Siddhartha Mukherjee Speech: 3 Forms of Listening

Avatar English Speeches | November 8, 2019

Watch this famous Siddhartha Mukherjee Speech. Siddhartha has a word of advice for this year’s graduates: Listen. Mukherjee is best known for his 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. It was turned into a three-part documentary by Ken Burns and included among Time magazine’s 100 best nonfiction books of the past century. He is the author of five books, including Start With Why. Enjoy our Speeches with big English subtitles and keep your English learning journey.


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Siddhartha Mukherjee Quote:

Siddhartha Mukherjee Quote

Learn ability is an element that measure your passion towards the successes.” Siddhartha Mukherjee

Siddhartha Mukherjee full TRANSCRIPT:

“‘Generation L.’

Before I begin, I want you to turn to your left, turn to your right. And congratulate the person next to you, even if you don’t know them. Congratulations to graduates of the class of 2018!

Yes, yes, yes; I know what you are now thinking. “Last year, we had Will Ferrell.” He was funny, upbeat, quirky – a comic genius. How come we got stuck with the cancer guy?”.

But hold that thought for a second, for here we are, on this absolutely glorious morning – and if there’s one thing that Mr. Ferrell and I do share, it’s this: We are both immensely, immensely honored to be asked to speak to you. And so let me congratulate you, and your families, on what is definitely one of the most memorable days of your life.

In writing this talk, I decided to take a break and play chess with my younger daughter, Aria, who is all of eight years old, and perhaps a future Trojan. It may have been the first time that I had played with her. We made a few perfunctory moves. I traded a pawn for a pawn, and a knight for a knight, and I saw her easing into the rhythm of the game. She made a few clumsy moves and then corrected herself. She almost sacrificed her queen. And then, about an hour into the game, I witnessed something astonishing happened. A dry, wily smile spread over her face – a smile that I had never seen – and she began to play well. Not just well – but very well. Every move that I made was countered by her move. I lost a rook, then a bishop, and then the whole kingdom. “Checkmate,” she said triumphantly. And then I realized what had happened in the last half hour. She had learned to see the board through my eyes. She had climbed out of her own head into the crawl space of my head. She was thinking my thoughts before I had them. She was listening to my brain, eavesdropping on my mind.

This talk is not about talking, but about listening.

Let me tell you a very different story: In the early 1950s, the mortality rate from childhood lymphoblastic leukemia – cancer of white blood cells – was 100 percent. Every child diagnosed with leukemia died. The illness was called a “suppuration of blood”: because doctors thought that the blood had somehow suddenly turned rotten, and, like spoiled milk, there was no way of turning it back.
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Siddhartha Mukherjee Speech

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