A SavvyReview – Life Lessons from a Total Failure

Life Lessons from a Total Failure

Paperback: 206 pages

Publisher: The Hodge Podge House (2016)

M.J. DoughertyI started this book by M.J. Dougherty as I enjoyed a cup of coffee on my back patio one morning last week and had the pleasure of finishing it on a recent flight to Los Angeles – en route to Anaheim and Disneyland – and it proved a great way to pass the time during the brief trip.

This author, speaker, and actor is a recovering failure originally from the adorable town of Clarks Summit, PA. M.J. can frequently be found talking to others about the events of his life and helping motivate them toward the life of their dreams.

When he’s not sharing his disasters with the world and helping them get back on track, M.J. can be found either on the set of one of your favorite television shows, singing wherever anyone will listen, or enjoying his life in Los Angeles, CA.

The book opens with an Introduction that will get reader’s attention and get their heads nodding in agreement when M.J. opines, “Life is hard. Not only is it hard, but trying to get it to turn out the way we want seems impossible most of the time.” Indeed! Despair not though, my friends.

The Biggest Loser

Over the course of the book’s 21 chapters, titled after various television shows (e.g. Cheers, Lost, Friends, and The Biggest Loser), M.J. tells the story of his life; the many ups and downs, wins and losses. The use of television shows – which most of us are familiar with provided you’re of a certain age – as chapter titles and references throughout the book are perfectly utilized as their themes serve as backdrops for the stories of his life.


I appreciated the way M.J. tells his story with honesty and the perfect dose of humor. His sincerity comes through as he tells his story of his struggles. The numerous stories of his life, covered in detail throughout the book immediately draw the reader in.

Final Thoughts

M.J. provides the reader with a lot to chew on. Chief among them for me is the observation that there are no single ‘right’ answers for each of us as we are individuals dealing with multiple factors that impact our own lives. The right answers we find are unique to each of us. Moreover, those right answers are often found after some failures.

At the end of the day, he encourages readers to not fear failure, and embrace the experiences, failures, and wins that make you unique. I suspect that if you spend a few hours of your time with this book, you won’t be disappointed.

Life Lessons from a Total Failure is available at Amazon in Kindle and Paperback versions for $11.99 and $15.99 respectively.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

1 Comment

  1. Nice review, James! Everyone’s journey in life in unique. The key is learn from our mistakes, keep going, and never give up.


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