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Classic Influence explores the timeless lessons learned from the icons of influence, the legends of leadership, power, persuasion 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 achi ...
 
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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, …
 
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 “a…
 
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 inco…
 
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 …
 
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, an…
 
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 h…
 
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 VII…
 
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…
 
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 …
 
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 mos…
 
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,…
 
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 wa…
 
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 …
 
In 1970, Arnold Schwarzenegger won both the Mr. Universe and the Mr. Olympia contest making him the greatest bodybuilder in the world. At just 23 years old, he was also the youngest Mr. Olympia ever. Of course he won the genetic lottery, only a fool would deny that. But that was only enough to get him into the game. What set Arnold Schwarzenegger a…
 
Writer and explorer, fighter and reformer, scholar, historian, statesman, and sage; Theodore Roosevelt disdained idleness. “In this life, we get nothing save by effort,” said the Panama-Canal-Building, Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning President. “I never won anything without hard labor and…working long in advance.” In fact, the “highest form of success,” …
 
According to legend, Ragnar Lothbrok was the most famous Viking of his age, and he remains one of the greatest heroes of Viking history. But did a Viking leader named Ragnar Lothbrok actually exist? In this episode of Classic Influence, we’ll explore the power of this everlasting legend, and why the Vikings told and retold his story over and over a…
 
Nero stands out as one of the most monstrous, and universally hated emperors in the long history of the Roman empire. And, yet, the reign of the once popular emperor began in relative peace. What allowed for such a dramatic transformation? Were there any early signs of what barbaric slaughtering was to come? In this episode of the Classic Influence…
 
Swamped with political ambition and romantic intrigue, the saga of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Cleopatra VII, has captivated historians and storytellers throughout history, from Plutarch in ancient Greece, and Shakespeare in early 17th century England, to screenwriters in Hollywood to this day. Cleopatra remains one of the most famous female rule…
 
John F. Kennedy is widely regarded as one of America’s most popular presidents. On matters of leadership, communication ability, and social intelligence, political scientists and historians continue to rank Kennedy as one of the greats. In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast we explore how President Kennedy responded to his biggest blunde…
 
Revealing the surprising power of mental maps, this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast takes you on a journey to the diamond mines of Golconda, and extracts the lessons we can learn from the tragic loss of the Persian farmer depicted in Civil War captain Russell Conwell's most famous essay, "Acres of Diamonds." Drawing on Henry David Thoreau'…
 
Blackbeard remains the most famous pirate in the entire Golden Age of Piracy, and for good reason. In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we'll examine the key characteristics that set Blackbeard apart from the pack, and how this cunning pirate captain used the power of a fearsome image to achieve his aim. We'll also briefly explore the …
 
Surveying the disciplined strategy, transforming leadership, and dogged determination of General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War, this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast reveals three key lessons we can learn from Washington’s effective prosecution of the war in the years leading up to the alliance with France. Looking…
 
Examining the extraordinary experience and soaring example of President Abraham Lincoln, this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast explores one of the vital, indispensable prerequisites of success. Unmasking the secret behind the greatness of legendary leaders like Lincoln, this episode also reveals how people are so often duped into giving the…
 
Drawing on the experience and beliefs of Napoleon Bonaparte and his “lucky star,” this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast examines the extraordinary power that becomes yours through simple self-belief. Grounded in the success literature and the academic literature in positive psychology, you will also learn strategies and tactics you can adap…
 
Exploring the roots of Cornelius Vanderbilt’s early success as a budding titan in the transportation industry, this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast is designed to enhance your understanding, and deepen your appreciation for the importance of self-reliance to your success. Drawing on the wisdom of some of the early self-help thinkers, this …
 
Drawing on one of the transforming incidents in the early days of P.T. Barnum’s life as a showman and promoter, in this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast you’ll discover the indispensable role of risk in seizing ambitious opportunities, overcoming limits, and conquering unfamiliar terrain, and how bold, calculated risk-taking is often what s…
 
Continuing with the life story of Cesare Borgia, this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast explores Cesare’s approach to dealing with the Borgia family’s nemesis, Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere (who later became Pope Julius II), as an illustration of the dangers of failing to think strategically. In this episode, you’ll discover the power of ma…
 
Exploring the remarkable power of your time horizon, this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast reveals the surprising benefits of aligning with and orienting to the long view. Drawing on the life story of Cesare Borgia and his father, Pope Alexander VI, as well as the research of former Harvard professor of political science Edward Banfield, yo…
 
In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we examine the role and importance of ambition to your success, and how misguided social norms can unintentionally sabotage your best efforts. Looking to the example of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and drawing on the wisdom of Martin Luther King Jr., this episode also serves as a sort of call to arms for …
 
In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we reveal some of the key lessons we can learn from Huey Long’s 1928 campaign for governor of Louisiana, including the importance of transcending rules, boundaries, and cultural norms in order to get attention, gain power, and meet the needs of your tribe, or your own individual purpose and goals. W…
 
In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we examine a revealing experience of Theodore Roosevelt in the Dakota Badlands. We’ll also explore a few lessons we can learn from his experience as well as a few of the tactics he used for overcoming his fear. We also look briefly at Eleanor Roosevelt’s experience during the women’s rights movement…
 
In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we look at the strategy Walter Chrysler used to crack into the automobile manufacturing business. We explore a few lessons we can learn from Chrysler, as well as a couple of short anecdotes from other historical legends, including General Stonewall Jackson and theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. …
 
In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we explore the story of Scottish buccaneer and navigator Alexander Selkirk—the inspiration behind the legend of Robinson Crusoe—and the wisdom and insights we can gain from his experience as a castaway on an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile. We explore the significance of self-reliance and …
 
In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we explore the success philosophy of the legendary seducer Giacomo Casanova. We also touch on some of the overlapping ideas from thinkers as diverse as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Andrew Carnegie. If you like this show, I encourage you to check out my new book, Mastering the Power of Grit. Following the…
 
In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we’ll look at the development of the H-4 Hercules (Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose), around the time of World War II, and the lessons we can learn from Howard Hughes' experience, including the importance of commitment, risk, hard work, follow through and conviction. We’ll also discuss one of the secrets…
 
In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we’ll explore the vision of Walt Disney, the role that a great dream or grand aspiration plays in ensuring your success, and how you can cultivate your dream until it becomes your own fantastic obsession. If you like this show, I encourage you to check out my new book, Mastering the Power of Grit. F…
 
In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we look at John F. Kennedy’s decision to run for President, the pushback he faced from within his own party, and the lessons we can learn from his response, including the critical importance of being the master of your own fate. If you like this show, I encourage you to check out my new book, Master…
 
In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we’ll explore the role and importance of initiative and the ownership mindset in your success. Drawing on the experience of Captain Andrew Rowan and President McKinley’s famous “message to Garcia” during Cuba’s war of independence from Spain, as well as the reception of Elbert Hubbard’s essay, “A Me…
 
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