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Advice from J K Rowling
June 11, 2008

In 1994, seven years out of college, JK Rowling found herself 'as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless'. She was a jobless, single mother still chasing her childhood dream of becoming a novelist.

Today, Forbes magazine estimates that she's the first person in history to become a billionaire (in US dollars) through writing alone. And while this famous rags-to-riches tale is almost as fantastical as Harry Potter [Images] or Hogwarts, JK Rowling's success is grounded in a few keys realities: that you must not be afraid of failure and that you must exercise your imagination.

She said as much in her commencement speech to the 2008 graduates of Harvard University, which she delivered on June 5 in Massachusetts, USA.

And while the speech was intended for the fresh-faced, bright eyed graduates, its unique message is universally applicable.

Discussing the hidden benefits of failure, she said, 'The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive'. And imagination, she said, 'is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared'.

Do read the full text and view the video of this rather interesting speech at J K Rowling on the benefits of failure and more

Photograph: Harry Potter author J K Rowling [Images] autographs a book for a student graduating from Harvard University at the commencement ceremonies in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Image: Getty Images/Robert Spencer 

Also read: 'To be successful you need compelling vision'


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