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What It Takes

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What It Takes is a podcast featuring intimate, revealing conversations with towering figures in almost every field: music, science, sports, politics, film, technology, literature, the military and social justice. These rare interviews have been recorded over the past 25 years by The Academy of Achievement. They offer the life stories and reflections of people who have had a huge impact on the world, and insights you can apply to your own life.

What It Takes is a podcast featuring intimate, revealing conversations with towering figures in almost every field: music, science, sports, politics, film, technology, literature, the military and social justice. These rare interviews have been recorded over the past 25 years by The Academy of Achievement. They offer the life stories and reflections of people who have had a huge impact on the world, and insights you can apply to your own life.
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Location:

United States

Description:

What It Takes is a podcast featuring intimate, revealing conversations with towering figures in almost every field: music, science, sports, politics, film, technology, literature, the military and social justice. These rare interviews have been recorded over the past 25 years by The Academy of Achievement. They offer the life stories and reflections of people who have had a huge impact on the world, and insights you can apply to your own life.

Language:

English


Episodes

Lord Martin Rees: The Future of Humanity

11/5/2018
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We have Lord Martin Rees to thank for much of what we understand about black holes, quasars, and other distant objects in the night sky. He is England’s Astronomer Royal, and has spent the past fifty years looking deep into the past, to understand the origins of the universe. But for the past two decades he’s also been asking the most difficult questions about the future of humankind, a future made uncertain because of tremendous advancements in science and technology.

Duration:00:50:12

Leymah Gbowee: A Call from God

10/22/2018
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This story is a testament to the power of one person to change the world. When civil war broke out in Liberia, Leymah Gbowee was 17 years old. Over the next fourteen years it would become one of the most vicious, deadly wars in history (one tenth of the population was killed). One night Gbowee had a dream: to organize women to pray for peace. That dream led to a mass women’s movement and to some creative non-violent tactics (including a sex strike!) that helped bring an end to the war....

Duration:00:55:29

Lynsey Addario: Portraits of Love and War

10/8/2018
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This Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist has covered wars and humanitarian crises in 70 countries, including Iraq, Libya & Afghanistan. She has been kidnapped twice and she’s been badly injured on the job, but she is determined to open our eyes to the state of the world and the human condition, no matter the risk. Lynsey Addario is a lively storyteller who brings emotion and humor to every tale, whether she’s describing growing up the child of hairdressers, the harrowing details of her...

Duration:00:50:48

Norman Schwarzkopf: Duty, Honor, Country

9/24/2018
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The last time the United States had a grand military parade was in 1991, following the swift, crushing victory over Iraq in the Persian Gulf War. General Schwarzkopf was the commander of that war, and he was widely credited as the person responsible for restoring America's military might and its reputation, 20 years after the war in Vietnam. The interview featured here was conducted shortly after the Gulf victory, and it gives a glimpse into a critical American moment. Schwarzkopf also...

Duration:00:49:13

Peyton Manning and Herschel Walker: Preparing to Win

9/9/2018
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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.

Duration:00:55:42

Bernie Taupin: Lyrical Inspiration

8/27/2018
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When Elton John and Bernie Taupin met as teenagers, they were each talented and full of potential, but together, they were unstoppable. For over 50 years, with Taupin as lyricist and John as composer, they have created many of the most enduring songs in pop and rock n' roll. Taupin describes his decision to leave farm life to pursue his love of poetry and music, and he tells the story of how he and Elton John met soon after, in 1967. He also lays out the unusual and speedy process they have...

Duration:00:45:25

Khaled Hosseini, Scott Turow and Charles Krauthammer: Second Lives

8/13/2018
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If you’ve ever dreamed of reinventing yourself, take inspiration from these three writers. Each one followed a traditional career path, before turning the page to pick up pen & paper. Khaled Hosseini, once a doctor, became author of international bestseller “The Kite Runner”. Scott Turow, attorney at law, became the master of legal thrillers such as “Presumed Innocent.” And psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer became a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper and magazine columnist. Each speaks, in this...

Duration:00:30:44

Beverly and Dereck Joubert: Spirit of the Wild

7/30/2018
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The look in a lion's eye, fixated on its prey... the sound of a hyena taking down a zebra foal... the tender ministrations of an elephant. For over 40 years, the Jouberts (National Geographic Explorers) have lived in some of the most remote places in Africa, capturing on film what other humans have never seen. They are in love with each other, and with their mission: to save big cats and other wild creatures. They tell amazing stories here of their encounters with animals, their solitary...

Duration:00:52:28

Anthony Fauci: From Aristotle to AIDS

7/16/2018
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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,...

Duration:00:59:53

Jessye Norman: Living My Life in Song

7/2/2018
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This global icon of the concert stage was planning to become a doctor, but her voice was too powerful a force. Jessye Norman tells the story of falling in love with opera on the radio, and hearing Marian Anderson’s voice for the first time on a neighbor’s record player. And she describes growing up in the segregated South, with parents and teachers who encouraged her passions and her talents. Norman went on to become one of the most celebrated sopranos of all time in the world of opera and...

Duration:00:53:39

John Banville: Literary Confessions

6/18/2018
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A darkly funny conversation about writing, weather & Ireland. Banville, a Booker Prize-winning novelist and master wordsmith, explains why nothing in the world is more powerful than the sentence. He has sometimes spent weeks getting one just right. He's also a contrarian, and talks about why he loathes vacations, loves rain, and does his best to avoid other authors.

Duration:00:41:23

Julie Andrews: An Angel on My Shoulder

6/4/2018
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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...

Duration:01:00:48

Andrew Weil: The Healing Power of Nature

5/21/2018
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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...

Duration:00:50:54

Kazuo Ishiguro: Lyrical Tales of Emotion

5/7/2018
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This Nobel Prize-winning writer — the author of “Remains of the Day” and “Never Let Me Go” — started out as a singer songwriter. He talks here about falling in love with language at 13, while listening to Bob Dylan, and describes how the spare language of songwriting affected his approach to writing novels. Ishiguro also discusses other influences, including years spent working in a homeless shelter. And he beautifully expresses the intimate human connection between writer and reader. This...

Duration:00:58:56

Demis Hassabis: A.I. Mastermind

4/23/2018
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Artificial Intelligence is already changing the course of society, and it’s only in its infancy. Hear one of the most innovative and successful thinkers in the field describe the coming revolutions A.I. is bringing about in medicine and in environmental science. Demis Hassabis, a neuroscientist and former game developer, describes how his company, Deep Mind, is developing technologies that can extend the power of the human brain, in order to solve some of the biggest problems facing mankind....

Duration:00:49:03

Wallace Stegner and N. Scott Momaday: Chroniclers of the American West

4/11/2018
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These two great American writers reflect on their place in the landscape, the history and the culture of the West. One is Kiowa Indian, one is White. One was raised in Arizona and New Mexico, one in Montana and Utah. During the 1960's one was a student, the other his professor. But both writers created works reflecting a deep reverence for the West and its peoples, and both were awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Duration:00:31:44

Steve Schwarzman: King of Wall Street

3/26/2018
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Take a peek into the mind of Stephen Schwarzman, the financier who established a little financial startup called Blackstone with $400,000 in seed capital, and transformed it into one of the largest investment firms in the world, with $434 billion under management. Schwarzman explains his rise from the son of a dry-goods store owner in Philadelphia to become one of the savviest and most strategic financiers in the history of Wall Street.

Duration:00:51:38

Bartlett Sher: A Reason to Sing

3/12/2018
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Going to see live theater, Bartlett Sher believes, is a unique experience... one that’s not just entertaining, but also has the power to change your view of the world. Sher is one of the most creative, thought-provoking Broadway directors working today (he directed the 2017 Tony award-winning best play, "Oslo"). Sher talks here about how a childhood trauma steered him toward the stage, and about finding new relevance in classic, beloved musicals like “South Pacific” and “Fiddler on the...

Duration:00:46:16

Jeremy Irons: Thespian and Provocateur

2/26/2018
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The star of theater, film and television talks about how acting has allowed him the life of a vagabond and the ability to challenge the status quo. He tells the story of his childhood on a rural English island, and his first great success in the theater — as John the Baptist in the 1961 British production of the musical “Godspell". The television hit "Brideshead Revisited” and the movie "The French Lieutenant’s Woman" followed, helping to secure his reputation as one of the great actors of...

Duration:00:48:04

Dorothy Hamill and Scott Hamilton: The Price of Gold

2/12/2018
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Two of the greatest figure skaters to ever grace Olympic ice explain why winning a gold medal was not the absolute triumph you might think. For both Hamill (’76) and Hamilton (’84), skating offered relief from painful childhood circumstances; when their Olympic dreams were reached, the future seemed suddenly uncertain. Listen to these stories, both heartbreaking and victorious, and you will never watch the Olympics the same way again.

Duration:00:41:33