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

Jake Wood: A New Mission Closer to Home

| S:1 E:28

Jake Wood: A New Mission Closer to Home

One of the most underrated characteristics of a good leader is vulnerability, being willing and able to acknowledge when you're not the best at something, you're not the right person for a job that you don't know the answer or that you have a weakness... And I'm willing to surround myself with people who are better than me and I'm also not afraid to tell people when I'm struggling with something.” - Jake Wood

Jake Wood, veteran and CEO of Team Rubicon, talks about his new memoir, the value of veterans serving in disaster relief, and the power of vulnerability in leaders.

Learn more about Jake’s organization Team Rubicon and find them on Twitter at @TeamRubicon. Find Jake himself on Twitter at @JakeWoodTR. Jake’s memoir, Once A Warrior: How One Veteran Found a New Mission Closer to Home, is out now.

Recent Episodes

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Jacqueline Novogratz: Marshalling a Moral Revolution

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:27
Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen, talks about the role of markets in working towards a better world and how the kind of work she does has changed in recent years as the rising generation demands sustainability, inclusion, equity, and justice.
Listen to Jacqueline Novogratz: Marshalling a Moral Revolution

Rerun: Pete Buttigieg

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:26.2
The day after the election, hear a rerun of Ken's conversation with Pete Buttigieg from the summer - talking about patriotism, his hopes for the future of our country, and the need for America to rebuild trust.
Listen to Rerun: Pete Buttigieg

Voting Rights and the 2020 Election w/ Esosa Osa and Sylvia Albert

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:26.5
Just days before the 2020 election, Ken passes the mic to guest host Esosa Osa, Research and Policy Director for Fair Fight Action. Esosa interviews Sylvia Albert from Common Cause about voting rights and next week's election.
Listen to Voting Rights and the 2020 Election w/ Esosa Osa and Sylvia Albert

MJ Hegar: Campaign Like a Girl

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:26
MJ Hegar, Democratic candidate for Senate in Texas, talks about her campaign, what drove her to run in the first place, and the prejudiced responses she sometimes gets to the Purple Heart on her license plate.
Listen to MJ Hegar: Campaign Like a Girl

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.

Isabel Robertson

A producer, writer, & researcher based in CLE. She has worked on programs like StoryCorps, Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me, the Intercept. She serves on the ACLU-Ohio Board of Directors.

Sean Rule-Hoffman

Sean hails from Orange Village, Ohio. He earned a degree in Music Technology with a minor in Electronic Media and Film from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

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