When J.K. Rowling was invited to deliver the commencement address at Harvard University, she chose to speak to the graduating class about two topics very close to her heart: the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination. Having the courage to fail, she said, is as vital to a good life as any conventional measure of success; imagining ourselves into the place of another--particularly someone less fortunate than ourselves--is a uniquely human quality to be nurtured at all costs.
The stories Rowling shared and the provocative questions she asked of those young graduates have since inspired countless others to consider what it means to live a "good life." Now in print for the first time, her words serve as both a comfort and a call to arms for anyone--of any age--who finds themselves at a turning point. In daring to take a risk, and perhaps fail, and by harnessing the power of our imaginations, we can all begin to live less cautiously and, in doing so, become more open to the opportunities life has to offer.