Thursday, September 11, 2008

On Failure and its benefits

J.K Rowling delivers the commencement address at Harvard. Nothing spectacular, nothing dazzlingly new...yet kind of powerful in its own way.

After all it does take some courage to go to Harvard and talk of failure, especially when much of what you write is still derided as children's stuff. Some sections of the audience weren't pleased. One wonders why!

(HT. PHD Comics)


Anonymous said...

Interesting speech. And very practical stuff. Not the rarefied, academic and theoretical mumbo-jumbo that perhaps some people wanted to hear!

As for the grousing seniors, with their 'leaders of tomorrow' argument - can someone tell them that this 'definitely not A List' person has a net worth, all self-made, of more than they'll probably ever have? And that she is a leader in her chosen field?

And, btw, I'm someone who's read only one Potter book. Can't call me a fan. But her speech made sense.


Quirky Indian

Prasanth said...


Well said! Culture wars are not new but one would have thought the extraordinary success of HP would have been enough.

Some standards! :)

This article and the comments that follow it provide a fascinating account of a lot of issues on Harvard including "standards".

As for the shocking ;) admission you made at the end of the comment, ..make haste for there will be the earthquake, the comet, the plagues and the four horsemen....and the second coming where the muggle shall inherit the earth :)


Pooja said...

I for one, liked that speech a fair bit. Sense, and simplicity too. And typical of a good writer, imbued with a deeper layer of meaning.

(Had done a post on it a while ago, for pretty much the same reason.)

Prasanth said...

Welcome aboard.

I am generally a skeptic when it comes to speeches. An over-exposure to "sound bytes", I guess, is the reason. It is pretty difficult to be eloquent, convey, as you pointed out, deeper layers of meaning and then integrate all of this into a compact speech. She did that delightfully.

But the news of it did take some time to trickle to this blog. I am not happy :)

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