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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Latest Episode

Soledad O’Brien: Journalism’s ‘Tough Love’ Critic

I just think somebody has to be able to call out when the media is failing… We're not going in with a scalpel and doing brain surgery. We're just trying to bring information to people. So I say it really loving news and loving journalism and loving storytelling, but there's just a lot of crap out there.” - Soledad O’Brien

Award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien talks about the current news landscape, what success means in journalism, and her flexibility and optimism in seizing new opportunities.

Soledad is the CEO of Starfish Media Group and host of Matter of Fact, airing Sundays on the Hearst network. You can learn more about her work at soledadobrienproductions.com and follow her on Twitter at @SoledadOBrien.

Recent Episodes

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Amy McGrath: From the Marine Corps to the Campaign Trail

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:14
Amy McGrath, candidate for the US Senate seat in Kentucky, talks about the state of the Senate under her opponent Mitch McConnell, about her experiences campaigning in such a high-profile race, and about how her days as a fighter pilot informed her approach to leadership and patriotism.
Listen to Amy McGrath: From the Marine Corps to the Campaign Trail

Joe Sanberg: Seeking Financial Security for All

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:13
Joe Sanberg, progressive entrepreneur and investor in Los Angeles, talks about his work to end poverty, his personal connection to the cause, and about the role of both politics and faith in how Americans think about economics.
Listen to Joe Sanberg: Seeking Financial Security for All

Patrick Murphy: Constitutional Crisis and the US Military

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:12
The Honorable Patrick Murphy talks about the role of the military in American democracy, about his leadership in getting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repealed, and about the challenge that servicemembers face when their oaths to the Constitutional conflict with orders from the president.
Listen to Patrick Murphy: Constitutional Crisis and the US Military

Ryan Manion: Harnessing Grief to Do Good

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:11
Ryan Manion, president of the Travis Manion Foundation, talks about losing her brother to war, about her own PTSD diagnosis, and about harnessing her brother’s memory to do good.
Listen to Ryan Manion: Harnessing Grief to Do Good

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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