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From JK Rowling To SRK: 'A Recycled Speech'

A young blogger, Agratha Dinakaran, has got the social media space buzzing by pointing out how a recent speech by Shah Rukh Khan at the National Management Convention organised by the All India Management Association (AIMA) in Delhi reminded her of something -- J.K. Rowling's commencement speech at Harvard in 2008, 'The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination'. In fact, as she blogged, some of the words were a " little too similar to that of Ms. Rowling. No, scratch that. They were exactly the words of Ms. Rowling."

Ms Dinakran pointed out the following passage from Mr Khan's speech:

Let me tell you, poverty is not an ennobling experience at all. Poverty entails fear and stress and sometimes, depression. I've seen my parents go through it many times - it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships

And juxtaposed it with this passage from Ms Rowling's famous 2008 speech:

What is more, I cannot criticise my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. 

It was not just a case of a stray line or two, as Ms Dinakaran went on to cite the following from Mr Khan's speech as well:

I won't bore you with more details of how failure is a good thing because you won't call me back for a talk on success. But I'd like to tell you all that life is not just a checklist of acquisitions, attainments and fulfilments. Your qualifications and CVs don't matter, your jobs don't matter. Instead, life is difficult and complicated and beyond your control, and to know that with humility, respecting your failures will help you survive its vicissitudes.

And pointed out how she was actually reminded of this passage from Ms Rowling's speech:

Given a time machine or a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone's total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.

Ms Dinakaran went on to say:

I know many of you are probably thinking that it's just a few lines that have been ripped off, but the man literally quoted those lines verbatim and didn't even credit her for it. He came across as this humble and honest guy who spoke from his heart, while a couple of parts of his speech were clearly stolen.

I don't know if his speech writer messed up or he intentionally stole it; either way, I don't like this one bit. And even if he did want to use parts of Rowling's speech, the least he could have done was credit her or maybe paraphrase some of those lines, but no. The man concluded his speech with the choicest of words plucked from Rowling's speech that earned him a standing ovation.

Incidentally, at the outset, Mr Khan had admitted:

But let me warn you, this is a recycled speech. It's generic and it's simple.

Also Read 

And watch, Ms Rowling's speech:

SHORT TAKES
07 Oct 2013, 02:17:31 PM | Buzz

Shailja Gupta, who describes herself "as the Chief Digital Strategist of Mr Shah Rukh Khan" has responded with the following "3 key points" on her blog, after of course blaming "bloggers and journalists who have no talent and constantly rely on the reflective glory have tried to sensationalize a non-story and have made Mr Shah Rukh Khan the easy target".:

1. In the beginning of the speech SRK starts with “Let me forewarn you, this is a recycled speech. Whenever I am called to give speeches at ypo or some such big organisation…I use this speech. Its generic…simple…and makes me give no commitment in our first meeting. Somewhat like the corporate world itself.” and goes on to give an inspiring speech to a standing ovation which very conveniently people who are writing about SRK not giving credit have forgotten to mention.

2. Famous quotes especially if they are recycled from earler speeches are sometimes not quoted. The recycled speech that SRK mentions includes a speech he gave at the YPO where he clearly gives credit to JK Rowling. CLICK HERE FOR THE YPO SPEECH  (A stand up comedian blogger discovered  this speech via a fan who was present at the YPO and decided to write his own take on the issue) 

3. I reached out to the  fan who was present at the YPO and she cited an anecdote, “Mr Khan had made a joke about the word ‘vicissitudes’…and said jokingly “It’s J K Rowling, I have problems saying such big words….but did it to impress the smart ones gathered there” Which clearly states that there was never any intention to hide a world-famous line from a bunch of smart aware management students to begin with...

...

FOR GOODNESS SAKE, IT IS A HARVARD SPEECH BY JK ROWLING, THE EDUCATED PRETTY MUCH EVERYWHERE ALREADY KNOW OF IT! 

…AND THE SAME EDUCATED PEOPLE ALSO KNOW THAT JK ROWLING ALSO USED THOSE FAMOUS LINES FROM A MANAGEMENT BOOK BY JAMES GALBRAITH.

Isn’t it fair to say many a times during a speech to keep the flow going people don’t quote very famous words? But clearly being sensible is not something that we are dealing with here…are we?

Read the full blog: Shah Rukh Khan’s AIMA, YPO & Million other speeches!

06 Oct 2013, 04:30:24 PM | Buzz

Mahesh Murthy points out on Facebook that it is not just two passages from J.K. Rowlings but at least SIX more instances from elsewhere that show up almost verbatim in SRK's speech without any attribution:

2. SRK:

the true road to success is not just the desire for success but a fear of failure.

Bill Cosby:

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure."

3. SRK:

There is a well- known story of a bank president who was asked the secret of his success. “Right decisions,” he replied. “How do you get to know how to make right decisions?” came the follow-up question. “Experience,” was the answer. “Well, how do you get experience?” asked his interrogator. “Wrong decisions,” he replied.

Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.:

There is a well-known story of a bank president who was asked the secret of his success. "Right decisions," he replied. "How do you get to know how to make right decisions?" came the follow-up question. "Experience," was the answer. "Well, how do you get experience?" asked his interrogator. "Wrong decisions," he replied.

4. SRK:

There is the greatest practical benefit in making a few failures in life.

Thomas Huxley

There is the greatest practical benefit in making a few failures early in life.

5. SRK:

Success is never final....just like failure is never fatal.

John Wooden:

Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

6. SRK:

Courage is doing what YOU are afraid to do. Personally scared to do in whichever capacity you work. There can be no courage unless you are scared.

Eddie Rickenbacker

Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared.

06 Oct 2013, 04:13:57 PM | Buzz

Mahesh Murthy points out on Facebook that it is not just two passages from J.K. Rowlings but at least SIX more instances from elsewhere that show up almost verbatim in SRK's speech without any attribution:

1. SRK:

Take Warren Buffet. Here's a guy who must get asked five times a day how he became the most successful investor of his era. His answers? 'Reinvest your profits, limit what you borrow' - are no different from what any fool could tell you. But he's not being cagey - he simply doesn't know. Success is a wonderful thing, but it tends not to be the sort of experience that we learn from. We enjoy it, perhaps we even deserve it, but we don't acquire anything from it.

Timothy Noah in Slate: Wrong Commencement Speakers!

Take Warren Buffet. Here's a guy who must get asked five times a day how he became the most successful investor of his era. His answers—"Reinvest your profits," "Limit what you borrow," etc.—are no different from what any fool could tell you. Buffet isn't being cagey. He doesn't know. Success is a wonderful thing, but it tends not to be the sort of experience that we learn from. We enjoy it; perhaps we even deserve it. But we don't acquire wisdom from it.

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