The Fringe Benefits of Failure

I recently stumbled upon this very powerful talk given by J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. It is the 2008 Harvard commencement address. The video is 18 minutes long and worth watching from beginning to end, but for now I just want to focus on the first 12 minutes as Rowling talks about the benefits of failure. It is a gripping story with some very powerful advice.

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

Don’t speed through this – watch it when you have time to take it in and think through the ramifications. Be honest with yourself as you consider how much of our lives we avoid risk for fear of failure, and how much of life we might have missed because of those decisions.

Here is one of her thoughts to live by:

“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 failed by default.” J.K. Rowling

I found the discussion gripping. Hope you do as well.

Jeff Shore

About the Author: Jeff Shore

Jeff Shore is a highly sought-after sales expert, speaker, author and consultant whose innovative and real-world selling strategies help you to change your mindset and change your world. His latest book, "Buying the Experience," is now available. Learn more at and follow Jeff on Twitter.