October 8, 2012
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The Billion-Dollar Author: Harry Potter’s J. K. Rowling Is Born

“I was very low and I had to achieve something,” recalls Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. “Without the challenge, I would have gone stark raving mad.”

Rowling was a single mother living on welfare. Working as a secretary was not how she had envisioned her life. She had admittedly reached her own personal rock bottom. Without even enough money to pay the electricity bill, Rowling knew she had to do something to provide a better life for her baby daughter. But what, she wondered. The answer came to her while riding the train one day; that was when Harry Potter came to life. Today, with over 325 million book sales, the Potter series has not only spawned a worldwide reading revolution, but has taken Rowling off of welfare and turned her into a billionaire.

Joanne Rowling was born on July 31, 1965 in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, England. Along with her older sister, the Rowling girls developed an affinity for story telling. They also developed an affinity for rabbits and begged their parents to get them one. In Rowling’s attempts to convince her parents, she wrote a story called “Rabbit.” She was just six years old, but the story set Rowling on a new path.

The story revolved around a rabbit that got the measles and visited his friend, a giant bee by the name of Miss Bee. “Ever since Rabbit and Miss Bee, I have wanted to be a writer,” says Rowling, “though I rarely told anyone so. I was afraid they’d tell me I didn’t have a hope.”

Rowling never got her pet rabbit. Instead, her family moved to Tutshill, a town near England’s border with Wales. Both of Rowling’s parents, originally from London, had always wanted to live in the countryside. Finally, at Tutshill, their dream had come true. Rowling, too, loved her new home, which allowed her to spend hours alone wandering in the fields. “The only fly in the ointment was the fact that I hated my new school,” she says.

Tutshill Primary was an old-fashioned school with a teacher who scared the students. From there, Rowling moved onto Wyedean Comprehensive School. “I was quiet, freckly, short-sighted and rubbish at sports,” she recalls. Still, Rowling found friends through her ability to tell fantastical lunchtime stories. And yet, even through university, Rowling did not focus seriously on her writing as anything more than a hobby.

Rowling attended Exeter University where she majored in French. Her parents had advised her that bilingualism would help her succeed as a secretary. “Unfortunately, I am one of the most disorganized people in the world,” she says. Upon graduation, Rowling did in fact become a secretary, working for Amnesty International. It was not her dream job but it did allow her to do one thing: use the computer to type up her own stories during her breaks. It would not be long before Rowling could find herself focusing on nothing but her stories.

1/ Slay and dragon standing in your ways.

2/  Put a little magic in your thinking

3/ Every spare seconds count for success

4/  Do what you know and love.

5/  Do not lose the core essence of your product

“What was the worst could happen. Everyone turn me down? Big Deal.


About author

Dr Shailesh Thaker

Dr. Shailesh Thaker is a world-renowned management thinker and trainer on organizational behavior and development. He is the CLO of Knowledge Plus Inc., a highly reputed training firm based in Ahmedabad, India, helping organizations to achieve international benchmarks in management practices.

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