David Foster Wallace Commencement Speech

Today’s inspirational and profound video was shared on Twitter by my good friend Samantha Ogborn. In a world where all we hear about is IRS scandals, Oklahomans losing everything due to massively destructive tornados and something called the Real Housewives of New Jersey, this sort of commentary is a relief. It’s inspirational, applicable to all of our lives and probably the funniest thing I’ve seen all day.

This is Water: Some Thoughts Delivered on a Significant Occasion about Living a Compassionate Life

In 2005, author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. However, the resulting speech didn’t become widely known until 3 years later, after his tragic death. It is, without a doubt, some of the best life advice we’ve ever come across, and perhaps the most simple and elegant explanation of the real value of education.

We made this video, built around an abridged version of the original audio recording, with the hopes that the core message of the speech could reach a wider audience who might not have otherwise been interested. However, we encourage everyone to seek out the full speech (because, in this case, the book is definitely better than the movie).

The Glossary

So there you go, hope you enjoyed the break from real life. One anecdote from this video that’s annoyingly pertinent for me is something that Ryan says all the time. Consider “charitable intent” when dealing with people. You never really know why someone does what they do or says what they. Giving those the benefit of the doubt can go a long way towards not turning into a madman.

2 thoughts on “David Foster Wallace Commencement Speech

  1. I love commencement speech season. Sucker for inspiration over here. This one’s a gem!

  2. laurenkilberg It really is! I don’t even remember who gave my commencement speech. I remember they had a torso and talked for some period of time. Super jealous of Kenyon College.

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