Monday, June 15, 2015

Very Good Lives by J. K. Rowling

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of ImaginationVery Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling
Hardcover, 80 pages 
Published April 14th 2015 by Little, Brown and Company 

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.

“It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people's lives simply by existing.” 

Normally, the idea of spending $16 on a book this tiny that I could just read in the store in about five minutes would sound absurd to me and I would not do it, but its J. K. Rowling so of course I made an exception.

This was such a wonderful speech, and I expected as much from the queen herself. It really touched me and I can see myself reading this a hundred times over so I can justify the money spent on it.

Being in my last year of college, I fear the road ahead. It is terrifying to think about the future, of what is going to happen once I graduate especially because as an English major, I have been asked repeatedly, "What can you do with that? Are you going to teach?" The answer to the second question is no; I do not want to teach but rather be involved in the publishing world. The skepticism thrown my way has been rather disheartening, and the pressure to do something productive with my life has been building up. 

I read this speech during a time when I was beginning to seriously question and doubt everything about my life. All the fears and anxieties built up inside me were getting to be too much for me to handle. But this speech changed everything. 

Now, being a huge fan of J. K. Rowling, it may seem a tad bias to say that this speech had such a major effect on me because nearly everyone I have ever met in the book community have said that J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series have changed their lives, made them fall in love with reading, etc. And I am not afraid to admit, I am one of those people who says that as well. But this is not about just being a fan of an author; contrary to belief, one is not required to love every single idea that a particular author pens down. Rowling writing this speech is not what makes it special or so inspiring, it is the message she gets across.

After reading this speech, I felt better about all the things that had been causing me sleepless nights and endless worry. It gave me motivation I have been until recently been lacking, and high hopes for my future. I would recommend this to anybody; not just those who are graduating or soon to be graduating college. Its message is meant for everybody.It is beautifully written and the book itself is beautiful as well.

“You might never fail on the scale I did, but 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.” 

5 out of 5

View all my reviews


Erika Gold said...

Awesome review! I'm definitely going to check this book out :)

~Erika @

Danielle said...

I am glad you liked the review! I hope you enjoy the book when you get around to it :)

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