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.
John Mather, Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess: Masters of the Universe
Much of what we know about the universe, we've learned in the past 25 years. These three astrophysicists, all Nobel laureates, were key to unlocking some of its greatest mysteries, including that the universe is expanding at an ever-faster rate. (For decades, scientists were certain it was slowing down.) Now they are poised to help us learn a whole lot more... starting this year, with the launch of the James Webb telescope. John Mather, Adam Reiss and Saul Perlmutter talk here about what drew them to study the cosmos, and explain in ways we can all understand, what the universe has to teach us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."