The fringe benefits of failure by J. K. Rowling

“Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself, and what those closest to me expected of me.”

“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you”

“What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure.”

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

” … personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two.”


These quotations are just but a few examples of what she said in front of an enthusiastic audience. The speech in itself is definitely inspiring and thought-provoking.

You can watch and enjoy the whole commencement address J. K. Rowling delivered at Harvard University. To read it, click here.


2 thoughts on “The fringe benefits of failure by J. K. Rowling

  1. I just love it!! every single word is fantastic and it is a breathtaking speech till the end. (Thanks teacher for uploading it)

  2. It’s fantastic! Unfortunately, imagination is invoked only on special occasions. For the everyday life, imaginative people and professions are ignored, or considered something bizarre and not particulary intelligent.

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