Burn the Boats

When Failure is Not an Option

Host, Ken Harbaugh, interviews political leaders, influencers, and other history makers about the choices we confront when failure is not an option. Choices like Alexander the Great made when he landed his troops on the shores of Persia and ordered his men to burn their boats.

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Ryan Manion: Harnessing Grief to Do Good

“It didn't feel right for me to be diagnosed with PTSD. What did I experience that was worthy of me getting a diagnosis like that? These men and women are over there dealing with incredibly complex issues. I'm just over here sitting in my middle class suburban house and I'm told my brother’s been killed. But like, it didn't feel right.” - Ryan Manion

Ryan Manion talks about losing her brother to war, about her own PTSD diagnosis, and about harnessing her brother’s memory to do good.

Ryan Manion is the president of the Travis Manion Foundation, an organization that aims to empower veterans and the families of fallen heroes to “develop character in future generations”. Learn more about TMF at travismanion.org. You can find Ryan on Twitter at @rmanion and follow the Travis Manion Foundation at @TMFoundation.

Recent Episodes

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Voting Rights Special with Demos and the ACLU

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:10
Naila Awan from Demos and Ben Guess from the ACLU of Ohio talk about the importance of full voting rights for all and the work they are each doing to achieve that.
Listen to Voting Rights Special with Demos and the ACLU

Shannon Watts and Casey Weinstein: The Dangers of Fighting for Gun Safety

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:9
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, and Casey Weinstein, state representative for Ohio’s District 37, talk about gun safety and the intimidation they have received for standing up for what they believe.
Listen to Shannon Watts and Casey Weinstein: The Dangers of Fighting for Gun Safety

Paul Rieckhoff: The Power of Righteous Anger

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:8
Paul Rieckhoff, host of the Angry Americans podcast, talks about being an independent in today’s political climate, about the role of veterans in our country, and about anger as a political force.
Listen to Paul Rieckhoff: The Power of Righteous Anger

Bill Kristol: The Crisis within the Republican Party

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:7
Bill Kristol, founder of The Weekly Standard and chief of staff to the Vice President under George H. W. Bush, talks about the current state of the Republican party, how it got there, and his bipartisan push for political decency.
Listen to Bill Kristol: The Crisis within the Republican Party

More about the name of the show...

In 334 BC, Alexander the Great led Greek troops across the Dardanelles Straits and into Asia Minor, landing on the shores of Persia. He hoped to finally vanquish his greatest enemy, Darius III - the King of Persia. But Alexander was badly outnumbered. The Persian army assembled to attack and Alexander’s troops began to speak openly of retreat. So he gave an order: "Burn the Boats." He told his men, “we either return home in Persian ships, or we die here.” There would be no turning back.

By burning his boats, Alexander hoped to galvanize and motivate his troops. They needed to fully commit to defeating Darius and the Persians. There was no other way - failure was not an option.

This podcast explores decisions our guests made when they fully committed to something because failure was not an option.

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The Team

Ken Harbaugh

The Host
A former US Navy Pilot & past president of Team Rubicon Global; served as a commentator for NPR; a host on Crooked Media; & a contributor to The NY Times & The Atlantic.

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