Finding inspiration in your “Near Win” with Sarah Lewis and her latest Book “The RISE”: the Gift of Failure and the Pursuit of Mastery. 


Harvard educated, PhD Candidate at Yale University and with a Master’s degree from Oxford University, Sarah Lewis is a cultural historian and a Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University. She joins 42 other leading ladies on Elle Magazine’s The AGENDASarah is the author of The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery” {Simon & Schuster}. “This book is a way to honor the capacity of the human spirits.” said Sarah Lewis. “The RISE is a layered, story-driven investigation of how innovation, discovery, and the creative progress are all spurred on by advantages gleaned from the improbable, the unlikely, even failure.”

“At the point of mastery, when there seems nothing left to move beyond, we find a way to move beyond ourselves. Success motivates. Yet the near win – the constant auto-correct of a curved-line part – can propel us in an ongoing quest. We see it whenever we aim, climb or create with mastery as our aim, when the outcome is determined by what happens at the margins. Completion is a goal and never the end.” 

GC4W: Who inspires you?

Sarah Lewis: All those who maintain their enthusiasm for the work they feel assigned to do in this life and spread that sense of drive, joy, and momentum to others.

Sarah Lewis on Charlie Rose explaining the difference between mastery and success.

GC4W: How can one tap into what inspires them to keep motivated.

Sarah Lewis: Maintaining a sense of wonder and reverence about life—the fact of it–is, as I see it, indispensable.

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Sarah Lewis at the TED2014 MainStage talk, where she shares an inspiring message on “Embrace the near Win and Mastery.”

GC4W: What do you hope women and young girls will take from reading your book, The RISE?

Sarah Lewis: Let me answer this by telling you a quick anecdote. After college, I was fortunate enough to earn a Marshall Scholarship to study in Oxford and was stunned to see how few of the other scholars were also women. I decided to have as many of the female Rhodes and Marshalls over to my place for dinner on Friday night as I could. I did it out of instinct, but in hindsight we realized that the space allowed us to stay inspired by each other’s stories and gain courage and confidence through them.

Sarah Lewis: One of the things women will notice in reading The Rise, just as I did when I got to Oxford, was that there are fewer stories of women artist, entrepreneurs, innovators who are willing to disclose the difficulties that gave them the tenacity required for their pioneering success. In hindsight, I realized that what I aimed to do in The Rise was offer something similar to what I set up informally at Oxford–intimate access to the often hidden aspects of life stories of those who inspire us artists, entrepreneurs, athletes, innovators. By learning their stories of the improbable foundations of their iconic rises, I hope young women have the models to inspire them.

Sarah Lewis is a rising star on a mission to inspire, and the Global Connections for Women Foundation (GC4W) endorses her mission and her new book, The RISE. You can get a copy of her latest book on and Barnes and Noble or visit her site {} to learn more about her message.

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Sarah Lewis serve on the President Obama’s Arts Policy Committee and as a Trustee of Creative Time, The CUNY Graduate Center, the Brearley School, and the Andy Warhol Foundation of the Visual Arts. She has also held curatorial positions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Tate Modern, London.

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