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What do Rachel Carson, Frederick Douglass, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ernest Shackleton, and Abraham Lincoln have in common, aside from being historical figures you’ve probably heard of? That’s the question Nancy Koehn tries to answer in her new book Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times. At a time when trustworthy leadership seems in short supply, it examines what real leadership is and how it comes about. 

Host Jason Gots has some serious questions about whether and in what forms a fragmented 21st century America is prepared to accept "leadership" at all. 

Nancy Koehn is a historian at the Harvard Business School whose research focuses on how leaders, past and present, craft lives of purpose, worth, and impact. 

Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode

Liv Boeree on lessons learned from professional poker for clear thinking 

Nancy Koehn Quote: Resilience sometimes happens just by a hair’s breadth.  Lincoln is ready to say “I’m done.” He threatens on a  couple of occasions to kill himself. And then he takes  one tiny baby step back from the edge of the chasm.  And that in itself is an act of resilience.

About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.

You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.