Successful Failure

by Devery Youngblood


Our biggest failures in life - though painful and something we would never want to repeat - often end up being the best things that ever happened to us.  Failure is The Ultimate Paradox in the Pursuit of Happiness.  This is a look at failure from the inside, told in a refreshingly upbeat, positive manner that will take you on a journey through tears and laughter - from sadness to genuine hope.

What others are saying...

“I loved “Successful Failure” and its many relevant stories!  After reading it I went to the bookstore to see if there was anything like it; there wasn’t.  This is a unique and well-written approach to an important subject.” 

Bob Burke, Author of over 100 books

Why do we keep failing at failure?

After not keeping score in Little League games, bailouts for businesses, and “bad credit/no problem” financing schemes, a new reality is setting in.  As the world wrestles with failure in our economy, in relationships, our homes, and more, author Devery Youngblood argues that failure helps us eliminate what does not work and gives us incentive to take the more challenging road of strength.  We learn, not from being rescued (though it is temporarily more pleasing), but from developing the tools to rescue ourselves.  Far from an inherent negative, failure is actually a needed feedback device that teaches us how to be successful.

In this wise and honest book the author talks openly about failures of the famous as well as his own – from marriage to money, from turning around a city to facing life-and-death health choices.  Far from disengaged theory, this is a look at failure from the inside, told in a refreshingly upbeat, positive manner that will take you on a journey through tears and laughter - from sadness to genuine hope.

Book Excerpts

Successful Failure

Copyright (c) 2011 by Devery Youngblood. All rights reserved.

Table Of Contents (pdf)


The Fairness Fallacy (pdf)


Entitled Kids or Failing Parents? (pdf)


About The Youngbloods

Devery Youngblood

Devery Youngblood’s life has known both failure and success.  His candid observations of his failure in marriage, financial challenges, tests of parenthood, and more tell the story of how he came to view failure as a necessary part of the road to success in life.

His success includes leadership in launching one of America’s most successful downtown revitalization efforts and rebuilding the commercial district most damaged by the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Making a career of taking on difficult challenges, Devery served for four years as Senior Advisor and District Director for U.S. Representative Ernest J. Istook (OK-5th), where he led efforts to create efficient use of tax dollars in transportation and infrastructure, economic development, medical research funding, and other strategic initiatives.

Devery spent eight years leading private sector development efforts surrounding Oklahoma City’s visionary MAPS Program, with over $1 billion of private sector development created during his tenure.  He led redevelopment after the Murrah Bombing as founding president of Automobile Alley, the commercial district most damaged by the bombing.  Devery led massive development in the Bricktown Warehouse Entertainment District that included America’s only urban Bass Pro store, a major movie theater complex and more, while developing creative promotions throughout downtown that included a holiday season ice rink. MAPS has served as a catalyst to positively restructure the entire city, metro area, and state.

Devery led the Community Affairs efforts for the Chickasaw Nation, working with Chickasaw Governor Bill Anoatubby and leaders of this proud Native American Tribe to actively coordinate investment and leadership in the communities within the historic Chickasaw boundaries and other strategic communities central to Chickasaw investments.

Most recently, he became the founding CEO of Oklahoma Tomorrow, a private-sector led, statewide nonprofit organization with a mission to generate more college graduates to create lasting prosperity for Oklahoma's economy and communities.

Devery has been interviewed by and quoted in publications ranging from the Boston Globe to the Christian Science Monitor, and is widely sought for his entertaining and inspiring speeches.

Devery is active on community boards throughout Oklahoma.  He has twice been appointed by Governor Mary Fallin as a Regent to Oklahoma City Community College, one of the five largest colleges or universities in Oklahoma.  His other service includes Board positions for the University of Oklahoma College of Public Health, being a Life Member of the Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City along with his wife, Karen, and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.

photo of Karen Youngblood

Karen Youngblood

Karen Youngblood has also known her share of both failure and success.  She played a pivotal role in the writing of “Successful Failure” – listening, challenging, encouraging, and helping Devery find the right words to express his thoughts.  But when he asked her to join him as author she declined, saying, “I have enough sense not to write my failures in ink!”  And yet she is able to weave her own struggles into the training sessions she and Devery do based from the book.  From the lessons she learned from failed marriage, to family struggles, to communication issues, Karen’s approach is practical and reality-based. A much sought-after public speaker and personal development trainer in her own right, Karen’s biggest goal is to do more speaking with Devery that helps people find their own unique contribution to the world around them.

Karen’s career has all the diversity of Devery’s with her own opportunities to overcome failure.  She began her career in the printing and promotional products industry, eventually turning around an office set to close into record profitability.  From there she spent five years working for Devon Energy Corporation, a Fortune 100 company, acquiring and building out facility space for a growing and fast-moving company.  After her son was born, she left the demands of travel and time away from home and pursued an innovative role in both marketing and fundraising for non-profit businesses, including downtown Oklahoma City and a medical foundation.  Since 2005 she has been a part of various management functions at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), finding her greatest passion fulfilled in adult education and training.

Karen believes strongly in active community volunteerism and service back to the state of Oklahoma.  After serving ten years as a twice-elected Yukon Public Schools Board of Education member, Governor Fallin appointed her to the Board of the Office of Juvenile Affairs.  Karen has also led and participated in numerous leadership organizations and events, including Leadership Oklahoma City, Leadership UCO, the Oklahoma Educators’ Leadership Academy and more.

Karen and Devery live in Yukon where their greatest pride is in their four+ children and five+ grandchildren, and a network of great friendships from all walks of life and their church family at St. Luke's United Methodist Church.


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