Classic Influence: Timeless Lessons from the Legends

Classic Influence: Timeless Lessons from the Legends

Classic Influence explores the timeless lessons learned from the icons of influence, the legends of leadership, power, and sway. Listen in as your host—the Harvard and Columbia trained researcher, author, and speaker, Dr. Johnny Welch, M.B.A.—reveals the timeless wisdom and insights, unveils the hidden blueprints, and unlocks the key secrets of the legends and heroes of history to discover the strategies, tactics, tips and tools you can use to master the power of influence to achieve your own most daring dreams and goals.

Episodes

June 3, 2022 9 min

The American film director, producer, and screenwriter Steven Spielberg holds the distinction of being the most commercially successful director of all time. In 1963, when he was only seventeen, Steven Spielberg traveled to Hollywood to participate in a tour of Universal Studios. The bold action Spielberg took next both set him apart from the crowd and put him on an altogether different and faster success track. In this episode of ...

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Martin Luther changed the course of human history in 1517 when he nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the All Saints’ Church. But Luther’s bold move and revolutionary stand was not without grave risks, including the distinct possibility of being burned alive. But what enabled such a humble, scholarly, and deeply religious Augustinian monk and theology professor to take such a bold, irrevocable stand against the mighty Roman Catholi...

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Harriet Tubman was described by one bold abolitionist as “one of the bravest persons on this continent.” Another well-known “conductor” on the Underground Railroad said that Tubman “seemed wholly devoid of personal fear.” After years of daring missions into the lion’s den to help slaves escape, Tubman’s bold courage and skill as a tactician led her to become a spy and a military leader for the Union Army. Listen in and discover the...

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A brilliant military strategist and tactician, Alexander the Great stands as one of the greatest figures in history. Alexander was far from the typical military or political leader, however. He was a critical thinker who, like many of his leading Greek contemporaries, prized clear, rational thinking and concise, straightforward speech. Alexander did not hesitate to engage in critical reflection and self-examination, challenging bia...

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Joan of Arc’s story remains one of the most remarkable stories in the long history of military leadership. Consider this singular, striking distinction: “Since the writing of human history began, Joan of Arc is the only person, of either sex, who has ever held supreme command of the military forces of a nation at the age of seventeen” (Garlow). In the words of Winston Churchill, “Joan of Arc was a being so uplifted from the ordinar...

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After leaving for law school in London at age 18, when Mohandas K. Gandhi finally returned to India in 1915 he was 45. Despite his prolonged initial absence, the deeply spiritual Gandhi quickly rose to become one of the most influential figures in India's history. In fact, for a man who possessed little more than a loincloth and glasses to defeat what at the time was the greatest empire on Earth, without so much as throwing a s...

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On Christmas Day in 1119 A.D., countless prayers were finally answered when a French knight known as Hugh of Payns banded together with 8 other knights in a brotherhood of highly skilled religious warriors. The nine knights all took “vows of poverty, chastity and obedience” and pledged themselves to protect the Christian pilgrims who were traveling on the roads to Jerusalem. Operating as a sort of elite special forces of the Middle...

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Episode Overview: In the 12 century B.C., after the ancient city of Troy fell following the Greek’s cunning trick with the Trojan Horse, a number of Trojans escaped with a fleet of ships. After years of wandering in search of a new home, the Trojans endured a particularly treacherous episode of violent weather and rough waves in the Mediterranean, a storm which nearly destroyed their fleet. When they finally landed on the banks of ...

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On September 26, 1918, in the midst of World War I, George S. Patton’s moment of testing had arrived. Patton was leading a light tank brigade up a hill overlooking a German occupied town when he was suddenly face-to-face with his greatest fear. What happened next changed Patton’s life forever, transforming him from what he himself referred to as “an utter, craven coward,” into the great 4-Star General, “Old Blood and Guts,” widely ...

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One cold evening in January 1936, with the world in the midst of the Great Depression, Dale Carnegie addressed a sold-out, standing-room-only crowd at the luxurious Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. Despite the global economic crisis, Carnegie, in a series of full-page newspaper ads, had promised the attendees that they could increase their incomes, and he was about to deliver on that promise. But how exactly did Carnegie come t...

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On December 17, 1903, a pair of self-taught, visionary American engineers achieved their dream, forever made the world a smaller place, and helped usher in the age of globalization. It was the first successful piloted, powered airplane flight in history, and with it the Wright brothers revolutionized the world. Competing against the greatest minds in science and technology at the time, the Wright brothers were far from the most lik...

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Abraham Lincoln was born to poor Kentucky farmers in 1809. Raised in a one-room, dirt-floor log cabin on the American frontier, Lincoln’s early life was filled with long hours of manual labor, and many years of trial and tribulation, setback and struggle. But Abraham Lincoln, fiercely ambitious, was determined to rise up from his humble origins, and make his mark on the world. “The way for a man to rise,” he said, “is to improve hi...

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In the 1950s, still at the start of his acting career, and frustrated by the lack of work, Don Rickles began hustling gigs as a standup comedian in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. Finding that his audiences were also failing to respond to his prepared material as a comic, Rickles started to boldly lash out. In fact, he began insulting people in his audience, particularly the hecklers. With this, Rickles finally began to see his a...

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In 1553, Mary Tudor’s dying brother, King Edward VI of England, was plotting behind the scenes to remove his half-sister from the line of succession. In the midst of the English Reformation, and the wider European Protestant Reformation, the Protestant King Edward was eager to keep Mary, a loyal Catholic, from reversing his and his father Henry VIII’s precious Protestant reforms. But Mary Tudor was not having it. She was the daught...

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In early 1898, days after the USS Maine was sunk in Cuba’s Havana Harbor, killing some 260 American sailors and marines, Theodore Roosevelt, who was still only the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, began doing all he could to prepare America for war. This included resigning from his desk job at the Navy Department in Washington D.C., and forming the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, known as the “Rough Riders.” What he did next came as qu...

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A populist champion of the poor, Huey Long grew up during America’s Gilded Age, and got involved in politics in the years before the Great Depression. Despite the considerable economic hardships he faced throughout his early life in Louisiana, and the ferocious political opposition he faced throughout his political career, Huey Long rose to become one of the Pelican State’s greatest political stars. Beyond his fierce ambition and q...

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In February 1815, after nearly a year of appearing to accept his fate, Napoleon Bonaparte suddenly began planning his island prison escape. Despite his exceptional leadership and unshakeable self-confidence, the idea that he might simply show up on the shore to retake France from the Bourbon monarchy was patently absurd, and probably one of the most daring adventures of his life. In this episode of Classic Influence, we’ll travel b...

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In 1940, with America on the cusp of entering World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to run for an unprecedented third term. Despite the longstanding and deep-seated tradition—going all the way back to George Washington, who voluntarily left office after just two terms—Roosevelt, a savvy political operator and masterful communicator, found a way to frame the decision so that it not only won the support of a majority ...

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One dark night in the winter of 1956, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was leading a mass meeting at his local church when his house was bombed. What he did next became a defining moment in his life, and in the fight for civil rights. Borne out of King’s habit of taking time get outside of the arena, it was not the action that anyone expected, but it was just the right move for the moment and the movement as a whole. In this episode of ...

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One of history's greatest sagas of survival, the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew's quest to cross the South Pole is a gripping reminder of the power of optimism, endurance, and hope. Where the expeditions of scores of other daring explorers ended in drunkenness, despair, and death, Shackleton's leadership, his command of the psychology of his crew, and his capacity to project a cool and collected optimism in...

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