Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Non Fiction, Self Help
Page Count: 70
Find it at: J.K. Rowling's Official Website
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My Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives offers J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life, asking the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?
Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world-famous author addresses some of life’s most important issues with acuity and emotional force.
This is a mini review which does not really discuss the content, just an act of fondness toward this lovely lady whose works have been accompanying my life since I was 10 years old and some quotes I found in this book and would really like to share with you guys.
Also the sales of this book will benefit Lumos, a charity organization founded by J.K. Rowling that works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children, and university-wide financial aid at Harvard University.
"There is an expiration date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you."
"Failure means a stripping away of the inessential."
"Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all-in which case, you fail by default."
"Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way."
"The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I've ever earned."
"So given a Time-Turner, I would tell my twenty-one-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone's total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive to its vicissitudes."
"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. One might use such an ability to manipulate or control just as much as to understand or sympathize."
"Those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it through our own apathy."
"If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages..."
"...then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to transform our world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."
"As is a tale, so is life; not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters."
One of my most favourite parts of this book is on page 48, when Ms. Rowling recounts the young man from Africa. Truly heartbreaking, yet inspiring. Thank you very much for sharing this precious wise words to the whole world. Ms. Rowling!