Everybody wants to be a winner. It is part and parcel of Western culture and mythology. The omnipresent "We're number one" signifies the false self's need to be seen as special, to stand out in victory. From day one, kids are taught to think like a winner. Yet we're all failures — at least, the best of us are.

Hat's off to Mariana Caplan (Halfway Up the Mountain), who teaches at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco, for opening our eyes to the other point of view. "The process of being humbled by my failures has left me raw and open, and thus measurably more available to life and to the ones I love. As someone who has hidden behind a stream of successes, my failure has made me more real and more connected, and has finally demanded that I not insist upon my separation from people. These are only a few fruits of the early harvest, fruits that are available to anybody who walks the Way of Failure."

Caplan believes our days will be enhanced once we give up trying to control everything. Or as Zen master Seung Sahn once put it: "Good situation; bad situation; bad situation; good situation." Sometimes our flaws and failures can lead to personal renewal. James Joyce saw that when he wrote: "Mistakes are the portals of discovery."

Caplan writes convincingly about investing in loss, missing the magic of the moment by feeding off expectations, the lies of fame, the joke of ever thinking we've arrived, and the difficulty of dismantling our projections. Walking on the avenue of failure with the author will enable you to see new and interesting sights.