Failures may lead to ultimate success in both nature and business. Just as dynamic ecosystems depend on death to replace senescent organisms with vigorous growth, the termination of uneconomic activities is essential to wealth creation. This paper explores the benefits of failures, and uses aspects of the analogy between death and business failure to analyze how failures in business economize upon resources and lead to better firms and greater efficiencies. A distinguishing feature of our work is the analytic use of competitive markets to provide insights into the processes of success and failure. Recognizable patterns of business failures are discussed in an effort to provide entrepreneurs and mangers with a basis for understanding and acting upon changing circumstances.