J.K. Rowling on the power of failure

Discuss

56 Responses to “J.K. Rowling on the power of failure”

  1. Agent 86 says:

    Ha, exactly, great story horrible writing. They did a decent job on the movies, no complaints there.

  2. Popo says:

    At first I didn’t intend to sign up for one because I thought I’d just drop by a bit but I did create an account when I had a lot of things popping up in my head. I was surprised to see my post was made anonymous. I think I got it mixed up ’cause I was in quite a hurry when about to post. o.O

  3. buddy66 says:

    “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.”
    — D.K. Rowling

    There it is. Can’t be clearer than that. It’s not as if she landed on her ass and wondered, What can I do now? What’s next? What do I do? She KNEW what she was, had always known, and she knew what she had to do. All writers know that (usually around age eight): “…the only work that mattered to me.”

    Bad luck, youth, and poverty held her back for a while. Then she had the good luck to live at a time of the dole, as one perceptive poster noted, and didn’t starve or jeopradize her and her daughter’s health while working in the park or at the kitchen table on the only work that mattered; and was somehow able to shed the psychological encumberances that kept her from pursuing her true work.

    I don’t know if the lady is today a falling-down drunk or a self-satisfied, selfish billionaire; but I’ll bet she she is nowhere near as happy or fulfilled as when, deep into that first novel, she felt it all coming together, felt her power and control, and knew the excitement that comes from having a purpose.

    Her goal was NOT to be a millionaire, that’s obvious; her goal was not to be a socially-defined success; her goal, was to be a goddamn writer and to write that goddamned book! Forget the money, try to ignore the envy and the ironies, the gossip, and the bullshit; what matters is the instructive testimony of an artist who found a way to get the work done.

    I don’t even like the books. I read the first twenty pages of one and maybe ten of another. Magic bores me. So do most children. The books aren’t literary enough for my piss-elegant tastes. They’re just silly stories for kids or strange sword and sorcery fans. But I am interested in how she prevailed over poverty and bad luck, and went to Harvard to tell the children of privilege that they can never, ever, be as successful.

  4. artbot says:

    Okay, I listened to the speech a couple times, and it’s a decent one. All the requsite “don’t simply chase after money, do good public service, etc” was there. But isn’t her experience one that’s ridiculously anecdotal?

    Basically, her schpiel is, “I failed, but I worked hard and found huge (MEGA) success”. That’s all well and good, but is she suggesting that the millions out there who don’t actually have the lottery-odds combo of talent and lucky breaks should, um, just keep trying?

    I suppose giving a commencement speech to Harvard saying “Most, if not all, of you won’t really amount to much in the world, and will simply live fairly ordinary lives until you die” is probably not the kind of inspiring message the uni elders prefer if they want their (soon to be modestly) wealthy alumni to send donation checks to them in the future.

  5. Takuan says:

    yeah, what you said

  6. Jack says:

    @ #32 POSTED BY ZUZU, JUNE 9, 2008 5:45 PM

    Market economics is not a carrot and stick system. It’s an information communications system regarding the coordination of supply and demand. That’s all.

    That’s true in an ideal system. But you cannot tell me for one second that colleges and universities inherently promise rewards based on how much education one gets when we all know that really is not how the world works.

    Perhaps college students would benefit from understanding that they are being marketed to when they are given “choices” in where to study and what to study. Not to mention that since the late-1980s, college students have been treated as credit cattle by the credit card industry.

    This is all a tangent, but there’s a whole generation of people out there who have (1) been protected from making real decisions in their lives (2) have been promised the world based on what classes they study; ignoring market demands and (3) given credit cards and are told “Live your dream!”

    Seems that more people in their late 20s are now dealing with the “dream” of debt, no clear career path, and the realization that the market doesn’t always want to reward you based on what you like to do.

  7. constantzero says:

    “Go Rowling for letting many people who didn’t like reading discover its joys!”

    I don’t like reading books, but harry potter was an exception, I read all the 7 books. For people like me who prefer watching movies and playing video games, a book really has to be interesting for me to read it from beginning to end.

    Sure there are other interesting books, but the Potter books were already interesting before I even opened the first book.

    Is it because of JK Rowling? the media? the fact that kids can read it? because millions around the world read it?

  8. mgfarrelly says:

    I’ve been to Edinburgh and seen the little coffee shop she wrote in and looked up at the window of her apartment (graveyard tour guide pointed both out) and I think she’s marvelous.

    Of course her experience is “anecdotal”. It’s HER experience. The sentiment is a solid one, that to fail, to be at the bottom of the wheel, to not live up to all those inflated hope and dreams, is extremely liberating.

  9. zuzu says:

    @35 Noen

    Zuzu, what exactly is your economic position, von Mises? I’m just curious.

    As a foundation, yes. (i.e. positive economic analysis) I agree very much with Mises and Hayek, but Rothbard not as much. (Typically the Austrians idolize Rothbard and aren’t so hot on Hayek.) I also like Ronald Coase (transaction costs), Herbert Simon (bounded rationality / incomplete contracting), and Daniel Kahneman (behavioral finance). I’m also generally interested in the principal-agent problem and organizational theory generally.

    Akin to Hayek’s spontaneous order (i.e. emergence), I believe that economic action is principally epistemological in nature, and suspect could be better modeled with the language of information / communication theory. (c.f. economic signals)

    Mises’s praxeology (i.e. human action), I suspect, will someday reconcile with neuroscience and the aforementioned behavioral finance. But for all intents and purposes, I’m willing to accept individuals generally as a “black box” of preferences, which are then expressed to others through economic action. (Akin to Wittgenstein‘s philosophy of language.)

    I was actually quite surprised by James Surowiecki‘s Wisdom of Crowds as in many ways, particularly for a popular non-fiction, he “wrote the book I’ve been meaning to write”. (I don’t mean for that to come across sounding like hubris; the point is I recommend reading his book.) I’m also a fan of Thomas Malone (The Future of Work).

  10. vespabelle says:

    zuzu, thanks for the kids books recommendations! I’m sure my 7 year old will love The Social Construction of Reality!

  11. zuzu says:

    Seems that more people in their late 20s are now dealing with the “dream” of debt,

    If I could make my own tangent for a moment, and perhaps redress your “realpolitik” later… Over the past decade I’ve grown to deeply suspect that Americans (i.e. people living in the United States) tacitly are making the “right” decisions given the “wrong” information a distorted market is feeding them. (Garbage-In, Garbage-Out) Namely, that the monetary policy has created an inflation and speculation dominant market, rather than an investment and knowledge economy. We’re financially encouraged to spend money before we make it, because of this monetary policy, to get ahead of the rate of inflation. (e.g. Better to buy something for $50 now and pay the inflation adjusted price of $45 later.) Savers are penalized, and speculators disproportionally rewarded (and/or subsidized). It’s easy to blame the problem on “youth culture” or ignorance. But the source of the problem lay with the Gosplan-like power exercised by the “Fourth Branch of government”.

    no clear career path, and the realization that the market doesn’t always want to reward you based on what you like to do.

    As for this, I think there’s a strong case to be made for “free agents” as Daniel Pink would say, as long as you have a solid grip on not “living beyond your means” as addressed above. It’s a somewhat radically different, and often less material means of making a living, than perhaps baby boomer white-collar “organization man” employees living in the suburbs have grown to expect. It does require both more personal discipline and self-reliance than “helicopter parents” have afforded their children. There’s no half-assing it. Either you’re going to work and spend like you work for Dow Chemical, or you’re going to work and spend like you’re a freelance programmer. There’s no spending like you’re working for Dow and earning like a freelancer — at least not in your 20s, unless you’re a certified genius.

  12. Antinous says:

    This thread is flypaper for the tiny-minded, the tiny-souled. Shame on you haters for your cheap inhumanity, for your lack of imagination, for your tiresome envy. But thank you for exposing your withered, poo-hurling psyches so that I know exactly how much respect to accord you.

  13. zuzu says:

    zuzu, thanks for the kids books recommendations! I’m sure my 7 year old will love The Social Construction of Reality!

    Ha! Fair enough. But there are so many fictions that can challenge and cultivate a child’s mind in the same way that, say, Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone did on television. How about some Ursula K. Le Guin or Heinlein’s juveniles?

  14. artbot says:

    Perhaps you prefer the word “apocryphal”? My point being, that there is little solace to be taken from from someone who’s saying “I had failed much in my life before my enormous success”. Of course she had failures before succeeding – that’s like saying you were dry before you got wet.

    The unspoken part here is actually “the odds of this same level of success (or anywhere near it) befalling you are nearly zero”, which makes it anecdotal in the sense that there is a faulty logic leading to a conclusion.

    Of course poverty is liberating – what other choice does one have in that situation? I’m just hoping the entire middle class of the U.S. doesn’t feel quite so “liberated” in the coming years.

  15. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    I live in the next street along from JK Rowling’s
    old flat,Its nice,next to a primary school just up from the deli.Poor dear.

  16. philipb says:

    This lady inspired millions of kids (young & old) to read 7 books in a row, average page count in the 500s. Many of them have not stopped reading since either.

    Cut the women some slack.

  17. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Rowling is making a very timely and pertinent point. If you want an example of being paralyzed by fear of failure because you’ve never failed before, I recommend the life of George B. McClellan.

    I may deplore Rowling’s recent combativeness about defending her copyrights. I suspect she’s getting some dubious legal advice. On the other hand, she gets pirated like no one else on the planet. For instance, not only has she been extensively pirated in China, but they’ve added non-canonical titles written by other authors. There’s a Russian hijacked version of the series in which all the standard props in the series are slightly changed and renamed. And that’s only scratching the surface. (See links: one, two, three.)

    Zuzu, I have a lot of respect for you, and it’s only by chance that I’m going to wind up arguing with you twice in a row. Nevertheless, I have to say that you couldn’t be more wrong.

    If kids wanted to start by reading Le Guin and Heinlein, they could do it. After they’ve had fun reading Harry Potter, they may go on to read those other titles. But it does no good to tell them they shouldn’t read what they like. Your likeliest outcome is that they’ll privately vow to never read Heinlein or Le Guin. If you really work at it, you may get them to stop reading. But read a book because someone says it’s good for them? Because it’s supposedly “worthier” than the books they love? That doesn’t work with anyone.

    If a person reads and enjoys one book, they’ll probably read another. Part of becoming a lifelong reader is developing taste — and on that score, no two readers are the same.

    Come on. You didn’t cut your teeth on The Critique of Pure Reason. You read what you liked. Allow others to do the same.

    As for the Harry Potter series being “drivel” — no, it isn’t. Yes, I’m making the argument from authority. Rowling’s success wasn’t a matter of timing or promotion. She’s got some serious technical chops. To mention only two, she’s remarkably good at writing a paragraph that makes you want to read the next paragraph; and she never explains stuff before you need to know it.

    People don’t read a seven-book series by accident.

    Artbot @14:

    Okay, I listened to the speech a couple times, and it’s a decent one. All the requsite “don’t simply chase after money, do good public service, etc” was there. But isn’t her experience one that’s ridiculously anecdotal?

    Whose experience isn’t? Her experience is interesting. If they’d wanted to hear from a statistically significant sample, they could have commissioned a report from Gallup or Roper or Quinnipiac.

    Basically, her schpiel is, “I failed, but I worked hard and found huge (MEGA) success”. That’s all well and good, but is she suggesting that the millions out there who don’t actually have the lottery-odds combo of talent and lucky breaks should, um, just keep trying?

    Yes. The odds are stacked against anyone else becoming a mega-bestselling upper-YA fantasy author. The advice is applicable in many other contexts.

    I suppose giving a commencement speech to Harvard saying “Most, if not all, of you won’t really amount to much in the world, and will simply live fairly ordinary lives until you die” is probably not the kind of inspiring message the uni elders prefer if they want their (soon to be modestly) wealthy alumni to send donation checks to them in the future.

    Not only would that not be appropriate, it wouldn’t be accurate. Look up the stats on Harvard graduates.

    Barnaby @28: Rowling is drawing on a pool of shared material. She’s been accused of ripping off Neil Gaiman, Diana Wynne Jones, Jane Yolen, and dozens of other authors, not to mention all those British school stories.

    If you’re familiar with Gaiman’s Books of Magic, you’ll surely have noticed that he borrowed a vast amount of material from other sources, and made something new out of it. So has Rowling. So did all those other authors. If you think she only borrowed from one source, all that shows is that you’re unfamiliar with all her other sources.

  18. zuzu says:

    This lady inspired millions of kids (young & old) to read 7 books in a row, average page count in the 500s. Many of them have not stopped reading since either.

    Seven 500-page books of drivel.

    Reading for its own sake, without purpose, is as foolish as circulating money around, without purpose, to “stimulate the economy”.

    Ever see that episode of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos where he’s in a virtual Library of Alexandrea explaining how if you read most of your waking hours every day, you could only get through several bookshelves worth in your lifetime? Reading is an investment. I believe readers should expect a reasonable rate of return. Read George Orwell’s 1984, for example. Or, The Social Construction of Reality by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann. But not this Crazy Lady’s pablum.

  19. cinemajay says:

    Hey, I’m all for poor writers making it big. She became a gazillionaire on her own imagination. That’s it–she just wrote. People loved it. Kids especially and she challenged/inspired an intire generation (and their parents).

    Haters must be jealous. I know I am. And I’m with PhilipB–anyone one who has such a positive influnce on kids (and a negative one on looney bible thumpers) is a hero in my book.

  20. Takuan says:

    inspiring, but who gave her her break?

  21. Sis B says:

    I needed this today.

    I don’t care that she’s a gazillionaire or that she’s gone freakishly protective of her work.

    The speech, especially that section quoted here, is quite true. The resounding part for me is that once you’ve failed catastrophically, there is no more fear of failure to hold you back from accomplishing great things.

    Unfortunately I have had to fail just this badly to experience the same release of fear. I would hope that some of the more wise members of our society would be able to live greatly with that same sense of abandon.

    As for me, I am inspired to start building on this bottom rock on which I’ve landed.

  22. artbot says:

    Wow, now I’m a JKR hater just because I made some comments about the relevance of her selection as a commencement speaker? I don’t care anything about her one way or the other. Good for her for being a successful author and reinvigorating an interest in kids’ reading habits. Nothing wrong with that or the money she made from it all.

    Jealous??? I’m not even a writer (as if you can’t tell) and have no ambitions to be one. I don’t envy her success (or fear her failures) any more than anyone else’s on the planet. What’s the point in that?

    I guess knee-jerk fan-boy defenses of celebrities they never knew or met have no boundaries. It’s especially shocking to see this kind of non-critical hero worship outside of an Apple thread.

  23. noen says:

    Good for her. Though others, having been through the same meat grinder don’t always fas as well. There is a good deal of luck involved in mega success. Oddly, those who do succeed seem to think they did it all by themselves.

  24. Anonymous says:

    After reading the previous comments I felt the need to express how they made me feel through what I think of some topics discussed so here’s what’s on my mind.

    On the outset, I think what she was trying to say is that success in life is not measured by being a gazillionaress or a celebrity but by directly touching other people’s lives in a positive way, not necessarily thousands or more.

    In her speech she wished the graduates good lives, not necessarily conforming to society’s definition of the extraordinary or having the kind of success she achieved but lives spent doing work that one loves, that which enlivens the spirit and brings happiness and contentment to the heart, and growing and keeping genuinely good loving relationships which value more than material riches and fulfilling achievements. I think she suggests to focus on what can be done for the less privileged, by the people she was mainly addressing in particular, and not on reaching the level of worldly success she has achieved for of course not everyone gets the talent, the will, and luck required: not everyone’s meant for such spot in society due to the different opportunities made available to us by our uniqueness. It’s just like not everyone can be accomplished actresses/actors, lawyers, painters, engineers, and so on. It’s not a “one size fits all” system that works.

    What is lacking in our world today is acceptance that all of us are different, so different that what has been possible for others may not be possible for us. Other things the world is short of are respect with regards to the mentioned adversity and the will to imagine Rowling speaks of. We do not try to understand something because we don’t like it.

    *sigh* I’m quite at a loss for words at this point. I myself am not into Harry Potter but I don’t think and moreover tell other people that it’s silly and the writer is crazy. I admire her creativity and my respect for adults who are into Harry Potter is not decreased by their choice of read than those into philosophical books or any other kind of reading materials because reading and the different kinds of literature is for everyone.

    I think Rowling is simply saying we should not let failures keep us down because there may be possibilities for greatness, more probably goodness and something better, waiting for us to give it another try. Also, I think it is good that she gave another “successful person talk about her failures” because people forget and the current generation is lazy when it comes to reading, through which old talks of the kind can be accessed.

    Lastly, I think what she refers to as liberating is not poverty itself but the experience of being in the condition that one fears to be in in life.

    Well, that’s about it now. I hope my thoughts contribute something to the pursuit of understanding the issues here. =’)

    Go Rowling for letting many people who didn’t like reading discover its joys!

  25. Takuan says:

    she wrote kids books, she made a ton of money. She was poor once. I suppose she is qualified far more than me in some matters, but I don’t see that much evidence that I should turn to her as an authority on how to overcome life’s obstacles. Just one more story out of six billion.

  26. scottfree says:

    I’ve found one good graduation commencement so far:

    http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/go_look_three_from_richard_thompson/

    Anyway, I love JK Rowling, but I like to think people who are impressed by commencement speeches one day realise four hours of listening to superficial advice and clichés are four hours of summer you never get back.

    Sorry. I went to a friend’s graduation a few weeks ago and thought it one of the most useless evens i’ve ever seen or heard of.

  27. artbot says:

    Always inspiring to hear gazillionaires talk about “failing”.

  28. ray says:

    RAJ77
    RE “… Certainly at that stage in my life, I was much more afraid of failure than of death…”

    Looking back on my own experience, I agree with you 100%. Born in the UK post WW 2, playing it safe seemed the only option.

    RE “What I think she’s trying to do is limit the fear of failure”

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Thanks for your observation. It comes through not just in the text but even more so watching and listening to her.

  29. Raj77 says:

    What I think she’s trying to do is limit the fear of failure. What no-one other than Rowling has pointed out is that 99% of these students have *not* encountered failure in any concrete sense in their own lives, and have had fear of it used as a stick to motivate them since they were barely more than toddlers. Certainly at that stage in my life, I was much more afraid of failure than of death.

  30. Church says:

    Please, no more press for Mary Sue-happy.

  31. jjasper says:

    Snark aside, she’s right. Living on the bottom of the heap for a while makes you appreciate it more when you’re doing OK.

    As for who gave her a break? She did a lot of it her self by producing something that became a media phenomenon.

  32. Agent 86 says:

    Anonymous poster, who ever you are, I sincerely hope you sign up for an account.

  33. clockworkjoe says:

    Hey, now I have something in common with a bazillonaire author! Surely, the bazillonaire part can’t be far off…

  34. error404 says:

    #8 demidan

    Soap Dodger!? She’s not a Glaswegian, I am however a Midgie raking soap dodging wee Weejia bas.

    Note midgie raker not skip looter in the G.

    All the best

    As for JKR, Don’t care for her books they are trite and terribly derivitive.

    I suppose if it makes some of the wee tackers read a book it’s not all bad, but heavens for betsy can we not get em on better fare that that?

  35. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know why people hold the Harry Potter books to such a high standard. They are intended for young people, not adults (even though some adults adore the books too).

    When I was a boy, the books that I read weren’t hyper-literate but they made a big impression on me. The Encyclopedia Brown books, the whole Wizard of Oz series, the Hardy Boys.. these were all gateway books into more complitated stories.

  36. DefMech says:

    The feelings she describes are exactly the same as the ones I felt right before dropping out of college. Still working on the gazillionaire part…

  37. brokebutstilldrinking says:

    Does anyone else find her sexy in a school librarian sort of way?

  38. Enochrewt says:

    This is actually a pretty coherent speech coming from someone I’ve always taken as a Crazy Lady.

  39. demidan says:

    Up her arse with a broom or two ever since she started to sue anyone who even mentions Harry Potter including religious festivals in India,
    ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia /7040191.stm ).

    How much money does an ex soap dodger skip looter need?

  40. barnaby says:

    I notice that in her speech J.K. fails to mention the power of ripping off Gaiman’s Books Of Magic without even the slightest nod in the direction of that influential antecedent and then threatening to sue anyone who mentions young master Potter without permission.

  41. Jonathan Badger says:

    I think I’m reminded of Ashleigh Brilliant’s saying:

    “Every successful person has had failures but repeated failure is no guarantee of eventual success.”

  42. Anonymous says:

    Anyone else reminded of Fight Club?

    “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

  43. Jack says:

    Inspiring, but also a sign of the times. Modern career paths don’t acknowledge failure or how to deal with it. So you just end up with TONS of folks graduating with degrees and demands they be given things just because they went into debt for it.

    Sadly I think the mortgage crisis in the U.S. and the fact the economy is not bouncing back will force more than a few people to face failure and learn how to earn something… One would hope.

  44. philipb says:

    This lady inspired millions of kids (young & old) to read 7 books in a row, average page count in the 500s. Many of them have not stopped reading since either.

    Cut the women some slack.

  45. Takuan says:

    ooooh! “soap dodger skip looter”! Nice! Before all I had was “soap dodging hair farmer” “Skip looter” is so much more lyrical than “dumpster diving”. Gads,its FUN loathing the poor!

  46. bogusphotographer says:

    I agree with you Jack. Whatever arena you’re working in, there’s thousands of graduates released each year, often with no easy path to fall into. The human wastage is huge, inefficient and sadly inevitable.

    Many young people today are known as the ‘sandwiched generation’ – neither having the freedoms of their parents generation, living at home late, then getting married and having to find huge mortgages on top of their other debts. Likewise there’s no time to wait before they have to get a child into the world while their bodies can still do it.

    It means patterns of consumption with change and perhaps a generation wont own their homes. It could make them freer in the end, or perhaps make them feel disconnected or disenfranchised. The ones with no education in this scenario are the ones to worry about.

    The sort of failure entrepreneurs talk about it often a by-product of experimentation – part of the risk of trying something new. At least JK is talking about real, personal, even existential failure. She’s lucky she managed to pull her life together.

  47. zuzu says:

    Sadly I think the mortgage crisis in the U.S. and the fact the economy is not bouncing back will force more than a few people to face failure and learn how to earn something…

    I’d like to make something of a caveat here. Market economies necessarily exist solely because of their problem-solving function.

    Do not frame economics in terms of incentives.

    Do not frame what people earn as if they “deserve it”.

    Market economics is not a carrot and stick system. It’s an information communications system regarding the coordination of supply and demand. That’s all.

    Once people start thinking of economics in terms of “incentives” they’ve pretty much fallen into the Objectivist view of spitting on the homeless and championing the cutthroat. (Or, conversely, and perhaps ironically, they do so in a Socialist social engineering methodology of utterly conflating description and prescription.)

  48. chrisb says:

    EPIC FAIL!

  49. Keneke says:

    I’ve never seen as much ire for childrens books as I see in these comments. It’s the most popular escapist fantasy since Star Wars, and all you guys can seem to say is that the writing sucks?

  50. JJR1971 says:

    No wonder she’s so tight-fisted…typical nouveau riche…

  51. ray says:

    Thanks for posting J.K. Rowling’s commencement address at Harvard. Enough with the cynicism! Regardless of the success she’s achieved her articulately expressed thoughts are inspiring, even to the father of two grown children. I wished I’d had her as my commencement speaker, though I probably wouldn’t have been able to really hear what she was saying back then.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  52. Agent 86 says:

    I want to pop in on this. I can’t stand Rowling’s writing, it grates and feels wrong when I read it, but her imagination is impressive and vast and her storytelling simply seizes you – never letting you go, until months after reading her latest book you feel compelled to pick up the original and start over again. If I could go back and choose which YA book my first reading experience was with, Potter would make the short list. As it is, I trudged through dozens of books I was forced to read until I finally found an author that gripped me in the forth grade. Ever since, I have consumed ~3 books a week. (Not to say the books I had read were bad, they just were not compelling.)

    As for the stew-theory of writing, I always think of Eragon. There wasn’t a chapter in the book that did not remind me of something or other I had just read, and yet everything was sown together so perfectly that it became its own tale. If I had* to point to an example of why stealing bits and pieces is a Good Ideaâ„¢, that would be it.
    *oh wait, I just did…

  53. holybuzz says:

    That’s the best Harvard commencement speech I’ve read since Dan Brown’s.

  54. noen says:

    Zuzu, what exactly is your economic position, von Mises? I’m just curious.

  55. eustace says:

    I’m so glad I didn’t find this thread until after the moderator had her say!
    I thought the talk was very well done; I felt inspired.
    Can’t say I’m a fan of the books, in fact I often use them as a counterexample – movies that I prefer to the books that inspired them. I’m such fun at parties :)

  56. Fnarf says:

    Regardless of whether she’s tight-fisted or lawsuit-happy or entirely too rich or not, it’s a good point and a good speech. As for who gave her her big break, you could argue that it was the dole — yes, Britain’s possibly all-time greatest capitalist success wrote her first book while on welfare.

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