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The Power Of Simplicity: J.K. Rowling’s Journey From Welfare To Billionaire Status

  • Post published:March 11, 2015

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, was Forbes’ first billionaire in history to lose the status. How? Too much charitable giving.

Rowling has always been a character of interest.

When Harry Potter’s concept was picked up, the struggling author was on welfare, and had been attempting to sell the concept for an extended period of time. She eventually succeeded, selling it for $4000. By the year 2000, the first three books in the Harry Potter series had $480 million.

Story of J.K. Rowling

Despite the obvious and massive popularity of the books, they received harsh criticism: the writing was too simple, the story too basic and the characters vague.

The Guardian reporter Anthony Holden had this to say of the first book in the series:

What I do object to is a pedestrian, ungrammatical prose style which has left me with a headache and a sense of a wasted opportunity. If Rowling is blessed with this magic gift of tapping into young minds, I can only wish she had made better use of it. Her characters, unlike life’s, are all black-and-white. Her story-lines are predictable, the suspense minimal, the sentimentality cloying every page. (Did Harry, like so many child-heroes before him, HAVE to be yet another poignant orphan?)


But what Holden failed to see is that this “pedestrian” style, the black-and-white descriptions and “sentimentality” was the trifecta that drew fans in. Not all things need to be complicated.

This is a business practice that has stood the test of time; often, the most basic ideas are those that are the most successful. Funny enough, this is an idea that extends to our own clientele.

It’s often our clients’ most simple ideas that are the most effective; it’s complication and sophisticated, impulsive concepts that tend to fail.

So whether you consider Rowling’s tales overly simple or not, it’s important to note: simplicity often leads to success.