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Rank #47 in Personal Journals category

Arts
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Personal Journals

What It Takes

Updated 2 months ago

Rank #47 in Personal Journals category

Arts
Society & Culture
Personal Journals
Read more

Revealing, intimate conversations with visionaries and leaders in the arts, science, technology, public service, sports and business. These engaging personal stories are drawn from interviews with the American Academy of Achievement, and offer insights you’ll want to apply to your own life.

Read more

Revealing, intimate conversations with visionaries and leaders in the arts, science, technology, public service, sports and business. These engaging personal stories are drawn from interviews with the American Academy of Achievement, and offer insights you’ll want to apply to your own life.

iTunes Ratings

680 Ratings
Average Ratings
607
30
12
11
20

Inspiring

By Saucepan 1 - Oct 17 2019
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Everything you want out of amazing interviews with incredible people.

Fantastic podcasts

By Kevin in DC - Jul 06 2019
Read more
The What it Takes podcasts are a treasure--a true gift for generations to come. Inspiring!

iTunes Ratings

680 Ratings
Average Ratings
607
30
12
11
20

Inspiring

By Saucepan 1 - Oct 17 2019
Read more
Everything you want out of amazing interviews with incredible people.

Fantastic podcasts

By Kevin in DC - Jul 06 2019
Read more
The What it Takes podcasts are a treasure--a true gift for generations to come. Inspiring!
Cover image of What It Takes

What It Takes

Latest release on Jul 27, 2020

Read more

Revealing, intimate conversations with visionaries and leaders in the arts, science, technology, public service, sports and business. These engaging personal stories are drawn from interviews with the American Academy of Achievement, and offer insights you’ll want to apply to your own life.

Rank #1: Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Justice For All

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In this episode, you'll hear Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tell the very personal story of her lifelong pursuit of justice and equality for women. Her tale includes trips to the library with her mother, a sixty year romance with Marty Ginsburg, her struggles to become a lawyer in a field inhospitable to women, her surprising friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia, and even her days as an aspiring baton twirler! The interview was conducted by NPR's Nina Totenberg, and explores some of the most important cases Ginsburg handled - as a lawyer and as a Justice - that helped transform the legal landscape for women (and men) in America.

Sep 26 2016

56mins

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Rank #2: Sonia Sotomayor: Power of Words

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Justice Sonia Sotomayor tells the extraordinary story of her voyage from the most dangerous neighborhood in the United States, to the highest court in the land -- a voyage fueled by the power of words. In a wide-ranging conversation with NPR's Nina Totenberg, recorded at the Supreme Court in 2016, Sotomayor shares her earliest memories of life in the tenements of the South Bronx: her diagnosis with diabetes, her trips to the market with her beloved grandmother, her father's death, and her love affair with books. She also talks about how she learned to learn, and to rely on the wisdom of friends and colleagues -- skills that carried her through Princeton, Yale, her prestigious legal career, and one beautiful throw from the pitcher's mound.

Music in this episode by Kara Square, Brightside Studio & BenSound.com.

Mar 27 2017

53mins

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Rank #3: Oprah Winfrey: The Queen of Talk… and Determination

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“Fourth grade is when I first began to believe in myself… I felt I could control the world.”
On this episode of “What It Takes,” Oprah Winfrey talks frankly about the inner voice that allowed her to survive a trauma-filled childhood with unwavering focus and unrelenting determination, to become the top-ranking television talk show host of all time. She describes learning oration, at an age when most of us have yet to speak in full sentences. And she tells stories about intensely personal revelations she experienced WHILE she was on the air, interviewing other people. Oprah is currently the wealthiest African-American and the most philanthropic, but in this conversation, recorded in 1991, she defines her success in ways her fans might find surprising.

Aug 31 2015

19mins

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Rank #4: Anthony M. Kennedy: Principles of Freedom

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Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the deciding vote in critical Supreme Court cases - from abortion to campaign finance to same-sex marriage - talks about his path to the judiciary. He also eloquently describes his devotion to the ideals of freedom and human dignity, and to civil discourse, in an era when it is more badly needed than ever.

Dec 18 2017

41mins

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Rank #5: George Lucas: The Force Will Be With You

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George Lucas’s only dream as a teenager was to race cars, but he went on to create the most popular films in motion picture history. Along the way, while writing and directing Star Wars, Indiana Jones and American Graffiti, he learned life-changing lessons about humility, generosity, and the inestimable value of friendship…. as well as the secret to happiness. A not-too-subtle hint here: it has nothing to do with fame and fortune.

Dec 07 2015

36mins

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Rank #6: Jimmy Carter: From Plains to the Presidency

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It’s a remarkable American story: a poor peanut farmer from the Deep South becomes a nuclear naval officer, then governor of Georgia, and finally President of the United States. And what Jimmy Carter has done for peace and human rights in the 40 years since leaving office is just as remarkable. The 39th president talks here about his early life in rural Plains, Georgia, where his deeply-held beliefs about equality and fairness took root, and he describes his unlikely rise through the political landscape at a moment when the U.S. was undergoing tumultuous change. He also speaks candidly about some of the most difficult moments in the White House, the transition to his “post-presidency,” and his assessment of what makes a great president.

Apr 22 2019

58mins

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Rank #7: Peyton Manning and Herschel Walker: Preparing to Win

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Inspiring tales and life lessons from two of the most legendary players in football history. One grew up the son of an NFL quarterback, and one the son of a farmer, but for both, the key to living out their greatest dream was simple: work, work, and more work.

Sep 09 2018

55mins

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Rank #8: Maya Angelou: Righteousness and Love

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Maya Angelou took the harshest experiences in her life and turned them into words of triumph, justice and hope. Her memoirs and her poems told of her survival, and uplifted people around the world. Her first book, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," is a classic of American literature. Her voice and the rhythm of her speech were absolutely unique. In this episode you'll hear that iconic voice, in interviews, speeches and conversations, and be reminded why she was one of the most inspiring figures of the past century.

Dec 19 2016

34mins

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Rank #9: Jeff Bezos: Regret Minimization

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When Jeff Bezos had the idea to start an online bookstore, he was working in a secure job on Wall Street. The internet was still young, and the average person had never made a purchase online. Bezos knew the chances of his company failing were high, but he also knew that if he didn't take the risk, he'd always regret it. More than 20 years later, regrets are off the table. Amazon.com brings in 135 billion dollars in revenue, and Bezos is one of the wealthiest men in the world. Hear him tell stories about the early days, before Amazon transformed the way we shop, read, watch & listen.

Aug 14 2017

32mins

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Rank #10: Ian McEwan: Illuminating the Human Condition

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He is one of the most compelling storytellers of our time... a novelist who addresses broad societal themes while plumbing the depths of intimate human relationships. Ian McEwan, the author of "Atonement," "Amsterdam" and recently, "Machines Like Me," talks here about beautifully constructed sentences. He explains the "pleasure principle" of literature. And in describing how much research it takes to create his characters, he tells a delightful story about the time he was mistaken for a neurosurgeon. He also talks about a deep family secret - a brother he didn't know existed until he was in his 50's. McEwan reads passages from "Atonement," and from his new novel "Machines Like Me." And he talks about the need for solitude in a writer's life.

You can see the Academy of Achievement's video archives at www.achievement.org. #WhatItTakesNow

Nov 18 2019

55mins

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Rank #11: Oprah Winfrey, Part 2: A Vision for Success

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Oprah Winfrey’s career in broadcasting started when she won Nashville’s Miss Fire Prevention Contest. She was 17.

Part Two of our Oprah conversation focuses on Oprah’s life in media. It was too hard to fit everything fascinating the Queen of Talk had to say into one episode! Here, she describes the reasons she was terrible at news reporting and terrific at talk show hosting. She also talks about how she stopped imitating Barbara Walters and developed her own voice, how she willed herself into the acting role of a lifetime, and how the key to success in her life has been trusting her instincts.

Sep 07 2015

28mins

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Rank #12: Rosa Parks and Judge Frank Johnson: Standing Up for Freedom

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In the fall of 1955, Rosa Parks refused to stand for a white passenger on the bus, Martin Luther King Jr. was chosen to lead the boycott that followed, and a lawyer named Frank Johnson was appointed to be the first and only federal judge for the middle district of Alabama (also the youngest federal judge in the nation). These three people didn't know each other, and yet, their paths converged in Montgomery, at the crossroads of history. In this episode, you'll hear rare audio of Ms. Parks describing the day of her arrest, and you'll learn the lesser known story of Judge Johnson, a principled and stubborn Southerner from northern Alabama, who issued many of the court decisions decimating segregation throughout the south.

Jul 03 2017

46mins

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Rank #13: Julie Andrews: An Angel on My Shoulder

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Who doesn’t love Julie Andrews? She has delighted generations of audiences, whether singing on the London Vaudeville circuit, in the Broadway productions of My Fair Lady & Camelot, or in the Hollywood classics Mary Poppins &The Sound of Music. Younger generations also know her from The Princess Diaries, Shrek & Despicable Me. And for every decade of her remarkable 70-year career, she’s got charming, insightful stories, starting with her London debut at the age of 12 (yes we have sound of it!). She also talks about some harrowing setbacks, like the surgery that destroyed her soaring voice, and the life lessons that helped her find new ways to share her extraordinary talents with the world.

Jun 04 2018

1hr

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Rank #14: Best Of - Anthony Fauci: From Aristotle to AIDS

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If Anthony Fauci was not on your radar before the Covid-19 pandemic, he certainly is now. Dr. Fauci is a lead member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and a trusted daily presence in the news. Many now view him as America’s MD. We told the inspiring story of Dr. Fauci’s life and career on this podcast in July of 2018. Under the circumstances, it seemed time for an encore: 

This is the story of a remarkable doctor who, in 1981, became one of the first scientists to recognize that we were on the verge of a new and terrible epidemic - HIV/AIDS - and then devoted his career to understanding and finding treatments for it. Dr. Fauci has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS research ever since. Along the way, he also became the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, overseeing research into every frightening outbreak imaginable: Ebola, Plague, SARS, Zika, Anthrax, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Influenza, etc… He talks here to Nina Totenberg, for the Academy of Achievement, about growing up as the grandson of Italian immigrants, and about how an education in the classics prepared him for medical school. He recalls how he became a target of the AIDS activist movement, but turned out to be one their greatest champions. And he describes his relationship with presidents and lawmakers and the news media, throughout decades of medical crises.

Apr 13 2020

1hr

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Rank #15: Chuck Yeager: The Right Stuff

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The man who broke the sound barrier in the experimental Bell X-1, and ushered in the era of manned spacecraft, never saw a plane when he was growing up in the hills of West Virginia. But he became an ace fighter pilot in World War II, and later - an absolutely fearless test pilot, who managed to survive the most harrowing mishaps, with an unflappable calm and sense of duty.

Jan 14 2019

58mins

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Rank #16: Jimmy Page: Guitar Hero

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Jimmy Page’s plan all along was to transform rock n’ roll. And he did. The band he founded, Led Zeppelin, remains one of the most influential and popular rock bands in history. Page is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. His epic onstage solos, on hits like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir,” are legendary. And he was just as innovative as a producer. On this episode Page talks about how he fell in love with American blues music, how he learned to play the guitar, and how his days as a session musician prepared him to upend the conventions of studio recording. He also walks us through some of the Led Zeppelin songs he loves best.

Dec 04 2017

47mins

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Rank #17: Steven Spielberg and Janusz Kaminski: Images of the Imagination

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Steven Spielberg hired Janusz Kaminski as the cinematographer for "Schindler's List” twenty-five years ago, and they have worked together, hand-in-glove, ever since. Their collaboration has produced "Saving Private Ryan," "Bridge of Spies," "Lincoln," and many others. In this episode, both filmmakers tell how they fell in love with the movies, and learned to make them. Spielberg talks about his first camera and trusting his instincts, and Kaminski talks about how growing up in 1970's Poland gave him an unusual eye on the world.

Jun 06 2016

49mins

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Rank #18: Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush: The Freedom to Lead

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In the midst of this political season… here’s a chance to hear two former U.S. Presidents hold forth on their lives in public service. Bill Clinton spoke to hundreds of graduate students from 50 nations at the 44th annual International Achievement Summit in Chicago. George H.W. Bush did the same, 9 years earlier at the Academy of Achievement's program in 1995 at Colonial Williamsburg. In this episode we present those inspiring and entertaining talks, unedited and unfettered.

Aug 15 2016

46mins

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Rank #19: Andrew Weil: The Healing Power of Nature

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Dr. Weil has been on a decades-long campaign to convince the medical establishment that the mind-body connection is real, and that many alternative forms of healing should be combined with conventional medicine... especially in treating diabetes, depression, and many other epidemic "lifestyle" diseases. He describes here how he developed his ideas, on a path that included Harvard Medical School and a career as an ethnobotanist, studying psychotropic drugs and traditional healing in the Amazon. He also talks about establishing the Center for Integrative Medicine, the first of its kind (there are now similar programs at the most prestigious government and academic medical institutions in the country). And he revels in seeing his approach to healing finally gain traction, after years of being dismissed as a radical by the mainstream medical world.

May 21 2018

50mins

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Rank #20: Sally Field: Embracing Fear

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Sally Field is one of the best actresses in America... on film, on television and on stage. She's won Emmy Awards and Academy Awards, and has had starring roles on Broadway. But early in her career, she was boxed in by her own success on tv, playing flighty girls like Gidget and The Flying Nun, and she couldn't find a way out. But Sally Field would not accept that destiny. She trained with the best acting teacher, Lee Strasberg, and transformed herself. It took a while for Hollywood to catch up with her, but eventually got the kind of roles and recognition she deserved -- for films like "Norma Rae," "Places in the Heart," "Steel Magnolias," "Forrest Gump" and many others. In this episode you'll get to know just how funny and charming and profound Sally Field is, as she talks candidly about her process of reinvention, and her discovery that fear is an essential path to change.

Mar 13 2017

48mins

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Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez): I’m Possible

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He grew up on the tough streets of Miami in the 1980s, dealing drugs and learning how to survive.  But this first generation Cuban-American took the stage name Pitbull, and became a wildly successful rapper and music producer, who has put out dance, pop & latin hits for the past twenty years. He calls himself a hustler, and talks here about how hard work and determination have been more important to his story than talent.  And he describes the charter schools he helped start, to provide a better chance for kids low-income kids who face the same kind of challenges in life that he did.  

Jul 27 2020

57mins

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Best of - John Lewis: The Spirit of History

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In honor of Congressman John Lewis, who died of pancreatic cancer on July 17th, we are re-posting this episode. It was originally published in January, 2020.  Lewis spent his whole life trying to get our nation to live up to its own ideals. He maintained faith and optimism about the future, and was inspired by the new generation of activists for racial justice. He was the son of a sharecropper, and tells the story here of how he grew up to become a legendary leader of the Civil Rights Movement and a 17-term Congressman from the state of Georgia. He describes his political and spiritual awakenings, and recounts how he learned to live fearlessly and non-violently, despite the many beatings and arrests he endured -- at lunch counter sit-ins and during the march from Selma to Montgomery.  You'll hear archival sound from those events as well, and an excerpt of John Lewis speaking at the March on Washington when he was just 23 years old.  

Jul 19 2020

49mins

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Ron Howard: Imagine Success

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He has had one of the longest, most celebrated and careers in Hollywood history, and it's still on overdrive. As a director, Ron Howard has worked in almost every genre. His films include Solo: A Star Wars Story, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Far and Away, Splash, and Cocoon. As an actor, he made his screen debut before the age of two, and then skyrocketed to fame at five, playing Opie on the Andy Griffith Show. As a teenager, he starred in  the movie American Graffiti and the television show Happy Days, and then transitioned to directing, where he's made his mark ever since.  Ron Howard explains here how and why he made the shift. He talks about embracing criticism, and he explains why he approaches his work as a collaborator rather than a lone wolf. 



OPEN SEQUENCE


Opie wasn’t actually the beginning for Ron Howard. Before he was even two years old, he made his Hollywood debut - as a crying baby, in the 1956 movie “Frontier Woman.” And at the age of 5 – he spoke his first lines onscreen, in a film called The Journey.


The Journey


And the screen credits have rolled ever since. For 62 years, pretty much straight.

Jul 13 2020

40mins

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Best of - Maya Angelou: Righteousness and Love

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Maya Angelou took the harshest experiences in her life and turned them into words of triumph, justice and hope. Her memoirs and her poems told of her survival, and uplifted people around the world. Her first book, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," is a classic of American literature. Angelou's voice and the rhythm of her speech were absolutely unique. In this episode, which originally ran in December of 2016, you'll be reminded why she was one of the most inspiring figures of the past century, and why her voice is missed today more than ever.

Jul 06 2020

35mins

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Orhan Pamuk and Carlos Fuentes: The Art of Fiction

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Two world-renowned novelists, from different corners of the globe, talk about why they write. Orhan Pamuk, from Turkey, is the 2006 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Carlos Fuentes, who died in 2009, was one of the most celebrated Mexican authors of all time. When Pamuk was facing a prison sentence for expressing his views, Fuentes gathered a group of international literary heavyweights to intervene on his behalf.  You'll hear both authors describe how they discovered the power of literature, and how their writing relies on a combination of dreams, magic and discipline.

Jun 29 2020

57mins

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Bryan Stevenson and John Hope Franklin: Voices of Conscience

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Both of these men grew up under segregation, 50 years apart, and each became an important force for truth and for justice.  John Hope Franklin was a pre-eminent historian, whose scholarship focused on the central role of African-Americans in our national story.  He was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Bryan Stevenson is a human rights lawyer who fights on behalf of death row prisoners in the deep south. He's also the author of "Just Mercy" and is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative.  Their talks, which you'll hear in this episode, are as pressing today as the day they were given. Perhaps more so. 

Jun 15 2020

34mins

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Best of - Coretta Scott King: The Courage to Dream

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The United States seemed poised for a new day in 1963, when the March on Washington drew a quarter million people. And yet, throughout the intervening fifty-seven years, Martin Luther King Jr’s dream has remained elusive. George Floyd’s killing by police, two weeks ago, and the protests that have erupted in its wake, could not make that any clearer.  Over the next several weeks, we will feature some of the extraordinary voices from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s that are in the audio archive of the Academy of Achievement.  Today, we bring you our episode on Coretta Scott King. It originally posted in January of 2016. 

As Mrs. King says, she wasn’t just married to Martin Luther King Jr., she was married to the cause. Their partnership in life, in faith, and in the struggle for justice and human rights, changed the world. In this episode, Mrs. King describes her early aspirations in music, her courtship with Martin, and her courage in the face of violence. 

Jun 08 2020

29mins

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Stephen Jay Gould: This View of Life

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He knew from the age of five that he was going to become a paleontologist, but he also became one of the most important evolutionary theorists since Darwin. As a Harvard professor, he inspired generations of students. And as a writer, he made science understandable and exciting to the general public. Stephen Jay Gould died of cancer in 2002 at the age of 60, but during his lifetime, The Library of Congress designated him a "living legend."  In this interview, he explains his most famous contributions to evolutionary theory, he talks about how his high school choral director taught him the importance of excellence, and he makes the case against global warming, as only a paleontologist might.

Jun 01 2020

46mins

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Lt. Michael Thornton and Lt. Tommy Norris: Portraits of Valor

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In 1972, a Navy Seal named Thomas Norris carried out one of the most dangerous and daring rescue missions of the war in Vietnam. Six months later, he would be rescued himself, in an equally dramatic manner, after being shot through the head.  His rescuer was fellow Seal, Michael Thornton, who had shrapnel wounds, but swam for three hours while carrying Norris, and a South Vietnamese commando.  Both Norris and Thornton would go on to receive the Medal of Honor.  They tell their remarkable war stories here - best friends, sitting side by side.

May 18 2020

58mins

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Julie Taymor: Creativity on the Edge

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She is best known for creating "The Lion King" on Broadway, but Julie Taymor has spent her whole career pushing the bounds of creativity - in theater, in opera and in film.  She talks here about her transformation as an artist while studying puppetry in Indonesia, about her most recent movie, "The Glorias" (a biopic about feminist icon Gloria Steinem), and about the vast differences between directing movies and theater.  She broaches a subject she has rarely addressed - the very public debacle of the Broadway show: "Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark."  And she recounts a moving story that crystallizes for her - the power of art to change lives. 

May 04 2020

48mins

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Best Of - Jonas Salk: Vanquisher of Polio

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One of our very first episodes featured a rare interview with Dr. Jonas Salk, who developed the Polio vaccine at a time of tremendous panic. Today, as scientists around the world intensify efforts to come up with a vaccine for Covid-19, we thought you might find hope and inspiration in his story.  (The episode originally posted 9/21/2015.):

Before Jonas Salk developed the Polio vaccine, thousands of children died every year or were left paralyzed by the virus (adults too). In 1952 alone, there were 58,000 cases in the United States. When news of the discovery was made public on April 12, 1955, Jonas Salk was hailed as a miracle worker. He further endeared himself to the public by refusing to patent the vaccine. He had no desire to profit personally from the discovery, but merely wished to see the vaccine disseminated as widely as possible. The interview with Dr. Salk featured in this episode was recorded in 1991. In it, Salk talks about being the child of uneducated immigrants, and carving his own path to medical school and eventually virology -- a specialty that didn't exist when he began as a researcher. He discusses the anti-semitic quotas he had to overcome, as well as the doubt and scorn of many of his peers. But he also describes the transformation and relief his polio vaccine brought to the world.

Apr 27 2020

25mins

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Gertrude Elion and Baruch Blumberg: Vaccine Hunters

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Millions of lives are saved each year with the vaccines developed by these two Nobel Prize recipients.  Their discoveries were some of the  greatest medical achievements of the 20th century.    Gertrude Elion was a biochemist, who unraveled the mysteries and mechanisms of leukemia, herpes, gout, malaria & meningitis in order to create effective medications. She transformed kidney transplantation, by creating the first immune suppressant to prevent rejection by organ recipients.   And her work led to the first successful HIV/AIDS drug.  Baruch Blumberg was a physician who traveled the world studying the interplay of genetics and environment on disease response, and along way discovered the virus that was causing Hepatitis B - a leading cause of fatal kidney disease and cancer.  He then created a vaccine for it, and is believed to have prevented more cancer deaths than any other human being. 

Apr 20 2020

47mins

Play

Best Of - Anthony Fauci: From Aristotle to AIDS

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If Anthony Fauci was not on your radar before the Covid-19 pandemic, he certainly is now. Dr. Fauci is a lead member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and a trusted daily presence in the news. Many now view him as America’s MD. We told the inspiring story of Dr. Fauci’s life and career on this podcast in July of 2018. Under the circumstances, it seemed time for an encore: 

This is the story of a remarkable doctor who, in 1981, became one of the first scientists to recognize that we were on the verge of a new and terrible epidemic - HIV/AIDS - and then devoted his career to understanding and finding treatments for it. Dr. Fauci has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS research ever since. Along the way, he also became the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, overseeing research into every frightening outbreak imaginable: Ebola, Plague, SARS, Zika, Anthrax, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Influenza, etc… He talks here to Nina Totenberg, for the Academy of Achievement, about growing up as the grandson of Italian immigrants, and about how an education in the classics prepared him for medical school. He recalls how he became a target of the AIDS activist movement, but turned out to be one their greatest champions. And he describes his relationship with presidents and lawmakers and the news media, throughout decades of medical crises.

Apr 13 2020

1hr

Play

Milton Friedman: Champion of Capitalism

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He was an outspoken proponent of the free market and small government, and one of the most influential economists of all time. Milton Friedman's ideas on monetary policy, taxation, privatization and deregulation have had enormous impact on government policies in the U.S. (and around the world) for over 50 years, including the Federal Reserve’s response to the global financial crisis. He received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1976. Friedman talks here about growing up in a home with poorly-educated, immigrant parents, and about how he fell in love with math. He explains how the Depression and the New Deal opened his eyes to the importance of economics.  And he lays out his analysis of market forces and the role of government.  Thirty years after this interview was recorded, his ideas are as provocative as ever.

Apr 06 2020

54mins

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James Allison: Immune to Failure

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There’s one person who can claim to have played harmonica with Willie Nelson AND been awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine… and that's James (Jim) Allison. Dr. Allison is the scientist who unlocked the secrets of the immune system, to develop a wildly successful treatment for melanoma and several other kinds of cancer.  Immunotherapy is now considered the “fourth pillar” of cancer treatment, alongside surgery, radiation and chemo.  For years, he faced the doubts and derision of the cancer establishment. But for Dr. Allison, the race to come up with a better approach to curing cancer was deeply personal.  His mother and uncles and brother all died of cancer. And he himself has had cancer three times. He talks here about his earliest aspirations to become a biologist, growing up in a town where evolution wasn’t taught in school. He movingly describes the first time he met a patient whose life was saved by his research.  And yes, he explains how it is he came to play with Willie Nelson. 

Mar 23 2020

48mins

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Daniel Inouye and Norman Mineta: In Defense of Liberty

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The most decorated regiment in US history was the 442nd, a segregated Japanese-American unit that fought in Europe after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But while they were bravely risking their lives for their country, 120,000 of their fellow Japanese-Americans were languishing in internment camps, simply because of their ethnicity. U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye was in the first group. Representative Norman Mineta was in the second. Both have stories that are profoundly disturbing, but are also a testament to the triumph of the human spirit.

Mar 09 2020

59mins

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Buddy Guy: I’ve Got the Blues

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For 50 years, he has carried the torch for the blues. Buddy Guy learned by listening to the greats that came before him, and then he made the blues his own.  He is one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and an extraordinary showman, who inspired a generation of rock n' rollers, including Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and countless others.  He talks here about his early days picking cotton in rural Louisiana, about making his first guitar with strings pulled from a window screen, and about his abiding friendship with BB King.  As Buddy Guy says: "If you haven't had the blues, just keep living." 

Feb 24 2020

43mins

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Lynn Nottage and Suzan-Lori Parks: Drama Queens

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Two of the most daring and celebrated playwrights working today talk about their lives, their work, and why they love writing for the stage. Both Lynn Nottage and Suzan-Lori Parks have won the Pulitzer Prize for plays that portray the struggles of African-Americans and working class people, but their approaches are quite different. Nottage talks here about the extensive research that grounds her, whether she's writing about Congolese women in wartime or laid-off workers in the Rust Belt. Parks talks about freeing her imagination, and entertaining her wildest ideas as if they were guests at a dinner party.

Feb 10 2020

52mins

Play

John Lewis: The Spirit of History

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This son of a sharecropper tells the story of how he grew up to become a legendary leader of the Civil Rights Movement and a 17-term Congressman from the state of Georgia. He describes his political and spiritual awakenings, and recounts how he learned to live fearlessly and non-violently, despite the many beatings and arrests he endured -- at lunch counter sit-ins and during the march from Selma to Montgomery.  You'll hear archival sound from those events as well, and an excerpt of John Lewis speaking at the March on Washington when he was just 23 years old.  

Some of the musical excerpts in the episode, including "We Shall Overcome," are from the Charlie Haden & Hank Jones album, "Steal Away," on Verve Records.

Jan 27 2020

49mins

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Bill Gates, Sergey Brin and Larry Page: Tech Titans

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These three visionaries changed the way we live our daily lives. You'll hear remarkable archival recordings of each, when they were young successful entrepreneurs, but before history had proven the scale of their impact. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, describes how, as a teenager, he first envisioned the potential for computers to become fixtures in our homes. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google, talk about their accidental discovery of the algorithm that would allow us to search and make sense of the new world-wide web's information explosion. And they all talk about taking risks to embrace the future.

Jan 13 2020

49mins

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