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When A Resume Of Failures Becomes A Recipe For Success

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Waitlisted or not, many students will not get into the schools of their choice. And many, of course, will see that as a failure.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOSER LIKE ME")

LEA MICHELE: (Singing) Yeah, you may think that I'm a zero.

INSKEEP: It's definitely not something to put on your resume - unless you are Johannes Haushofer, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Along his way to getting a Ph.D. in neurobiology at Harvard and doing his postdoc at MIT, he had countless rejections, which seemed huge at the time. Here are just some of the programs he didn't get into and the awards he didn't get.

JOHANNES HAUSHOFER: The Ph.D. program in economics at the Stockholm School of Economics, the graduate course in medicine at Cambridge, the graduate course in medicine at UCL, the Ph.D. program...

INSKEEP: So when a friend suffered what he called a professional setback, Professor Haushofer put together his own CV of failure. He got this idea from an article in Nature by Melanie Stefan. He says it's a good reminder that failure is an essential part of what it means to be a scientist.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But he never expected his CV of failure to be his biggest success.

HAUSHOFER: I was very surprised by the amount of attention that the CV received, and I thought it was sort of amusing that, you know, it received way more attention than anything else I've done.

INSKEEP: Hopefully he'll get over that one as well.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TUBTHUMPING")

CHUMBAWAMBA: (Singing) I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never going to keep me down. I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never going to keep me down. I get knocked down... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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