177 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 • 842 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.

    Best of - General Colin Powell: My American Journey

    Best of - General Colin Powell: My American Journey

    Colin Powell, who died on October 18, 2021, wore many hats during his distinguished career in public service, among them: Secretary of State, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and National Security Advisor. And he was the first African-American to hold each of those positions. When he joined the Army in the 1950's, though, his only ambition was to be a good soldier. It was beyond the realm of possibility for the son of working class Jamaican immigrants to aspire much higher. In this episode, which originally posted in September of 2017, you'll hear Powell's stories about his journey from the South Bronx, to the jungles of Vietnam, to the Jim Crow South, to the highest reaches of government, and about the decades of American history he helped shape.

    • 58 min
    Best of - Johnny Cash: True To His Own Voice

    Best of - Johnny Cash: True To His Own Voice

    He had a voice that could make a mountain quake. And his impact on the world of music is legendary. As fans prepare to celebrate the arrival of a new Johnny Cash album -- recorded live in 1968 but never released -- we take a second listen to the very first episode of What It Takes. You'll hear the deeply introspective Cash near the end of his career (1993). He reflects on how he overcame considerable personal obstacles and turned his failures into the stepping stones to success. He also talks about the first music he remembers, the voice teacher who advised him to stop taking lessons, and the source of his creativity.

    • 21 min
    Denton Cooley, Willem Kolff and William DeVries: King of Hearts

    Denton Cooley, Willem Kolff and William DeVries: King of Hearts

    The 1960's, 70's and 80's brought about a revolution in the treatment of heart and kidney disease. Dialysis, organ transplants, coronary bypass, open heart surgery and many other procedures that we think of as almost routine today - were created during those decades. Meet three of the important innovators who, between them, have saved millions of lives. Denton Cooley performed the first human-to-human heart transplant, Willem Kolff invented dialysis and is considered the father of artificial organs, and William DeVries was the first surgeon to implant a permanent artificial heart in a dying patient. They tell the stories here of what led them to the forefront of their field, and describe the rewards of a career spent saving lives.

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Best of - George Lucas: The Force Will Be With You

    Best of - George Lucas: The Force Will Be With You

    George Lucas’s only dream as a teenager was to race cars, but he went on to create the most popular films in motion picture history. Along the way, while writing and directing Star Wars, Indiana Jones and American Graffiti, he learned life-changing lessons about humility, generosity, and the inestimable value of friendship…. as well as the secret to happiness. A not-too-subtle hint here: it has nothing to do with fame and fortune. *This episode was originally published in 2015.

    • 39 min
    Christiane Amanpour: Life on the Front Line

    Christiane Amanpour: Life on the Front Line

    She is one of the most recognized, respected and admired journalists in the world. Christiane Amanpour has covered just about every war and conflict of the past four decades and she has never shied from danger. She talks here about the forces that shaped her: an unusual childhood in Iran, and the revolution that upended her family's life. She describes the hard work and luck that landed her a job at CNN, when it was still a fledgling network, and the circumstances that led to her becoming a foreign correspondent, at a time when there were still huge barriers for women in television news. She tells stories of some of the most important and horrifying world events that she witnessed up close. And she explains why her mantra in journalism is "truthful, not neutral."

    • 54 min
    Hamid Karzai: Chaos Rules

    Hamid Karzai: Chaos Rules

    Two decades ago, he rode into Afghanistan on a motorcycle with just three compatriots, hoping to overthrow the brutal Taliban regime. Against all odds, Hamid Karzai succeeded, and became president of his country for the next 14 years. Just before he was formally chosen as president, he made an appearance at the Academy of Achievement's International Summit, and told the miraculous tale you'll hear here. Karzai was filled with hope and optimism for Afghanistan that day, and spoke of his vision for the country's future. Those dreams, of course, were shattered this past week, as the Taliban retook the country, and thousands flooded The Hamid Karzai International Airport, desperate to flee.

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
842 Ratings

842 Ratings

JefffromSedona ,

My Favorite

Easily my favorite podcast with excellent narration and production. But the most important element is the quality of the subjects. By way of example, the interviews with Quincy Jones and Buddy Guy highlighted a determined anger to their experience of racial discrimination and not a trace of victimhood. Similarly the Sal Kahn interview offered the kind of insights not present in podcasts that are merely entertaining.

Balladman1 ,

Liberals lie

Liberals sold out to the left are no longer liberals, they are liars who deceive themselves. Propagandists of the institutional and systemic rot that controls our corrupted unelected three letter agencies

Zizzabet ,

Best Podcast

This is the podcast I go to when I want to escape thinking about the current news, the political frights, the pandemic, thoughts of the homeless, the plight of immigrants, the scariest parts of life. This podcast does go to those places in the stories of the great artists covered in each of these pieces. The difference is I know I’ll find intrigue and inspiration instead of fear and frustration.

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