Thursday, March 17, 2016

Quotation from J. K. Rowling - From Her Book (Harvard Commencement Speech) VERY GOOD LIVES

Ryan Petty

There’s been a spate of commencement addresses, repackaged and sold as hardcover gift books. 

Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

The best of them are inspiring, as they should be. Certainly, this includes VERY GOOD LIVES: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination (Little, Brown and Company, 2015).

There are two things I got out of reading this repackaged speech: 

The biographical detail that, prior to writing HARRY POTTER, J. K. Rowling worked for Amnesty International at its London headquarters; and

The quotation you will find below.

Though the conceit that failure is a mile-marker on the road to success has become shopworn, it may have been less so in 2008, when J. K. Rowling stood before the assembled graduates of Harvard and said what she came to say.

In any event, it’s J. K. Rowling we’re talking about and she handles her subject as ably as you would expect - particularly the part about the importance of the imagination.

Which is where I found my favorite quote:

“Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places.”

J. K. Rowling has demonstrated her capacity to do this. 

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