Monday, December 26, 2016

Book Review: Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination: J.K. Rowling

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure by: J.K. Rowling, Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2008.
The title of this book says it all.  This is a short book of the commencement address delivered by J.K. Rowling at Harvard University 2008.  She talks about failure vs success, and different definitions for each.  How her greatest fear was to be a failure, and at age 30 most people would have called her just that.  However she is now the author of the most read fantasy books in history.  By imagination, you would think the author of fantasy books would be talking of the ability to write or tell stories or something.  However she is actually talking about the ability of people to empathize with others.   She draws upon her personal experiences working for Amnesty International.  We can feel the pain of other people we have never met.  She feels this is invaluable, and unique to us as humans.   Two quotes with this regard, "They can think themselves into other people's places" vs "They can refuse to know."  Then the conclusion is that "As is a tale so is life: not how long it is but how good it is, is what matters."

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