J.K. Rowling has a new book out, and you sure want to read it!

It’s not a novel, and it is a very short book, but it is nonetheless inspiring and a must have for everyone on this planet. Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination was published worldwide on April 14, and it is the print version of J.K. Rowling’s incredible Hardvard Commencement speech from 2008.

The hardback is 70 pages long and includes illustrations by Joel Holland, the illustrator behind the cover art of Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. When the author delivered the speech seven years ago she did it in roughly 20 minutes, so you know the text is not long; but thanks to the beautiful illustrations it translates incredibly well to the page. It’s a quick inspiring read that I can see easily becoming a classic gift for new graduates, and the best part is that the text remains equally interesting on re-reads.

In her speech, she gives young adults advice about how to deal with failure. She talks about her own experience as a single mother living ‘as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless,’ and even though she in no way glamorizes failure, she talks about the benefits that come from it. A second topic she touches on is the importance of imagination, in the sense that we can use it to empathize with people in vulnerable life situations.

To give you a taste of why you need to own this book, below you can find a selection of five amazing quotes included in it.

“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”


“Personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisition or achievement.”


“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.”


“We do not need magic to transform our world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”


“Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.”


90% of the profits from Very Good Lives will benefit Lumos, the charity organization founded by J.K. Rowling that seeks to end institutionalization of children; the remaining 10% will be destined to financial aid at Harvard University.

Buy the book on Amazon now!

J.K. Rowling's Very Good Lives cover - Screen Reels J.K. Rowling's Very Good Lives back cover - Screen Reels

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