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What It Takes

Academy of Achievement

173
Followers
1.5K
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What It Takes

What It Takes

Academy of Achievement

173
Followers
1.5K
Plays
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About Us

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.

Latest Episodes

David McCullough, Stephen Ambrose and David Herbert Donald: Time Travelers

The best-known biographies of Presidents Lincoln, Adams, Eisenhower, Truman, Nixon were written by the three great historians featured here. They talk about their subjects as if they had gone back in time and arrived back, breathless, with stories to share about the people they met. Each one explains the how he discovered that history would be his life's work. For David Herbert Donald and Stephen Ambrose, the spark came from a college professor. For David McCullough, it was the desire to learn about an episode in American history he could find no book about. It's great listening, as we head into the homestretch of what's predicted to be an historic U.S. presidential election!

52 min5 d ago
Comments
David McCullough, Stephen Ambrose and David Herbert Donald: Time Travelers

Best of - Louise Glück: Revenge Against Circumstance

Louise Glück, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Literature, uses simple, unsentimental language in her poems to evoke overwhelming emotions. That rare combination is what has distinguished her as one of America's greatest living poets for over half a century. In addition to the Nobel Prize, she has also been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and is former Poet Laureate of the United States. In this episode, Glück (pronounced glick) digs into the torment and uncertainty that has hounded her throughout her writing life. She talks about how teaching poetry, which she feared would diminish her art, instead allowed it to flourish. And she describes her obsessive desire to hear music in her ears, and language in her head. This episode originally aired in July, 2017.

43 min2 w ago
Comments
Best of - Louise Glück: Revenge Against Circumstance

Sandra Day O’Connor, Erma Bombeck and Hilary Swank: The Power Within

What do the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, a comedic newspaper columnist and an Academy Award-winning actress have in common? On the face of it, not much. But these three trailblazing women, all from humble backgrounds, reflect here on the grit and determination that led them to create their own destinies, defying any rational probability of success. And each one talks about how her personal journey was shaped by generational experiences and constraints.

38 min3 w ago
Comments
Sandra Day O’Connor, Erma Bombeck and Hilary Swank: The Power Within

Best of - Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Justice For All

In tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has died at the age of 87, we are re-posting this episode. It originally aired in September of 2016. Justice Ginsburg tells the very personal story here 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 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 for all of America.

57 minSEP 19
Comments
Best of - Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Justice For All

Cal Ripken Jr.: The Iron Man

Show up. Be there for your team. Play your best. These are the values that Cal Ripken Jr. embodied - every single day of his career. His commitment to baseball was beyond compare. Ripken holds the record for the most consecutive games played in professional baseball: 2,632. He famously surpassed Lou Gehrig's long-standing record of 2130 games, 25 years ago this month, and then he just kept on going. Ripken reminisces here about his proud life as a Baltimore Oriole, and he talks about the important lessons he learned that we can all apply to our own lives, on or off the field.

46 minSEP 14
Comments
Cal Ripken Jr.: The Iron Man

Joyce Carol Oates and Gore Vidal: Words Become Me

This is a story about two of the greatest and most prolific writers in post-WWII America, who grew up in dramatically different circumstances. Joyce Carol Oates was a hardworking farm girl from a small rural town. Gore Vidal was born into an elite political family. She is earnest, introspective & soft-spoken. He was supremely confident, sharp-tongued & provocative. Her novels (including Them, We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde) are often about families and their struggles. His novels (including Myra Breckinridge, Burr, Lincoln) were more commonly about historical figures. Both were recognized with a National Book Award. They talk here about their lives and their approaches to literature. The contrasts are stunning!

47 minAUG 31
Comments
Joyce Carol Oates and Gore Vidal: Words Become Me

John Hume and David Trimble: A Vision of Peace

These two remarkable men, from opposite sides of the 30-year "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, bravely reached across the divide and waged peace. They were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998. John Hume, who died in August, 2020, was a Catholic civil rights and political leader. In a poll several years ago, he was voted the greatest person in Irish history. David Trimble was the leader of the Protestant pro-British Ulster Unionist Party. They talk here about the underpinnings of the brutal fighting that tore Northern Ireland apart, and they explain how and why they were able to negotiate a peace deal and begin the healing. They offer some important lessons to the rest of the world.

49 minAUG 17
Comments
John Hume and David Trimble: A Vision of Peace

Best of - Olivia de Havilland: The Last Belle of Cinema

Olivia de Havilland, who just passed away at the age of 104, was the last of the Hollywood's leading ladies from the Golden Age. She is best known for portraying Melanie Hamilton in "Gone With The Wind" (and admit it: you liked Melanie better than Scarlett, right?), but she had starring roles in dozens of films during the 1930's, 40's and 50's. This "best of" episode, which originally posted in June of 2016, features an extensive conversation with Ms. de Havilland about the early days of the American film industry. She explains how the studio system confined her to the role of the ingenue, and how she eventually broke out of it to play some of the more complex and fascinating women on the silver screen -- including in two films that won her Academy Awards for Best Actress: "To Each His Own" and "The Heiress".

45 minAUG 10
Comments
Best of - Olivia de Havilland: The Last Belle of Cinema

Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez): I’m Possible

EHe 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.

57 minJUL 27
Comments
Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez): I’m Possible

Best of - John Lewis: The Spirit of History

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.

49 minJUL 20
Comments
Best of - John Lewis: The Spirit of History

Latest Episodes

David McCullough, Stephen Ambrose and David Herbert Donald: Time Travelers

The best-known biographies of Presidents Lincoln, Adams, Eisenhower, Truman, Nixon were written by the three great historians featured here. They talk about their subjects as if they had gone back in time and arrived back, breathless, with stories to share about the people they met. Each one explains the how he discovered that history would be his life's work. For David Herbert Donald and Stephen Ambrose, the spark came from a college professor. For David McCullough, it was the desire to learn about an episode in American history he could find no book about. It's great listening, as we head into the homestretch of what's predicted to be an historic U.S. presidential election!

52 min5 d ago
Comments
David McCullough, Stephen Ambrose and David Herbert Donald: Time Travelers

Best of - Louise Glück: Revenge Against Circumstance

Louise Glück, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Literature, uses simple, unsentimental language in her poems to evoke overwhelming emotions. That rare combination is what has distinguished her as one of America's greatest living poets for over half a century. In addition to the Nobel Prize, she has also been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and is former Poet Laureate of the United States. In this episode, Glück (pronounced glick) digs into the torment and uncertainty that has hounded her throughout her writing life. She talks about how teaching poetry, which she feared would diminish her art, instead allowed it to flourish. And she describes her obsessive desire to hear music in her ears, and language in her head. This episode originally aired in July, 2017.

43 min2 w ago
Comments
Best of - Louise Glück: Revenge Against Circumstance

Sandra Day O’Connor, Erma Bombeck and Hilary Swank: The Power Within

What do the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, a comedic newspaper columnist and an Academy Award-winning actress have in common? On the face of it, not much. But these three trailblazing women, all from humble backgrounds, reflect here on the grit and determination that led them to create their own destinies, defying any rational probability of success. And each one talks about how her personal journey was shaped by generational experiences and constraints.

38 min3 w ago
Comments
Sandra Day O’Connor, Erma Bombeck and Hilary Swank: The Power Within

Best of - Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Justice For All

In tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has died at the age of 87, we are re-posting this episode. It originally aired in September of 2016. Justice Ginsburg tells the very personal story here 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 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 for all of America.

57 minSEP 19
Comments
Best of - Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Justice For All

Cal Ripken Jr.: The Iron Man

Show up. Be there for your team. Play your best. These are the values that Cal Ripken Jr. embodied - every single day of his career. His commitment to baseball was beyond compare. Ripken holds the record for the most consecutive games played in professional baseball: 2,632. He famously surpassed Lou Gehrig's long-standing record of 2130 games, 25 years ago this month, and then he just kept on going. Ripken reminisces here about his proud life as a Baltimore Oriole, and he talks about the important lessons he learned that we can all apply to our own lives, on or off the field.

46 minSEP 14
Comments
Cal Ripken Jr.: The Iron Man

Joyce Carol Oates and Gore Vidal: Words Become Me

This is a story about two of the greatest and most prolific writers in post-WWII America, who grew up in dramatically different circumstances. Joyce Carol Oates was a hardworking farm girl from a small rural town. Gore Vidal was born into an elite political family. She is earnest, introspective & soft-spoken. He was supremely confident, sharp-tongued & provocative. Her novels (including Them, We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde) are often about families and their struggles. His novels (including Myra Breckinridge, Burr, Lincoln) were more commonly about historical figures. Both were recognized with a National Book Award. They talk here about their lives and their approaches to literature. The contrasts are stunning!

47 minAUG 31
Comments
Joyce Carol Oates and Gore Vidal: Words Become Me

John Hume and David Trimble: A Vision of Peace

These two remarkable men, from opposite sides of the 30-year "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, bravely reached across the divide and waged peace. They were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998. John Hume, who died in August, 2020, was a Catholic civil rights and political leader. In a poll several years ago, he was voted the greatest person in Irish history. David Trimble was the leader of the Protestant pro-British Ulster Unionist Party. They talk here about the underpinnings of the brutal fighting that tore Northern Ireland apart, and they explain how and why they were able to negotiate a peace deal and begin the healing. They offer some important lessons to the rest of the world.

49 minAUG 17
Comments
John Hume and David Trimble: A Vision of Peace

Best of - Olivia de Havilland: The Last Belle of Cinema

Olivia de Havilland, who just passed away at the age of 104, was the last of the Hollywood's leading ladies from the Golden Age. She is best known for portraying Melanie Hamilton in "Gone With The Wind" (and admit it: you liked Melanie better than Scarlett, right?), but she had starring roles in dozens of films during the 1930's, 40's and 50's. This "best of" episode, which originally posted in June of 2016, features an extensive conversation with Ms. de Havilland about the early days of the American film industry. She explains how the studio system confined her to the role of the ingenue, and how she eventually broke out of it to play some of the more complex and fascinating women on the silver screen -- including in two films that won her Academy Awards for Best Actress: "To Each His Own" and "The Heiress".

45 minAUG 10
Comments
Best of - Olivia de Havilland: The Last Belle of Cinema

Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez): I’m Possible

EHe 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.

57 minJUL 27
Comments
Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez): I’m Possible

Best of - John Lewis: The Spirit of History

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.

49 minJUL 20
Comments
Best of - John Lewis: The Spirit of History
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