Classic Influence

Timeless Lessons from the Legends

of Leadership, Influence & Power

Our Mission

classic [klas’ ik]—Of the first or highest quality, class or rank; serving as a standard, model, guide; of enduring interest, quality, or style.

influence [in’-floo-en(t)ns]—The capacity or power to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions of others

Virtually anyone can do what needs to be done to succeed, once you know what and how to do it. This is why history is so important. This is why the biographies and autobiographies of the great men and women of the world are such a rich resource, a treasure trove of wisdom and insight for those who are determined to make their own way to the top.

Our mission is to join you in your journey to the top by bringing to life the stories of the heroes of history and icons of influence, strategy and power, by extracting their insights, wisdom, and key lessons learned, and distilling this wisdom into practical action steps, strategies, tactics, tips, and tools that you can apply in your own life to achieve your own most daring dreams and goals.

“If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” —Isaac Newton (1642—1727)

About J

Dr. Johnny Welch, M.T.S., M.B.A. is an author, speaker, trainer, and consultant on influence, leadership, strategy, and power. He hosts the Classic Influence Podcast (available on iTunes), and teaches a graduate course on change leadership at Columbia University. Johnny’s broad experience ranges from serving as the program manager for the Columbia Coaching Certification Program, to corporate training and consulting—with clients that have included Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, Kawasaki, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, International Boys’ Schools Coalition, and New York Johnny Welch SunsetPresbyterian Hospital, the University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell—to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership, strategy, and teambuilding in Southern California and New York City. He has coached leadership teams in large ministries, and served in the district offices of members of the California State Senate, the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. Johnny Welch earned a master’s degree in Johnny Welch Lip Smackerbusiness administration from San Diego State University and a master’s degree from Harvard University where he split his time between the Divinity School and the Kennedy School of Government. He earned his doctorate from the Department of Organization and Leadership at Columbia. Johnny currently lives in Southern California and, in his free time, enjoys weightlifting, running, traveling and, above all, surfing on some clean, warm water waves.


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Classic Influence Podcast: CIP 049. Expect the Unexpectable, Vigorously Guard Against the Negative Expectations Trap: George Dantzig Solves Albert Einstein's Unsolvable Problems

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”

—Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Classic Influence Podcast CIP 048. Reframe Your Role, Take Whatever Title You Require: Walt Disney Heads to Hollywood in Pursuit of a Fantastic Dream

“Power is in the appearance of power.”

—Napoleon Bonaparte (1769—1821)

Classic Influence Podcast CIP 047: Put Your Name on the Building, Assume the Position You Desire: Steven Spielberg Occupies the Universal Lot

“He only earns his freedom and his life who takes them every day by storm.”

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749—1832)

Classic Influence Podcast CIP 046. Destroy Limiting Beliefs

“If you aren’t afraid of dying, there is nothing you can’t achieve.”

—Lao Tzu (601—531 B.C.), Ancient Chinese Philosopher

Wisdom of History from Harriet Tubman (Classic Influence—Episode #045 (Fortitude) Steel Yourself for Success: Harriet Tubman Takes Command and Leads Her People to the Promise Land

“Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

—Harriet Tubman (c. 1822—1913), American Abolitionist, Freedom Fighter, Armed Scout, Military Leader, and Spy

Wisdom of History from Alexander the Great (Classic Influence—Episode #044 (Simplicity) Exploit the Hidden Power of Simplicity: Alexander the Great Fulfills the Prophecy of the Gordian Knot

“Genius is making complex ideas simple, not making simple ideas complex.”

—Albert Einstein (1879—1955), American (German-born) Theoretical Physicist

Believe Absolutely to Inspire Absolute Belief: Joan of Arc Turns the Tide of the Hundred Years' War

“The one thing that will guarantee the successful conclusion of a doubtful undertaking is faith in the beginning that you can do it…Belief creates the actual fact.”

—William James (1842—1910), Harvard Psychologist

Win Lasting Influence: Listen for the Underlying Need: Mahatma Gandhi on the Wisdom of Listening to Build a Charismatic Foundation of Influence

“Find someone with charisma and, without a doubt, you’ve found an accomplished listener.”

—Anthony Alessandra

Build Habits of Mastery and Self-Control: The Making and Unmaking of The Knights Templar, the Most Formidable Military Order of the Middle Ages

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

—Aristotle (384—322 B.C.)

Build Habits of Mastery and Self-Control: The Making and Unmaking of The Knights Templar, the Most Formidable Military Order of the Middle Ages

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

—Aristotle, Ancient Greek Philosopher

CIP 040. Get Leverage. Change the Calculus.

“Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand and I will move the world.”

—Archimedes (287—212 B.C.)

Episode Quote Card for CIP 039. Courage Under Fire General George Patton

“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor. “

—Aristotle, Ancient Greek Philosopher (384—322 B.C.)

Classic Influence CIP 038. Profit from the Power of Proof: Dale Carnegie's Baby Steps Rise to Blockbuster Success

“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you will be able to see farther!”

—John Pierpont “J.P.” Morgan (1837—1913) American Financier and Banker

Classic Influence_Wisdom of History_Graphic for Escalate the Intensity, Increase the Stakes: Orville and Wilbur Wright's Extraordinary Obsession with Flight

“Not many things indifferently, but one thing supremely, is the demand of the hour. He who scatters his efforts in this intense, concentrated age, cannot hope to succeed.”

—Orison Swett Marden, Pushing to the Front

Classic Influence: Own the Need, Achieve the Dream: Abraham Lincoln Assumes Command of the Problem at Hand, and Pilots His Path to the Top

“All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: It was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”

—John Kenneth Galbraith, Harvard Economist, Advisor to FDR, Truman, JFK, & LBJ

Classic Influence Podcast, Eepisode #35. Series Title: TAKE BOLD ACTION. Episode Title: Be Bold in Pursuit of Your Aims: The Celebrity Power of Frank Sinatra, and the Daring Don Rickles, Upstart Comedian Extraordinaire

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

—Robert F. Kennedy (1925—1968)

“Freedom lies in being bold.”

—Robert Frost (1874—1963), American Poet

“Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749—1832)

Classic Influence Podcast—CIP 032. Take Bold Action (Part 2): Dare to Defy the Established Order, Risk to Skip Ahead: Huey Long Cuts a Barrier-Breaking Path to the Top

“I used to get things done by saying please. Now I dynamite ’em out of my path.”

—Huey Long (1893—1935)

“Those who have accomplished great things in the world have been, as a rule, bold…They dared to step out from the crowd and act in an original way. They were not afraid to be generals.”

—Orison Swett Marden (1848—1924), Founder of Success Magazine

Classic Influence Podcast—CIP 031. Take Bold Action (Part 1): Be Bold and Let Boldness Do Its Work: Napoleon Bonaparte Escapes His Island Prison

“Fortune favors the bold.”

—Virgil (70—19 B.C.)

Classic Influence Podcast—CIP 030. Profit from the Power of Frames to Achieve Your Aims: President Franklin Roosevelt Reframes His Race for a 3rd Term_Podcast Host-Dr. Johnny-Welch

“”It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look…”

—Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), Walden

Classic-Influence-Podcast-(CIP-029). Wield Power with Wisdom, Get Both in and Out of the Game: Martin Luther King Jr. Assumes Leadership, Becomes the Symbol of the Civil Rights Movement_Podcast Host-Dr. Johnny-Welch

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

—Peter Drucker (1909–2005), American Management Consultant

Classic-Influence-Podcast-(CIP-028)_Hammer Optimism into Your Plans: Ernest Shackleton's Miracle Trip from Elephant Island_Podcast Host-Dr. Johnny-Welch

“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.”

—William James (1842—1910), American Psychologist

Classic-Influence-Podcast-(CIP-027)_Adopt the Champion Mindset: Arnold Schwarzenegger Takes the Throne (Champion Mentality)-Podcast Host-Dr. Johnny-Welch, M.B.A.

“If you want to turn a vision into reality, you have to give 100% and never stop believing in your dream.”

—Arnold Schwarzenegger (1947—), 38th Governor of California

Classic-Influence-Podcast-(CIP-026)_Escalate-Your-Commitment, Burn Your Ships_Hernando-Cortes-(Inescapable-Commitment)

“Our greatest power, our highest possibility, lies so deep in our natures that it often takes a tremendous emergency, a powerful crisis, to call it out. It is only when we feel that all bridges behind us are burned, all retreat cut off, and that we have no outside aid to lean upon, that we discover our full inherent power.”

—Orison Swett Marden (1848—1924), He Can Who Thinks He Can

Classic-Influence-Podcast-(CIP-025)_Mine-the-Miners—Create-Don't-Consume_The-Pioneering-Producers-of-the-California-Gold Rush(Producer-Mentality)

“Every man is a consumer, and ought to be a producer. He fails to make his place good in the world unless he not only pays his debt but also adds something to the common wealth. Nor can he do justice to his genius without making some larger demand on the world than a bare subsistence. He is by constitution expensive, and needs to be rich.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Wealth,” in The Conduct of Life (1909)


“There has not yet been a person in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering.”

—Theodore Roosevelt, 26th U.S. President

Classic Influence Podcast (CIP-023)_Construct Heroic Life History: Ragnar Lothbrok, The Everlasting Legend of the Viking Leader

“Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be.”

—Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Classic Influence Podcast (CIP-023)_Construct Heroic Life History: Ragnar Lothbrok, The Everlasting Legend of the Viking Leader

“You are the Hero of your own Story.”

—Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Classic Influence Podcast (CIP 022)_Spurn Treacherous Emotions: The Hubris of Emperor Nero, Rome's Original Antichrist

“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”

—Sophocles, Ancient Greek Tragedian

Classic Influence Podcast (CIP 021). Milk Your Assets, Face the Brute Facts: The Cunning and Charismatic Cleopatra Assumes the Egyptian Throne

“What great leaders have in common is that each truly knows his or her strengths— and can call on the right strength at the right time.”

—Donald O. Clifton, Father of Strengths-Based Psychology

Classic Influence Podcast (CIP 020). Surface Your Submerged Assumptions: John Kennedy and the Curious Consensus for the Bay of Pigs

“The way to keep yourself from making assumptions is to ask questions. If you don’t understand, ask. Have the courage to ask questions until you are clear…”

—Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Classic Influence Podcast_Episode 19_Look First to Your Frames for the Seeds of Success: Russell Conwell's Acres of Diamonds (Part 1 of 2)

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

—Henry David Thoreau (1817—1862), American Philosopher

Classic Influence Podcast_Episode 18_Craft a Compelling Image to Increase Your Influence and Amplify Your Power_Blackbeard Becomes the Dark Lord of the Skull and Crossbones

“The world is governed more by appearances than by realities.”

—Daniel Webster, 14th & 19th U.S. Secretary of State

Classic Influence Podcast_Episode 17_Leverage the Paradox of Self-Reliance_General George Washington Wins the War By First Building Belief and Rapport

“Chance never helps those who do not help themselves.”

—Sophocles (496-406 B.C.), Ancient Greek Playwright

Classic Influence Podcast_Episode 16_Assume Ultimate Ownership, Embrace Radical Responsibility as a Rule: President Lincoln Pays the Ultimate Price

“That some achieve great success is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”

—Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th U.S. President

Classic Influence Podcast_Episode 15_Develop Deep Self-Belief: Napoleon Bonaparte's Lucky Star

“There is no value judgment more important, no factor more decisive in your psychological development and motivation, than the estimate you pass on yourself.”

—Nathaniel Branden, Self-Esteem at Work

Classic Influence Podcast_Episode 14_Aim First for Self-Reliance: The Roots of Cornelius Vanderbilt's Transportation Empire

“There is but one great password to success—self-reliance.”

—William George Jordan (1864–1928), Early American Self-Help Author

Classic Influence Podcast_Episode 13_Dare to Run More and Greater Risks: P.T. Barnum Risks It All on an Unknown

“It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.”

—Seneca (c. 4 B.C.—65 A.D.), Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Dramatist

Classic Influence Podcast_Episode CIP 012. Expand Your Perspective, Effect Strategy to Win the Greater Game_The Supreme Pontiff's Immaculate Deception

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

—Sun Tzu (544—496 B.C.), Ancient Chinese Military General

Classic Influence Podcast_Episode 11_Saturate Your Mind with a LifeLong Orientation to Time_Cesare Borgias Fight to Rise

“Survey and test prospective action before undertaking it. Before your proceed, step back and look at the big picture, lest you act rashly on raw impulse.”

—Epictetus (55—135A.D.), Ancient Greek Stoic Philosopher<

Classic Influence Podcast_Episode 10_Stay Hungry to Make Your Mark_Arnold Schwarzenegger's Drum Major Instinct

“A man’s worth is no greater than his ambitions.”

—Marcus Aurelius (121—180 A.D.), Emperor of the Roman Empire (161—180 A.D.)

Classic Influence Podcast

“To be ignorant of the lives of the most celebrated men of antiquity is to continue in a state of childhood all our days.”

—Plutarch (46—120 A.D.), Ancient Greek Historian, Biographer, Author of Parallel Lives

Classic Influence Podcast

“History belongs above all to the man of deeds and power, to him who fights a great fight, who needs models, teachers, comforters and cannot find them among his contemporaries.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844—1900)

Classic Influence Podcast

“The search after the great man is the dream of youth and the most serious occupation of manhood. We travel into foreign parts to find his works, if possible, to get a glimpse of him.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803—1882), American Philosopher, Essayist, Lecturer, Poet, Author of Self-Reliance

Classic Influence Podcast

“Read over and over again the campaigns of Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus, Turenne, Eugene and Frederick. Make them your models. This is the only way to become a great general and to master the secrets of the art of war. With your own genius enlightened by this study, you will reject all maxims opposed to those of these great commanders.”

—Napoleon Bonaparte (1769—1821)

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“Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too.”

—Marcus Aurelius (121—180 A.D.)