Known For: Writing Harry Potter

Primary Soft Skills: Resiliency, Drive Strength / Motivation


“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.” – JK Rowling

The creator of Harry Potter didn’t even have a computer when she wrote her first book. She tapped it out on a manual typewriter. Times then were tough for Rowling who was recently divorced, poor, and raising a child alone.

Yet, despite those odds, she finished her magical book! And…it was rejected. She submitted it to another publisher and…it was rejected again. Twelve publishers would reject one of the most popular book series of all time before the thirteenth said yes.

Her Soft Skills


Rowling shows great resiliency. She was single parent raising a child on state benefits. Yet, she still completed her book. Even after she finished the first book, it wasn’t over. Her book was rejected twelve times, but she didn’t give up.

During these dark times, Rowling faced clinical depression and even thoughts of suicide. She later funneled this into the dementors – the soul sucking creatures in Harry Potter.

Finally, the thirteenth publisher, Bloomsbury, agreed to publish Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She became a multimillionaire in five years.

Drive Strength/Motivation

Writing a book take lots of hard work. Rowling had many factors against her and she completed her first novel. She had a child dependent on her, on state benefits, divorced, and suffered from depression. However, she found the motivation to keep writing and to finish her first book.

Her agent told her to keep her day job because he didn’t think she’d be able to make a lot of money from children’s book. Her current net worth is $1 billion.

What Can We Learn from JK Rowling

Rowling’s rags to riches story inspires everyone. She had a dream of publishing a book about a young wizard named Harry Potter. Harry Potter has 450 million copies printed and has been translated into 68 languages.

She has great technical skill as a writer, but her soft skills; resiliency and drive strength are what propelled her into literary history. Never give up!

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