JK Rowling at HBS

I was unaware of the fact that JK Rowling (the author of the very popular Harry Potter series) holds an honorary degree from the Harvard Business School. So it came as a surprise when I chanced upon her Commencement speech at the HBS Alumni meet.

An excerpt –

But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people’s lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world’s only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.

JK Rowling talks about how she looked at her failures to give her strength. To give her the courage to follow the road less trodden. Failure takes away all the unnecessary things, giving the individual focus and clarity. No wonder they say that failures are the pillars of success.

A parting note (quoting JK Rowling who was quoting Seneca)  –

As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.

I think everyone who is aspiring to make it big should go through that speech. Success is not something that happens overnight, and without a certain clarity of purpose, it is very hard to succeed.

  • Nice quote. Failure is the key to success. You need to find the lock in which that key fits.

  • Guttu – Thanks for sharing that insight. :)

  • So true !

    “Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.”

  • Hi Durga,
    Thanks for the comments :), there is so much guidance in commencement speeches … I am tempted to remember what the chairman of GE had to say during mine!!