157 episodes

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.

What It Take‪s‬ Academy of Achievement

    • Personal Journals
    • 4.4 • 28 Ratings

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.

    Audra McDonald: Trusting Your Own Power

    Audra McDonald: Trusting Your Own Power

    From the time she was nine years old, she knew she wanted to be on Broadway, but Audra McDonald has succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. She has earned six Tony Awards, more than any other actor. She stars in movies and television shows and operas. She tours as a singer, and has a recording career. She may be the most versatile performer of her generation. But McDonald has had her struggles. She talks here about her incredible career, and about she's always carved a path forward by choosing the projects that scare her the most.

    • 45 min
    Best of - August Wilson and Lloyd Richards: The Voice of Genius

    Best of - August Wilson and Lloyd Richards: The Voice of Genius

    In the past few weeks, the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp honoring playwright August Wilson, and Netflix released a film version of Wilson's celebrated play, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." It stars Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman, in his final role. That is why we were inspired to revisit this episode, which originally posted in 2017. It tells the story of two giants of American theater: Wilson, and his longtime collaborator, director Lloyd Richards. Together they brought many award-winning plays to Broadway - not only "Ma Rainey," but also "Fences," "The Piano Lesson" and others. Wilson started out as a poet, but he turned to writing plays to bring stories of African-American life to the stage. It was Lloyd Richards who recognized his talent and helped him shape it. Richards was already an icon in the theater world, for directing "A Raisin in the Sun." In this episode you'll hear him tell the story behind that ground-breaking production, and you'll hear both these theater legends describe how they came to meet and have one of the most successful artistic collaborations in history.

    • 42 min
    Larry King: The King of Talk

    Larry King: The King of Talk

    No one could shmooze quite like Larry King. He turned it into an art, and turned himself into a legendary broadcaster. He often didn't prepare for his interviews (more than 50,000 over the course of his career), instead engaging in curious, casual conversation that got his guests telling stories. But here you get to hear his stories... hilarious stories about growing up in Brooklyn, and about his earliest days breaking into radio and television.

    • 40 min
    Best of - Hank Aaron: Field of Dreams

    Best of - Hank Aaron: Field of Dreams

    Babe Ruth's home run record held for almost four decades. But then Hank Aaron came along and smashed it. On the way to making baseball history, Aaron persevered through poverty, segregation, racism, and threats on his life. He talks here about joining the Negro Leagues, about playing through a period of transformation in America, and about helping to change the world by doing what he did best - swinging that bat. Mr. Aaron died on Friday, at the age of 86. This episode was originally posted in July of 2019. We are replaying it in his honor.

    • 46 min
    Neil Sheehan and David Halberstam: Truth Seekers

    Neil Sheehan and David Halberstam: Truth Seekers

    These two brave reporters risked their lives and their reputations during the war in Vietnam, to reveal the truth to the American people about what was happening there. Both describe here - how and when they realized the United States government was lying about the causes and the scope of the war. And both eloquently explain their views on the role of the journalist as a witness and an adversary of government. Neil Sheehan, who died earlier this month, also talks about his role in exposing the Pentagon Papers in the pages of the New York Times. And he details why he was driven to spend over 13 years writing a definitive history of the war, called "A Bright Shining Lie," which won the Pulitzer Prize. Mr. Halberstam, who won the Pulitzer during the war, went on to write one of the other most important accounts of U.S. involvement in Vietnam: "The Best and the Brightest."

    • 57 min
    Best of - Benazir Bhutto: Paying the Ultimate Price

    Best of - Benazir Bhutto: Paying the Ultimate Price

    Most Americans simply could not believe their eyes this week, when a violent mob staged an insurrection in the US Capitol. It was the kind of thing that happens in other countries - where the transfer of power isn't peaceful, and where democracy does not hold. Well that reminded us of one of our first episodes, featuring Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan. Bhutto descended from a political dynasty. Her father was ousted as prime minister, and killed in a coup - in 1977. She survived a coup attempt years later, when she became prime minister. In the end, she paid the ultimate price for her belief in democracy and human rights. Seven years after this interview, she was assassinated, as she campaigned for her third term as prime minister. We certainly don’t mean to overstate comparisons between the United States and Pakistan, or any other country. But we are re-posting this episode from 2015, as a reminder of what we have, and what we have to lose.

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
28 Ratings

28 Ratings

Sam Roberts better than ever!!!!! ,

Very insightful

Love this podcast.

Cnd girl jes ,

Love this podcast

Great to learn about so many different inspiring people.

mexicanretriever ,

One of my favourite podcasts

I’ve always been a believer that to be great, you have to first identify what defines greatness for you, then find those people, study them, and emulate them. What it Takes profiles many of the people I feel embody true greatness, and goes deep into how they achieved that level of greatness. One of my favourite listens!

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