"The Greatest Risk You'll Ever Take" (Michigan Law Commencement Address)
Write your story, change history
TEDxMIA - How To Write Your Own Obituary
What can we learn about leadership from Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Amelia Earhart, George Washington, Gandhi or Einstein? Brad Meltzer’s two million-selling I AM series has helped teach an entire generation about the world’s greatest heroes. Brad’s latest book, #1 Amazon best-seller The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington was praised by Bill Clinton and lauded by George H.W. Bush as “a wonderful book about leadership.” In this thought-provoking talk, the best-selling author looks at these figures through the lens of leadership and promoting positive organizational values and culture. What do these great heroes have in common? Meltzer contends that their accomplishments didn’t come from their resumes. Instead, they came from the moral values they displayed as kids — values that we need to get back to in corporate culture today: decency, humility, generosity and selflessness. So much more than a history lesson, this fascinating motivational keynote zeroes in on the enduring elements of leadership and culture that transcend trends, technology and changing times.
When the Wall Street Journal told Brad that one of his charitable acts would be in his obituary, it sent Brad on a quest to find out what else his legacy might be. Hear the funny, inspiring, and always entertaining story that will never let you look at your life the same way again.
What’s the greatest risk you’ll ever take in your life? It’s admitting what you want. We all know what we want. But we rarely admit it. Why? Because putting yourself out there—especially emotionally—is scary. If you admit what you want, you risk not getting it. And failure terrifies us. So how do you actually pull it off? How do you take the greatest risk you’ll ever take in your life and admit what you want? You need to do three things: Remember what you love, remember what got you’re here, and most important, remember what terrifies you.
On the night Brad Meltzer’s first son was born, he began collecting heroes for his boy. And for nearly a decade, Meltzer studied these heroes throughout history. From Thomas Jefferson (who had the humility to never publicly take credit for writing the Declaration of Independence) to the Wright Brothers (who brought extra materials to every test flight, anticipating their own failure) to George Washington to Rosa Parks to Mr. Rogers, Meltzer reminds us that their stories are not about fame ¾ they’re about what we are all capable of on our very best days. See why Meltzer’s book on heroes¾from Jackie Robinson, to Abraham Lincoln, to Eleanor Roosevelt¾shot up the inspirational bestseller list. Let Meltzer teach you how to find the real hero in your life. And the power of never letting anyone tell you ‘No.’
Brad’s family moved from Brooklyn to Miami with only $1,200 to their name. A decade later, he got 24 rejection letters for his first novel. A year after that, he started his climb to the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List and his own television show. The adventure between is a classic tale with a truly incredible ending.
Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate, and nine other bestselling thrillers. In addition to his fiction, Brad is one of the only authors to ever have books on the bestseller list for Non-Fiction (History Decoded), Advice (Heroes for My Son and Heroes for My Daughter), Children’s Books (I Am Amelia Earhart and I Am Abraham Lincoln) and even comic books (Justice League of America), for which he won the prestigious Eisner Award.
He is also the host of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded on the History Channel, and Brad Meltzer’s Lost History on H2. The Hollywood Reporter recently put him on their list of Hollywood’s 25 Most Powerful Authors.
Thanks to his TV show, Brad is also responsible for helping find the missing 9/11 flag that the firefighters raised at Ground Zero, making national news on the recent 15th anniversary of 9/11.
For sure, it’s tough to find anyone being so successful in so many different mediums of the popular culture. But why does Brad thrive in all these different professions? His belief that ordinary people change the world. It is that core belief that runs through every one of his projects.
But what will inspire and dazzle audiences is Meltzer’s personal story, which took him from the loss of his father’s job, to the #1 spot on the bestseller list. Twice. It is a story filled with perseverance, focus, and the commitment to one’s dream. And thanks to his recent nonfiction hits, Heroes For My Son and Heroes For My Daughter, it is a story filled with the inspirational tales of the Wright Brothers, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Jim Henson, Mr. Rogers and more. It is a story that has been told to corporate leaders, industry heads, U.S. Senators, Supreme Court Justices, and even recurring invitations from a former U.S. President. Brad is always entertaining, but in this book he wrote for his son and daughter, he is simply one of the most inspiring speakers you’ll hear.
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