The commencement speech J.K. Rowling gave to Harvard students in 2008 was packed with wisdom (not wizards). However, to mark the publication of the speech in book form – Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits Of Failure And The Importance Of Imagination – we have juxtaposed choice extracts from the text with wizardy clips from the Harry Potter films, because learning is better with wizards.
'I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy-tale resolution.'
'There is an expiry 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.'
'Many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are.'
'We do not need magic to change the 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.'
'Talent and intelligence never yet innoculated anyone against the caprice of the fates.'