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Harvard University

JK Rowling: The fringe benefits of failure

June 5, 2008

At her Harvard commencement speech, "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling offers some powerful, heartening advice to dreamers and overachievers, including one hard-won lesson that she deems "worth more than any qualification I ever earned."

JK Rowling - Author
JK Rowling penned the bestselling Harry Potter page-turners -- a spellbinding, seven-installment fantasy of wizards, warlocks and decidedly British texture that brought her from rags to riches. Full bio

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Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.

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JK Rowling - Author
JK Rowling penned the bestselling Harry Potter page-turners -- a spellbinding, seven-installment fantasy of wizards, warlocks and decidedly British texture that brought her from rags to riches.

Why you should listen

A single mother who battled poverty and depression as she struggled to launch her writing career, Joanne "JK" Rowling was to become perhaps the most famous contemporary fiction writer in the world, with her Harry Potter series of children's books -- a chronicle of the adventures of an adolescent wizard of the same name. The fourth volume of the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, was the fastest-selling book in history.

Since completing the series, Rowling has put her fortune toward philanthropic projects dealing with poverty, multiple sclerosis and other issues through her own Volant Charitable Trust.

The original video is available on TED.com
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