Failure Porn

There is a lot of talk about failure out there. Books, articles, podcasts, posters, newsletters...probably even graffiti. It's an important topic because it's something most people fear and few know how to embrace. It's something I wish I had better understood in my youth and in my twenties, which is why I've been reading and listening to smart people talk about taking risks and changing how we view failure.

I have my favorites—Seth Godin, for one—but I keep my eyes open for new perspectives. It is challenging, however, to discern quality through quantity. There is, as James Altucher coined on this week's The Moment with Brian Koppelman, an epidemic of "failure porn." What is failure porn? When Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart tried to describe pornography in Jacobellis v. Ohio, he struggled, but concluded, "I know it when I see it."

It's muscular, bro-ish, loud, and profit-driven, but not all of those things and not always. A few days ago, I wrote about a "challenge" that I began (and abandoned). That was definitely part of the failure porn industry. That's not to say it was devoid of value or that some people didn't benefit from it, but it's not for me. I'm looking for a less in-your-face, generosity-driven approach. And I know that when I see it.