure, your subconscious (which has no concept of don't) just absorbs it all as what to do.

I read quite a few books whilst travelling and I tend to judge them by the number of margin notes I make - this one has my highest so far. Some of the ones I liked most:

If you don't think about the future - you don't have one p8
Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have it, you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known p10
A life view for happiness - try new things (one which I'm happy to say I work on adhering to) p88
Better to ask for forgiveness than permission p95
You choose what the voices inside your head tell you p103
A plea for lifelong learning, You live and learn, then you die and forget it all p156, p158
The top indicator of ability to rise to the top of an organisation is an ability to speak powerfully in public p168
Top tips for being a successful leader p162
The acid test of are you really one p164

And finally one activity that really made a difference to me personally was to spend 15 minutes writing down your most important values, then pick the top five (see Brian Mayne's Life Mapping) p21

Humourous but with a serious message about how to live a happier life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Stand-Up Personal Development
As someone who has read and studied personal development over many years, I have encountered most of the content and its sources before. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Randal Langford
1.0 out of 5 stars Same old same old
More of the same old dross that these self help books seem to go over.Only difference is this writer is not from California .
Published 5 months ago by A. R. Ribley
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book
This a really easy to read book, but don't be fooled by the quirky style. There is such depth of knowledge in the pages nobody could read it and fail to be impressed and... Read more
Published 11 months ago by david y
5.0 out of 5 stars DON'T read this if you don't want to change how you think!
Excellent reverse psychology book for motivating and inspiring. I have heard Steve McDermott's cd and laughed out loud, just had to buy the book! Read more
Published 16 months ago by Ms. Cheryl C Wilde
5.0 out of 5 stars Just do it!!!
I was given this book as a present from my Boss, who had kindly bought one each for the whole team- each one signed personally by Steve, the author, with his trademark "Every... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Kyle Traith Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars This book succeeds by failing!
This book works by telling you to do the opposite of what you'd need to do to be successful - and it fails! Read more
Published on 26 April 2012 by Gary M
4.0 out of 5 stars what i thought
a really easy listen,extremely witty and as a result a pleasure to listen to,some very well points put over in
a completely different way .
Published on 28 Aug 2011 by gerald
3.0 out of 5 stars Reverse Psychology Gets In The Way
An enjoyable self-help book with some useful insights I hadn't previously read in other books of this type. Read more
Published on 15 May 2011 by hildebar
5.0 out of 5 stars Great boost..
I spent 2 months at home with a bad back and very little movement - before I was off I was very bored at work and just 'did the job needed'. Read more
Published on 13 Sep 2010 by Pete
5.0 out of 5 stars Potentially the most important book you'll ever read.....
I first read this book four years ago, having stumbled upon it by accident in a book store. I'm not normally a 'self-help kinda guy' - I tend to bumble along fairly happily most of... Read more
Published on 6 May 2010 by Mr. Allun Pittingale
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