What leaders inspire you?

Leadership

Shahsi Tharoor: Impact me every day I wouldn’t say. I mean I’ve come across a lot of bright and talented people – some really sharp and articulate leaders. I mean Tony Blair is a great example of that. Some very statesmen-like figures. Some are like Jacques Chirac, Francois Mitterand, Indira Gandhi; but each with their own not so attractive features as well. I would say that the person I met who came closest to being almost a sort of sage-like, saint-like creature would probably be Nelson Mandela, who is an amazingly inspiring person. Because like Gandhi, whom of course died eight years before I was born, Mandela seems to be somebody who can look beyond the petty resentments and anger of which we are all capable to forgive those who tormented and persecuted him, and took away 27 years of his life and still work for reconciliation and peace and justice in the world; somebody who is not afraid to speak his mind. Even when he’s wrong, as he sometimes is, he tends to do so with a great deal of humanity, and conviction, and compassion. Kofi Annan comes close. I saw him too up close to . . . to say that . . . that I . . . I . . . I could see him completely uncritically. But I thought he had a tremendous, tremendous humanity – a man who is deeply anchored in a very profound sense of himself, and at the same time of the world around him; and who did very, very good work heading the United Nations. But after Mandela and Annan, when I look around I see smart human beings, but not particularly people who are that much more exceptional than people who I might meet in my daily life who are not famous or don’t have leadership positions in the world of politics. So I think by and large we are probably wrong to invest larger than life figures with qualities of heroism. . . of grandeur that often have more to do with the trappings of the positions they hold than with their real human worth. And I’ve certainly met a lot of political leaders and heads of state who are actually less smart and less humane, less intelligent than many of the people I deal with in my daily life.

Recorded on: 9/18/07

Indira Gandhi, Jacques Chirac, Tony Blair, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan have all made their mark on Shashi Tharoor.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Harvard: Men who can do 40 pushups have a 'significantly' lower risk of heart disease

Turns out pushups are more telling than treadmill tests when it comes to cardiovascular health.

Airman 1st Class Justin Baker completes another push-up during the First Sergeants' push-up a-thon June 28, 2011, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Participants were allowed 10 minutes to do as many push-ups as they could during the fundraiser. Airman Baker, a contract specialist assigned to the 354th Contracting Squadron, completed 278 push-ups. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Janine Thibault)
Surprising Science
  • Men who can perform 40 pushups in one minute are 96 percent less likely to have cardiovascular disease than those who do less than 10.
  • The Harvard study focused on over 1,100 firefighters with a median age of 39.
  • The exact results might not be applicable to men of other age groups or to women, researchers warn.
Keep reading Show less

Apple, Amazon, and Uber are moving in on health care. Will it help?

Big tech is making its opening moves into the health care scene, but its focus on tech-savvy millennials may miss the mark.

Apple COO Jeff Williams discusses Apple Watch Series 4 during an event on September 12, 2018, in Cupertino, California. The watch lets users take electrocardiogram readings. (Photo: NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google have been busy investing in health care companies, developing new apps, and hiring health professionals for new business ventures.
  • Their current focus appears to be on tech-savvy millennials, but the bulk of health care expenditures goes to the elderly.
  • Big tech should look to integrating its most promising health care devise, the smartphone, more thoroughly into health care.
Keep reading Show less