Question: When did you first understand your life's purpose?
Jim Woolsey: My mother always wanted me to go to law school and to come back and practice law at my father’s firm. And being an only child and somewhat independent, of course that was the last thing I was going to do. I was always very interested in history. Still I am. I spent most of my years of junior high school, high school, and college thinking I was going to be a professor of history, mainly modern Europe focusing on Germany. I learned to speak German when I was a freshman at Stanford and was passably good at it, not great. Studied at Stanford’s branch campus in Germany. Worked in a German refugee camp – a Red Cross refugee camp in West Berlin in the summer of 1960 when I was 18. That was a year before the wall went up, so we were helping refugees who were trying to get across before something happened. We didn’t know what it was going to be, but it was going to be something. And I finally decided about halfway through my first year at Oxford that I really wasn’t the sort of person who was going to be happy spending most of my life in a library writing books. I might want to write one sometime, but I haven’t yet. So I almost, by default, turned back to law. I went to Yale Law School, loved it, did reasonably well and was headed for full time law practice – probably with a very fine Los Angeles firm where I’d interned during the summer, … & Meyers – when I had to go on active duty because I held an ROTC commission. I was assigned to the Pentagon working on intelligence matters, and I’d been there about six months.
Recorded on: 7/2/07
Woolsey talks about how he planned to be a professor of history, but then his life took a different turn.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.