J.K. Rowling: The Benefits of Failure, the Importance of Imagination

In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered this commencement address at Harvard, on the dual themes of the benefits of failure, and the importance of imagination.

One idea jumped out at me when I was re-watching this today. At about 11:30 in this video, Rowling says that “Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.”

Imagination is what enables us to empathize.

Some people think that they’re not very imaginative. Yet they’re easily able to empathize with others. They actually are imaginative; they just don’t realize it.

We all have imagination, but it’s like a muscle; it gets flabby without exercise.

(You can read the speech transcript here.)

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One Response to J.K. Rowling: The Benefits of Failure, the Importance of Imagination

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