乔安妮·凯瑟琳·罗琳，作家，代表作品《哈利·波特》系列小说。1965年7月31日，生于英国的格温特郡的Chipping Sodbury普通医院。毕业于英国 University Of Exeter（埃克塞特大学），学习法语和古典文学，获文理学士学位。毕业后曾在英国曼彻斯特接受教学培训。
本文节选自J·K·罗琳在哈佛大学2008年毕业典礼上发表的演讲《失败的额外收益与想象力的重要性》（The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination）。
Looking back at the 21-year-old that I was at graduation is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42-year-old that she has become. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself and what those closest of…to me expected of me.
What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure.
At your age, in spite of a 19)distinct lack of motivation at university, where I had spent far too long in the coffee bar writing stories, and far too little time at lectures, I had a knack for passing examinations, and that, for years, had been the measure of success in my life and that of my peers.和你们这么大的时候，尽管我明显缺少在校园求学的动力——我花了太多时间在咖啡馆写故事，不怎么听课——我在应试方面很有一套，而这也是多年来评价我以及我的同龄人是否成功的标准。
Now I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted and well-educated, you have never known heartbreak…hardship or heartache. Talent and intelligence never yet 20)inoculated anyone against the 21)caprice of the Fates, and I do not for a moment suppose that everyone here has enjoyed an existence of 22)unruffled 23)privilege and 24)contentment.
However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very 25)well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far removed from the average person’s idea of success. So high have you already flown! 然而，你们能从哈佛毕业，说明你们和失败还不是老朋友。对你们来说，对于失败的恐惧与对于成功的渴望可能有同等的驱动力。确实，你们对于失败的概念或许与普通人对成功的看法相去无几呢。你们的起点已经相当高了！
1)Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of 2)criteria if you let it. So I think it['s] fair to say that by any 3)conventional measure, a 4)mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an 5)epic scale. An 6)exceptionally short-lived marriage had 7)imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.
So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the 9)inessential. 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. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one 10)arena where I believed I truly belonged. I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, 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 11)rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is 12)inevitable. It is possible to live without failing at something, unless you live so 13)cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail 14)by default.
Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more disciplined than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of 15)rubies.
So given a Time-Turner注, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of 19)acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the 20)humility to know that will enable you to survive its 21)vicissitudes.