• From Harry Potter to Harvard: Wisdom from J.K. Rowling


                In 2008, J.K. Rowling was invited by Harvard University to give the commencement address, and she spoke about “The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination.”  Her speech has been published as a monograph under the title of Very Good Lives.  

       She spoke about her failure as hitting a rock bottom that became a “solid foundation” for rebuilding her life. It allowed her to discover the strengths within herself including a strong will, discipline, and knowing she could survive. Failure revealed the strengths of her friendships and relationships in sustaining and nurturing her.

                Imagination allows us to understand without direct experience.  Rowling discussed imagination as a transformative force for both individuals and society.  In being able to empathize with the plight of others through imagination, we can mobilize and motivate ourselves and others to help people in need and work towards human rights and social justice.  

                The power of her own imagination in the creation of the Harry Potter series certainly transformed Rowling’s life as well as the contemporary literary scene.  She was a poor, single mother living on public assistance who became one of the best selling authors in the world.  Imagine that…