Video Summary: J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement

Summary of J.K. Rowling’s speech at Harvard Commencement | J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement 2008
  1. I want to talk about the benefits of failure and imagination

    J. K. Rowling said that she will talk about the things she wished she knew on her own graduation. She said she will talk about the benefits of failure and imagination.

  2. I loved writing

    Rowling said that she was struggling between achieving her ambition and the expectations of the people close to her. She said she always wanted to write novels but her parents thought her passion will lead her nowhere.

  3. My Parents didn’t want me to be poor

    Rowling said she studied literature and classics and didn’t tell her parents about the subjects she was studying until graduation day. She said her Parents were poor and they didn’t want her to be poor as well so she can never blame them.

  4. You might not be well acquainted with failure

    Rowling said that she feared failure more than poverty. She told the Harvard grads that the fact that they are Harvard grads might mean that they are not well acquainted with failure. (See Video Summary: Natalie Portman Harvard Commencement Speech 2015)

  5. I failed on an epic scale

    Rowling said that 7 years after her Graduation she failed on an epic scale. She said that her marriage was very short, she was jobless, a lone parent and extremely poor.

  6. Failure lets you strip the unimportant

    Rowling said that Failure is very important because it makes you strip the unimportant. She said that during that bad time she started focusing on the only work that mattered to her which is writing.

  7. Failure led me to success

    Rowling said that had she succeeded in anything else she might have not found determination to succeed at what she loved. She said that rock bottom became the solid foundation on which she rebuilt her life.

  8. Failure will let you recognize your strength

    Rowling said that failure has shown her how strong she can be as she had more faith in her ability to survive. She said you wont know how strong you are before you get tested by adversity. She said that life is difficult and beyond anyone’s total control. (See How do I Find my Passion?)

  9. Imagination is very important

    Rowling said that imagination is very important as it can help us envision what doesn’t exist and to empathize with people we never knew.

  10. I discovered I was fortunate

    Rowling said that her first work allowed her to come very close to African torture victims. She said she will never forget what she heard or seen. She said she used to get nightmares as a result but she realized how fortunate she was.

  11. Imagination makes us human

    Rowling said that the institution she worked for created a movement of people who had good lives to support the ones who were jailed and tortured even though they never met them. She said that human imagination can help a person empathize with a person he has never seen.

  12. Don’t live in narrow spaces

    Rowling said that many people refuse to use their imagination to understand the suffering of others. She said that this can bring a form of Agrophobia which can lead to its own terrors. She said that in-apathy allows real monsters to grow.

  13. You have a great responsibility

    Rowling said to the students that as Harvard graduates they have great a responsibility. She told them that if they chose to empathize with the weak and the poor then not only their parents will celebrate their success but millions of unfortunate people will.

  14. Graduation friends are the best

    Rowling said that the friends who were with her on the graduation day became her friends for life. She said that those are the ones who stood beside her during hard times and who backed her when she needed help. She wished the grads can have similar friendships.

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