I've cliff-noted the best parts of J.K. Rowling's commencement speech at Harvard. You can read or watch the whole thing here. Thanks to Jennifer Crispin at Bookslut for turning me on to it.
"[A]s you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called ‘real life’, I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination."
"There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you."
"Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools."
"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. "
"'As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.'"