Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling Book Review!

Very Good Lives

Author: J. K. Rowling
Average Rating: 4.28/5.0
Personal Rating: 5.0/5.0
Page Count: 80
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: 14 April 2015

According to Goodreads:

In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives offers J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life, asking the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world-famous author addresses some of life’s most important issues with acuity and emotional force.

Purchase Links:

My Opinion:

I first heard about Very Good Lives when I watched Giselle's, at Book Nerd Canada, wrap-up video for May. I call myself a fan of J.K. Rowling, but in all honesty I have only read the Harry Potter series. So...I'm guess I'm more of a true fan to the series. I do want to read her other books, but I haven't picked any of them up yet. 

When I heard about Very Good Lives, and how it was her commencement speech that she gave at Harvard, I became intrigued. I am a new graduate myself, now given only from high school, but a graduate nonetheless. I am about to begin my college journey, which is kind of daunting. Throughout my whole senior year I wasn't sad at all when I was experiencing my "lasts" of high school. I was always looking forward to starting college, so I could begin working on my education degree. I registered for classes last Thursday, and let me tell you it was a wake up call. 

Rowling covered two main topics during her speech. The first topic she spoke about was failure. Something I think we have all experienced in one way or another. She spoke about how failure is practically a requirement in order to succeed. If we don't fail, we won't see what we are doing wrong. Failure is hard to accept. Trust me, I know. However, I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today if I hadn't failed, gotten back up, and failed again. The second topic centered around keeping your imagination alive and strong. The world didn't change, because everyone in the whole world had the same exact ideas. Inventions, technology, organizations were created, because someone thought outside the box. Everyone on this here planet has great ideas and thoughts that deserve to be shared, and when they are the world changes. The changes may only impact a neighborhood, a community, or a city, but the world is forever changed. Imagination sparks inspiration. 

I found Rowling's commencement speech highly inspiring and witty. Reading it last night calmed my nerves about heading to college. Her speech was a gentle reminder that it's okay to fail, and that you will get back up. Very Good Lives is a piece of writing that can be returned to again and again at any point in time for any event in life, major or minor. 

"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" (Rowling 67). 


  1. Great review. There’s a video of her giving this speech on YouTube, and it’s awesome. I’d love to get a copy of the book.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Thank you! I will definitely go check that out! I checked a copy out from the library, but somewhere down the road I would like to purchase a copy for myself too :)

  2. Good luck with your college courses! It can be hard to make time for outside reading when you're in college, but I hope you'll still be able to read the books you enjoy, too!

    1. Thank you! I am becoming more excited with each day since registering for classes. I guess registering made it all official! Me too! I know in the beginning it will be tricky to balance everything, but I'm sure I'll find a routine that will allow me the appropriate amount of time to study, socialize, and read/me time.