Two Gems from David McCullough – Have a Really Big BHAG; then, Start Learning!


Morley Safer with David McCullough

Last night, Morley Safer interviewed David McCullough on 60 Minutes.  Great interview! (Here’s McCullough’s Amazon page.  He is a national treasure.  Read and watch the 60 Minutes segment here).

Here’s my favorite excerpt:

David McCullough (Outside Carpenter’s Hall, where the Revolution was born in secret):

Upstairs in the hall, there’s a library. The country’s very first lending library.  It was Ben Franklin’s idea. At the very beginning comes the idea of learning, of books, of ideas.

Gem #1 – After the very beginning comes the idea of learning, of books, of ideas…

Learning, from books!, matters.

Gem #2 – You need a BHAG followed by intense learning from the very beginning.  Pretty good advice for any enterprise, including one to found a country.  Yes, this country was born with a whopping BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal)

David McCullough:
Adams insisted now was the time. Now was the time.
Whether you celebrate it on the 2nd or the 4th of July, John Adams also spelled out how it should be observed.  “…it ought to solemnized with pomp and parade, with guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” Which is remarkable when you consider that these colonies were just on this side of the Allegheny Mountains. And the idea that he’s seeing it all the way to the Pacific Ocean. So they dreamed big – and we ought to remember that – in this little room.

Morley Safer:
The new nation was barely out of adolescence when it realized it had a lot to learn. So the best and brightest of America went to seek out the wisdom of old Europe.

Dream big — really big.  Learn much – on purpose.  Seek out the best minds to learn from.  And don’t forget to throw a really big party to celebrate the birth of your enterprise every year, in order to retell the founding story over and over again — so that what the founders did, and why they did it, will always be remembered.  Tell it far and wide and often.

Pretty good reminders of how to start something that might be important to start well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s