Paula Scher on Failure

Paula Scher is one of the world's most famous graphic designers, known for creating Citibank's umbrella logo as well as for design work for The Public Theater, The New York Times Magazine, the American Museum of Natural History, The New York City Ballet, and Herman Miller. She believes failure is the secret to artistic success. "You have to fail in order to make the next discovery," says Scher. "It's through mistakes that you actually can grow."

Mary Higgins Clark on Failure

Mary Higgins Clark knows something about getting through tough times. She lost her father when she 11, her brother when she was 16, and her husband when she was 36—after which she was left to raise five children on her own. That didn't stop her from becoming one of the most successful suspense novelists of all time, writing 28 books that have sold 100 million copies in the U.S. alone. At age 81 she's still going strong. Her new book, Just Take My Heart, is on sale now. I reached her at her home in Saddle River, New Jersey.

Donald Trump on Failure

Donald Trump's comeback is one of the most dramatic of all time—as well as one of the most visible. According to a well-known anecdote, one day when he was $1 billion in debt, he pointed out a homeless man to his daughter and said, "See that bum? He has a billion dollars more than me." The Guinness Book of Records lists him as having the biggest financial turnaround in history. "In the early 1990s, I owed billions of dollars and many people thought I was finished," says Trump. "I refused to give in to the negative circumstances and I never lost faith in myself. I didn't believe I was finished even when the newspapers were saying so. I refused to give up. Defeat is not in my vocabulary."

Cindy Chupack on Failure

Cindy Chupack had been married two years when her husband told her he was gay. Though she felt like a failure at the time, the years of loneliness and dating that followed provided the material that led her to become a writer and producer for Sex and the City. "It felt like a huge curse and it was lonely," says Chupack. "But what I'm most proud of in my life was Sex and the City, and it never would have happened had I stayed married, and had he not been gay, and had that not been my backstory."

Nastia Liukin on Failure

"If you're going through hell," said Winston Churchill, "keep going." After American gymnast Nastia Liukin suffered a severe ankle injury a year before the Olympics, many thought she'd never compete again. But Nastia,daughter of two Soviet champions, was born to win. Her father Valeri, the first man to do a triple backflip, competed in the 1988 Olympics and lost the gold medal by less than 1/10th of a point. He spent the next two decades as his daughter's coach, teaching her everything he knew about gymnastics and determination. Injuring herself doubled her resolve to win, says Nastia. She came back stronger than she'd ever been and went on to win the All-Around Gold—the same event her father had lost exactly 20 years before. —Jay Dixit

Greg Giraldo on Failure

Despite great success as a standup comedian and former host of Comedy Central's Standup Nation, Greg Giraldo is tortured by a constant sense of failure. "I feel like I'm ‘the piece of shit at the center of the universe,' he told me. "The reality is I'm not a 'get knocked down and come back harder' kind of guy. I'm a complete fuckup... I feel like quitting all the time."

David Servan-Schreiber on Cheating Death

David Servan-Schrieber was 31 when his world imploded. Ambitious and arrogant, he was a rising star in neuropsychiatry. When a volunteer for a brain scan experiment didn’t show up, he slid into the scanner himself—and discovered a malignant tumor nestled deep in his brain. After surgery and chemotherapy, he continued his life as before, eating a diet high in red meat and sugar, exercising little, and abandoning an earlier interest in meditation. When the tumor returned, he used his medical training to investigate how best to prevent cancer. The result was remission—and a bestselling book called Anticancer.

Ask the Mercenary

As a British commando in the Special Air Service, John Geddes fought combat missions in the Falkland Islands and ran undercover ops in Northern Ireland and Bosnia. When he left the military, he became a commando-for-hire, protecting American and British media crews from hostile insurgents in Iraq. I reached him at his home in England.

Back to the Present: How to Live in the Moment

Life happens in the present, but so often, we let the moment slip away, letting time rush past unobserved and unseized. We're so focused on what's next that we neglect what's now. Here are some practical tips to help you get mindful now.

Fixing Sex: When Your Baby is Neither a "Boy" Nor a "Girl"

The birth of Tamara Dawson's first child should have been a moment of sheer delight. Instead, she describes the shocking and unusual situation that followed: "The doctors and nurses came back and said, 'We don't know if you had a boy or a girl.' We were stunned. How could you not know?"

Where Does Anti-Gay Prejudice Come From?

Different types of essentialist thinking underlie people's views about homosexuality.

Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?

America has a long way to go in terms of gender equality, but the overarching law of the land is that nobody ought to be discriminated against because of their sex - or their culture. But what happens when those two things collide?

Why Gender Doesn't Matter

Most of us grow up believing in a variety of gender differences, but scientific data shows very little support for most of them. Belief in such differences perpetuates stereotypes and harms both men and women. 

George Carlin's Last Interview

Ten days ago, on a rainy Friday evening, I had the extraordinary privilege of talking to George Carlin. As far as I know it was the last in-depth interview he gave before he passed away yesterday at age 71.

Friends Mostly Near, Not Far

A single working mother's most crucial artillery: a tight network of friends--especially when they're close at hand.

Snapshot of Fatherhood

Father's day came and went and although no men reside permanently in my home anymore, I had a front row seat on the spectacle of modern fatherhood right in my own dining room.

Explaining the Math Gender Gap

For those who might think that women's brains aren't wired for math, new research that's been published in Science magazine might help change your mind.

Real Men do Yoga

I used to know a graduate student who was perpetually stressed out. He was so anxious that he had insomnia on a nightly basis. When I suggested that perhaps he try a yoga class, his reaction was almost violent.

Eat Like a Man and Die of a Heart Attack?

It doesn't take a sociologist to point out that single men who live alone tend to eat more poorly than single women. Stereotypes and beliefs about "real men" are often at odds with conventional wisdom about health.

Imperfect Love

I've learned a lot about love by losing it. Most recently, my mother died, midway into her ninety-eighth year. She died with all her marbles and a sharper memory than most 40-year-olds.

Fantasy Weddings Can Hurt More Than Your Wallet

Brides-to-be are told they are allowed to be a princess for day. Besides making a dent in the bridal pocketbook, does wanting to be a princess undermine women's power?