Very Good Lives: A Review


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?


A wonderfully crafted inspiring speech by the one and only J.K. Rowling. Need I say more?

The benefits of failure may already be known to us, but it is always good to be reminded. The lines I adored were: “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’ve failed by default.”

On the importance of imagination, I expected to read something generic about creativity. What she discusses was quite different and very moving. I absolutely loved this part.

The speech may not be life-changing, but it is still really good. I’d certainly read the part on failure whenever I’m hard on myself. A must read for perfectionists and people who put themselves down.

The book has good illustrations. It might seem pricey, but the money is donated to Lumos. You could read the full text here, but I suggest getting the book if you can afford it.

This is the first book I read in 2016 and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A great start in my reading endeavour for the year. My rating is 4/5.

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