The Atlantic

The Value of Failing

A new research center at Columbia University is committed to figuring out how to turn failure into success.
Source: Reuters

Every kid has that moment when she realizes that the adults she admires aren’t perfect. Few children ever learn, however, that the same is true for the inventors and intellectual giants whose distinguished portraits permeate their history textbooks.   

As it turns out, recognizing that visionaries such as Albert Einstein experienced failure can actually help students perform better in school. In 2016, the cognitive-studies researcher Xiaodong Lin-Siegler of Columbia University’s Teachers that found that high-school students’ science grades improved after they learned about the personal and intellectual struggles of scientists including Einstein and Marie Curie. Students who only learned about the scientists’ achievements saw their grades decline.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min read
The Best Athlete Americans Have Never Heard Of
American pro athletes face pressure to stick to sports. Australia’s David Pocock has a different idea.
The Atlantic3 min read
Alone In The Dark In The Bay Area
Earlier this week, Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents to mitigate the risk of fires. The city of Berkeley put out some vital information for those who might be affected: “If you are power-dependent for med
The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
The NBA-China Disaster Is a Stress Test for Capitalism
On August 19, the definition of a company in America changed. The Business Roundtable, a U.S. lobbying group that represents nearly 200 companies, issued a statement proclaiming that the “purpose” of a business in 2019 was no longer to look out merel