Ideas

History's People: Personalities & The Past, Lecture 3

In the 2015 CBC Massey Lectures,the great Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan explores some of the people - good and bad, dreamers, explorers and adventurers - who have shaped their times and ours. One historian's view of the people of the past who have intrigued, horrified or engaged her.
Max Aitken/Lord Beaverbrook.

In the 2015 CBC Massey Lectures,the great Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan explores some of the people - good and bad, dreamers, explorers and adventurers - who have shaped their times and ours. One historian's view of the people of the past who have intrigued, horrified or engaged her. **This episode originally aired November 4, 2015.


"When we try to pick out the characteristics that risk-takers share, we almost invariably find curiosity — about what lies over the horizon, for example — and the determination to find out. Sheer endurance helps too."
 

Max Aitken was a not-so-humble entrepreneur from New Brunswick who remade himself as Lord Beaverbrook and placed himself at the centre of British public life. Richard Nixon was thin-skinned and neurotic, but also an internationalist who believed that the United States needed to be engaged in the world. And Samuel de Champlain, through curiosity, and determination, opened up North America and gave us the beginnings of an idea of a new country.




Watch Margaret MacMillan on risk taking and caluclating the odds in this excerpt from the web series and TV special "The Art Leading"
Leaders have to make difficult decisions and tough calls. But it's their willingness to take risk that secures their place in history — just look at Nixon's fateful 1972 visit to Communist China. 6:30

 

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