217 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

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 916 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.

    Jeff Koons: Contemporary Art Phenomenon

    Jeff Koons: Contemporary Art Phenomenon

    Jeff Koons is one of the most successful artists of our time. For 40+ years, his iconic works have brought a sense of playfulness to museums worldwide, and sometimes a bit of controversy as well. His iconic pop art sculptures include a giant pink rabbit that looks so remarkably like a shiny mylar inflatable, it's hard to believe it is made of metal. His balloon dog, the type you'd see at a child's birthday party, likewise demands a second look. In this recent interview, Koons describes his lifelong love of gazing balls, like the ones he saw growing up in York, Pennsylvania, and how he came to incorporate them (and other reflective surfaces) into his art. He talks about his days as a young, aspiring artist, and his unlikely meeting with Salvador Dalí. And he talks about what's next, as he prepares to launch his latest pieces into space.

    • 44 min
    Best of (Nobel Prize Edition) - Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman: The Vaccine Revolution

    Best of (Nobel Prize Edition) - Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman: The Vaccine Revolution

    The COVID-19 vaccine came out at warp speed because of the work of these two scientists. This week, they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In celebration, we are re-posting our episode about Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman. For many, many years they investigated the secrets of messenger RNA (mRNA). And when the pandemic began, their research was ready and waiting. On this episode you’ll hear Katalin Karikó talk about her humble beginnings in Hungary, and the forces that enabled her to persevere, even though for decades people thought her ideas about mRNA were laughable. She was denied grants, lost jobs and wasn’t taken seriously, but she never wavered. Fortunately, she met Drew Weissman one day at a copy machine, where they both worked at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Weissman was an immunologist, working on a vaccine for HIV. He was interested in Karikó’s work and they began to collaborate. Even when they made major discoveries, they could not get support for their work… until the Corona Virus appeared. Now the scientific world sees the potential that Karikó and Weissman saw all along: that mRNA may open the door to many other vaccines and to therapeutic treatment for a host of illnesses, from Cancer to Sickle Cell Anemia to Heart Disease.
    (c ) American Academy of Achievement 2023

    • 57 min
    Best Of - Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind

    Best Of - Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind

    Gordon Lightfoot has died, at the age of 84. He spoke with the Academy of Achievement last year, and we featured that interview in an episode. To honor the legendary singer and songwriter, we are re-posting the episode today.

    Gordon Lightfoot had a slew of international hits in the 1960's and 70's, including "If You Could Read My Mind," "Sundown" and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." His songs were also performed by some of the biggest stars of that time, including Jerry Lee Lewis, The Grateful Dead, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Barbra Streisand. Lightfoot was still writing and performing into his 80's. In this interview you will find him as charming a raconteur as you might expect, given the nature of the songs he writes. He talks about his childhood in a small town in Ontario, and about his path to the top of the music industry. He describes the quirks of his songwriting process, and explains why he changed the words of "Edmund Fitzgerald" after he recorded it.

    (c ) American Academy of Achievement 2022-2023

    • 42 min
    T.J. Stiles and David Blight: The Epic Life

    T.J. Stiles and David Blight: The Epic Life

    These two Pulitzer Prize-winning biographers have spent their careers delving into the lives of Americans who changed the course of U.S. history. T.J. Stiles and David Blight talk here about how historical biography can bring us closer to an understanding of the times we live in. They discuss why Jesse James, General George Custer, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Frederick Douglass are relevant still. And they let us in on some surprising aspects of their own lives!

    © American Academy of Achievement 2023

    • 59 min
    Best of - Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding: Jazz Invention

    Best of - Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding: Jazz Invention

    Wayne Shorter was a legendary saxophonist and composer whose career began in the 1950's and spanned the development of modern jazz. Mr. Shorter died this week, at the age of 89. To honor his life and music, we are bringing back this episode, which originally aired in 2017. It features Wayne Shorter and a jazz artist 50 years his junior: Esperanza Spalding. Ms. Spalding is a bass player, composer, lyricist and singer - and one of the most exciting artists in contemporary jazz. Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding may have come of age during different jazz eras and in different parts of the country, but they became friends and artistic soulmates, who shared many of the same views about making music and the creative process.

    (c ) American Academy of Achievement 2017-2023

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Best Of - Neil Sheehan and David Halberstam: Truth Seekers

    Best Of - Neil Sheehan and David Halberstam: Truth Seekers

    Fifty years ago today (January 27, 1973), the United States' military involvement in the Vietnam War came to an end, with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. We mark that occasion by bringing back our episode on two brave reporters, who 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."

    (c ) American Academy of Achievement 2021-2023

    • 58 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
916 Ratings

916 Ratings

MarilynbSloane ,

Love Your Podcasts!!!

You are unbelievable - love your calm soothing voice and all your wonderful interviews! Marilyn

ZeeeeOH888 ,

Come back!

I love this podcast, one of my all time favorites! Please post new episodes for this year :)

chpatito ,

talk about diversity!

always inspiring. so much to learn. essential in this time: where are you? Missing this podcast!!!

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