"There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”
If nothing else, Wallace speech is timeless, telling us about "the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over: This is Water"
In 2015, Time Magazine called Wallace speech the Greatest Commencement Speech of All Time and highlighted 5 Takeaways.
David Wallace (1962 - 2008) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and university professor of English and creative writing. Wallace's 1996 novel "Infinite Jest " was cited by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. His posthumous novel, "The Pale King" (2011), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2012. The Los Angeles Times's David Ulin called Wallace "one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last twenty years". Wallace grew up in Illinois and attended Amherst College. He taught English at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College. After struggling with depression for many years, he died by suicide in 2008, at age 46.