Guide Afraid - Book 12 - Commencement

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At best, some tips. Try not to set too much store by politicians — not so much because they are dumb or dishonest, which is more often than not the case, but because of the size of their job, which is too big even for the best among them, by this or that political party, doctrine, system or a blueprint thereof. All they or those can do, at best, is to diminish a social evil, not eradicate it. The world is not perfect; the Golden Age never was or will be. In light of that, or, rather, in dark of that — you ought to rely on your own home cooking, that is, on managing the world yourselves — at least that part of it that lies within your reach, within your radius.

The most difficult lesson to learn here is to be steady in the kitchen, since by serving this pie just once you create quite a lot of expectations. Ask yourself whether you can afford a steady supply of those pies, or would you rather bargain on a politician? Try not to stand out, try to be modest. There are too many of us as it is, and there are going to be many more, very soon. Besides, all you will see from that vantage point is the human sea, plus those who, like you, have assumed a similarly conspicuous — and precarious at that — position: those who are called rich and famous.

To covet what somebody else has is to forfeit your uniqueness; on the other hand, of course, it stimulates mass production. But as you are running through life only once, it is only sensible to try to avoid the most obvious cliches, limited editions included.

The notion of exclusivity, mind you, also forfeits your uniqueness, not to mention that it shrinks your sense of reality to the already-achieved.

This is Water by David Foster Wallace (Full Transcript and Audio)

Far better than belonging to any club is to be jostled by the multitudes of those who, given their income and their appearance, represent — at least theoretically — unlimited potential. Try to be more like them than like those who are not like them; try to wear gray. Mimicry is the defense of individuality, not its surrender. I would advise you to lower your voice, too, but I am afraid you will think I am going too far.

Still, keep in mind that there is always somebody next to you, a neighbor. Worse comes to worst, try to remember how far away — from the stars, from the depths of the universe, perhaps from its opposite end — came this request not to do it, as well as this idea of loving your neighbor no less than yourself. Maybe the stars know more about gravity, as well as about loneliness, than you do; coveting eyes that they are.

Graduation Speech Examples: 5 Student Speech Videos With A Purpose

At all costs try to avoid granting yourself the status of the victim. Of all the parts of your body, be most vigilant over your index finger, for it is blame-thirsty. No matter how abominable your condition may be, try not to blame anything or anybody: history, the state, superiors, race, parents, the phase of the moon, childhood, toilet training, etc. The moment that you place blame somewhere, you undermine your resolve to change anything; it could be argued even that that blame-thirsty finger oscillates as wildly as it does because the resolve was never great enough in the first place.

After all, a victim status is not without its sweetness. You might even want to include an original poem to help express your feelings.

Don't just speak to the academic achievers, the sports stars, or the popular crowd. Your topic should be all inclusive of your graduating class.

A really great commencement speech is enjoyed, not simply endured. Put some serious thought into your speech, say something meaningful, and stick to your topic so your message doesn't get lost. Above all, don't talk too long. Remember that everyone wants to receive their diplomas, shed those caps and gowns , and get on with the celebration.

Sample Speeches for High School Graduation

All Rights Reserved. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. May 23, Jayson rated it liked it Shelves: author-british , genre-guide , genre-argument-theory , format-illustrated , format-nonfiction , read-in , pp. View all 14 comments. Jan 04, Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it. If it is not quite the equal of the greatest commencement addresses of this century—David Foster Wallace at Kenyon , George Saunders at Syracuse —it is still memorable.

Your Day Has Arrived

It speaks to the nature of its audience, gives good advice both on how to profit from adversity and also how to discern what is valuable, and—as a bonus—it illustrates its points with revealing glimpses into the heart of one of the most successful writers of our times. Rowling breaks the ice with these practically life-long Harry Potter fans seven years old when the first book came out with jokes about Gryffindor and gay wizards, but she soon begins to speak of fear of failure, making it clear she realizes these particular Potter fans are very privileged Potter fans indeed.

You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. She tells of meeting torture victims and other political prisoners, heroically risking much to speak out against the crimes of their governments.

The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden. If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change.

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better. View all 6 comments. Apr 08, Raeleen Lemay rated it it was amazing Shelves: own , nonfiction. Apr 21, Kai rated it it was amazing Shelves: important , favorites , , owned. Rowling you're my favourite author. You forever will be.


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Find more of my books on Instagram. View all 12 comments. Aug 01, Lala BooksandLala rated it it was amazing Shelves: favourites. View all 4 comments. Feb 03, Brina rated it really liked it Shelves: j-k-rowling. The reason I gave this book 4. This is the published form of J K Rowling's commencement address to Harvard graduates in Her words of wisdom ring true to all, and she even managed to sneak in a few Potter references. I finished in about 15 minutes, and am wishful to think that J K can publish a longer book of essays, which I am sure many of us would be happy to read.

View all 5 comments. Shelves: ebooks. Life's good. You know, that life is 90 percent what happens to you and 10 percent how you react to it. Rightly so, we are all defined by the choices that we make. JKR amalgamates humor with emotions exhibiting the knowledge that accrues with time. There's a quote from this book that found its place onto my bedroom wall. Poverty is romanticized only by the fools.

Richness comes in various currencies. Friends, money, career, society. Make sure you are 1 in each and every one of them. View 1 comment.


  1. Nye County School District.
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  3. Graduation Quotes, Wishes, Sayings & Messages!

JK Rowling has a magical way with words. Love it! View all 3 comments.

High School Graduation Poems

Mar 18, Clumsy Storyteller rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Everyone. Shelves: re-reading , reading-assignment , favorites , non-fiction , definitely-worth-reading. Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea.

And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. 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. Powerful speech from the best author of all times.

View all 9 comments. May 07, Jeff rated it it was amazing. Never was a more true word spoken. A gifted speech from a gifted author. Definitely worth then 20 minutes to finish it! May 12, Rose rated it really liked it Shelves: favorites. K Rowling's life must feel so incredibly blessed. I would. As a die-hard Harry Potter fan, I have read a lot about J. K and her fascinating life before all the Harry Potter craziness. Very Good Lives does a great job of showing some of the wisdom she gained from this time.