Wisdom From Books

Benefits of Failure – J.K.Rowling’s speech

Posted on: February 13, 2010


Every one experiences failure in one’s life.

For a change, I am not writing ideas from the best selling Harry Potter series, rather, I am trying to share the wisdom from speech of Harry Potter series’ author: J.K.Rowling.

Her life is an exampe of ‘rags to riches’ story – She experienced failures, poverty and what not. However, today, she is one of the most celebrated authors in the world.

How? What moved her? What are her ideas about life?

I listend to a really motivating speech of J.K.Rowling, author of Harry Potter Series on benefits of Failure made at Harvard Business School and published in Harvard Magazine in June 2008

To read full text, you may refer to the website of harvard magazine. (http://harvardmagazine.com/commencement/the-fringe-benefits-failure-the-importance-imagination)

About J.K.Rowling and Harry Potter Series:

JoanneJoMurray, OBE (née Rowling; born 31 July 1965), better known under the pen name J. K. Rowling, a British author best known as the creator of the Harry Potter fantasy series, the idea for which was conceived whilst on a train trip from Manchester to London in 1990. The Potter books have gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, sold more than 400 million copies, and been the basis for a popular series of films.

Aside from writing the Potter novels, Rowling is perhaps equally famous for her “rags to riches” life story, in which she progressed from living on welfare to multi-millionaire status within five years. The 2008 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling’s fortune at £560 million ($798 million), ranking her as the twelfth richest woman in Britain. Forbes ranked Rowling as the forty-eighth most powerful celebrity of 2007, and Time magazine named her as a runner-up for its 2007 Person of the Year, noting the social, moral, and political inspiration she has given her fandom. She has become a notable philanthropist, supporting such charities as Comic Relief, One Parent Families, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain, and the Children’s High Level Group. (source Wikipedia’s website)

Extracts from her speech:

So today, I wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in search of ancient wisdom:

As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
“… by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. That is an astonishing statement and yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people’s lives simply by existing ”

Life history of J.K.Rowling and her ideas on life:


Here is the link to watch full speech:





7 Responses to "Benefits of Failure – J.K.Rowling’s speech"

nice speech and really burning speech on “Benefits of Failure”


I love Jk Speech on “Benefits of Failure”

Thanks for the inspirational post MM.

I was thinking of one thing. We are constantly sharing “success stories” with a happy ending note. Those people who started in poverty and ended as one of the successes!

So are there any examples of failures or are there any books on it too?

food for thought.

comments expected and appreciated 🙂

Happy week!

I found this from Diane Garnick’s fan site on facebook. Your blog is so inspirational. Were you her student too?

Thanks Anil for visiting and commenting. I have not been her student. A reader of this blog recommended her page and I found it quite inspirational and motivating. You may visit other blog posts and provide with your comments.

Thanks again for visiting and commenting

I love this. Diane Garnick teaches a class on failure at MIT. It’s called The Fine Art of Failure. Your message is spot on.

You might like her. She’s inspirational too:


Dear Carol Thanks a lot for your comment and informing about Daine Garnick. Will check her on face book. On the other hand, Adam Khoo, the youngest millioanire at Singapore did totally different thing when he faced failures. He started using NLP. You can read about him on the blog at http://wp.me/pHUHq-7d

Thanks again for visiting and commenting.

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