Thursday, May 13, 2010

Two Inspiring Commencement Speeches

Steve Jobs speaks with a clarity, simplicity and sincerity that admirably underscore his innovative genius. Well worth your time!

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

I have yet to read a single Harry Potter book. When J.K. Rowling's first Harry Potter book burst upon the reading world in 1997, I fancied myself a wee bit too mature to get overly excited about an author who appeared to be Enid Blyton's successor - albeit more contemporary and a lot hipper. Besides, the first Harry Potter book I came across was an overpriced hardcover edition and there was no way I could see myself forking out so much cash for a mere book.

A few years later the Harry Potter movies hit the cinemas. Out of curiosity I picked up a pirate DVD and watched the whole thing with mixed feelings. On the one hand I had to acknowledge the impressive production quality in terms of casting, scripting and special effects. I wasn't entirely taken by the storyline and I felt there was something missing from the mix. I still can't quite place my finger on the problem - but, considering that the Harry Potter brand is now worth £15 billion, what's my personal opinion worth?

Sybil Pillai - a friend I haven't seen in years who just added me on Facebook - had shared J.K. Rowling's 2008 commencement speech at Harvard on her Wall. On impulse I decided to check it out and, after listening to the entire thing, I felt a great deal more warmth towards Ms Rowling. If somebody dropped off a few dog-eared Harry Potter books at my doorstep, I'd probably read them all in the loo - and, who knows, I might become a fan too.