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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  November 7, 2013 12:00am-12:30am EST

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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight a conversation with dennis haysbert. the documentary looks at the war .hrough documents and artifacts then we will turn to a conversation with scott adams "how to failalled at almost everything and still win big." dennis haysbert and scott adams
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coming up right now. ♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: the next two years to commemorate the end of the civil
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war, the smoke finian -- the smithsonian is dedicating a including aat time, program called fight for freedom and hosted by actor dennis haysbert. take a look at the clip from the series. >> every ship had a list of all the goods and he was on the ship. this one is taking 83 people from virginia to natchez to be sold in the cotton and sugar plantation. documenting the people. it has people's names, their coloring, their age, where they
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are from. sometimes people were sold multiple times. i'm going to make an assumption. i doubt you have done any project where you learned more. i could be wrong. further.d go a step artifact iow what was going to be discussing until the cameras were rolling. >> they cap you in suspense? can understand how that would have an emotional impact on what i was doing. it's really interesting shooting. this is going to be a fascinating show.
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i was watching ashley judd last night. i was happy go lucky. a lot of this was kind of dour for me. it hurt, and i was kind of liberated in my thinking of all the people that came together to try to stop this and try to end , so i have a whole new outlook on the people who tried to exacerbate the situation. dark period ina the nations history. the other hand, there are some artifacts that speak to the
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courage and commitment of people. if you get a chance to look at harriet tubman's artifacts, that >> it does,u up. especially if you find out how tiny she was. she was powerful. you can't tell if you gave away your position. it was almost military like. it was enriching to find out all the stories behind these artifacts. hope every child, man, woman can watch this show. if you really want to learn
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about what it was like in those days, the good, the bad, the ugly, indifferent, you should watch this. you have aow foundation, but there is one that work specifically with young kids, and i found myself speaking to a classroom of kids all across the country. when the subject of harriet tubman comes up, i will have a short person about the size of her, and it is amazing to watch the eyes of these kids, and you size her up. you say, this is the size of harriet tubman, and every kid in the classroom goes, woe. small inrealize how stature she was. i make the point said k neil wasn't the first -- shaquille
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o'neal wasn't the first tall negro. it is amazing. i always bring the shortest person in the classroom and the tallest arson in the classroom. in classroom.son i say, she is leading them to freedom. was a gun and a bible. you are not going to give up your position. if you go back they will kill you. be able to see all that is pretty amazing. marry, she did finally she married someone 20 years her junior.
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of for a woman. tavis: is there anything you learned about yourself hosting this series? a whole bunch of stuff. i learned how steadfast i am and how i approach life. this show how cruel things were. side i found bits that didn't quite
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jive with what was going on. wrote andone book he hat his family wrote. he was enslaved. he was allowed to leave for the weekend and go to the next plantation. in all the inhumanity going on, that was very human. still, he had to go to the next plantation to visit his wife. -- littleitzer butterings of humanity, it's still kind of hard to see humanity as a whole in that situation.
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if you could have humanity in degrees. there are degrees to which people view humanity. >> what people also learned is that slavery is not looked upon as a great or cool enterprise. it was looked down on by a lot of people, but it was also the oft lucrative. it was kind mind blowing. on the one hand people say it is such a arable business. what do you say to that? great a is they have so
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much stuff in their vault. i would love to run through the hallways. they have everything in there. every now and then they open up the vault. this is a three part series. there are two other parts. if you haven't seen them, i am sure you can go online. ends talkinges about the pathway to freedom.
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coming up, a conversation with "dilbert" creator scott adams. stay with us. "dilbert" is without question one of the most successful syndicated comic strips. it is appearing in 70 countries and 25 languages. says yourt creator learn more from failure than success. he has written a new book with the title "how to fail at almost ."erything and still win big good to have you. why this book and why now? >> i noticed 80% of the world has never met a famous or successful person. a lot of people have no mentors or role models. even if they know somebody they don't watch them go to work.
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i think the failures are more than successes. -- instructive than successes. give me one example of what you mean by your own personal failure. failure, --out my >> without my failure "dilbert" would not have existed. i tried to be a computer programmer. topent two years trying write games. it turns out i'm not a good programmer. i am working on an internet startup on the side, and all
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these things become knowledge you end up using somehow. they were beyond interesting. they are in some ways counter intuitive. bs argue that passion is when it comes to success. everyone says you have to be passionate about what you engage in. you say that is crap. >> when people get interviewed and they say, what is the secret to your success, they almost always say passion. what are the other answers? they would be embarrassing. i am smarter than you. how about, i got lucky? how about, my dad was rich. he got me started. none of those answers sound good. andabout, i was passionate,
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if you were more passionate you would be a billionaire. always a little excited in the beginning. if it works, i get real passionate. it drainsn't work, right out of here. if not passion, there has to be some energy, some drive. >> i write about taking care of your body. learn fitness and diet. i'm not telling you how to do that. i think you should make it a lifelong study. the people who know about those things get the best result because they make smarter choices. healthier it is going to be better. don't you said you
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believe in goals. you believe in systems. your point, but for those who will hear that at first hence and say, what does have against goals? >> they only work if you have a system. if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, you're going to fail until you get there. if you get there are you done? better thing would be to make it a lifetime study. if you are thinking about things in terms of a system, it just works out. my system for success was from my college days i knew i would try a lot of things. work. them wouldn't
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i tried a number of things like writing video games. my system is if it doesn't work make sure you are smarter at the end. -- look at me is the perfect example. i'm an average artist at best. i never took a writing class but i can put a sentence together. i'm not the funniest guy. i have three eggs. -- three things. individually the skills are just ok. >> be on skills you talk about experiences. do, the things you can more things you can do. you talk about golf and about
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how that has aided and abetted you in many ways. >> it's also about knowledge. the more you know, the more you can know. i make sure i am learning something every day. if somebody came from outer space and said, can you explain what all worse is? it would take a long time, but if the second quest -- what a horse is? it would take a long time, but if the second question is what is the zebra. you are halfway there if you have got a basis. tavis: if one size does not fit learn more from our failures than we ever do from there sosses, why are
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many books about success and failure? it is not like my success works for anyone else. why is this such a burgeoning business of self-help books? >> everybody wants a quick fix. everyone wants the promise of success. my advice was don't take advice from a cartoonist on anything that could get you killed or fired, but rather, if you have a chance, if you have the option, the first day he will always do is talk to somebody who did it. you will say, you tried this. what did you do? if you talk to a few people, you can say, this guided this. that work.
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i offer my story. tavis: having said that, take me back and give me a sense of how you failed your way into dilbert. >> when my corporate career , first at the bank and then the phone company, i started looking around, and it was part of my process of, let me try some a new and see if it works. when i tried to syndicate dilbert, the first reaction was this is poorly drawn, and i but what i found is there is a small core of
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people that are wild from the start. that turns out to be a good indicator you have got something worth doubling down on. the things people say, that is pretty good, but it's just talking. to dont somebody something with their body. if somebody says, i liked your book, i say thank you. tell me if the book is going to be good. said, i liked your book and there is somebody i want to give it to, that is always a good indicator. on dilbert there was one guy who organized it by topic and put them in a book he created. about the value
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of having a lack of fear or embarrassment. think it might be natural to me. i don't get embarrassed at the same things other people do. say the biggest thing that holds me back is i am going to look like an idiot if this doesn't work out. people don't care. they care about themselves. part of it is making sure people that don't speak in front of crowds because they are nervous just to it a lot. at the end you are like, i will stand in front of a thousand people, and if it doesn't go be funny. will
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that was thesay, worst speech. you can learn to harden yourself against embarrassment. i wonder whether or not your mission with "dilbert" when you started, has it changed? whatever you were intending to content of"dilbert ," has it changed? >> at first it was just a job, but when it took to business focused people started taking it seriously. it did become a lot of comics
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your desk.ft on it became weapon eyes. in some way it helped curb the excess. weaponized. tavis: you argue for those who say money can't i you happiness, they are wrong. y happiness, they are wrong. >> they are totally wrong. that $75,000 a year is a magic number, but my experience is more is better up to a point. then there is a point that doesn't make a difference. tavis: your argument is money can't buy you happiness because money gets you freedom, and the freedom allows you to do what you want to do when you want to
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do it. >> happiness is nothing but good health and freedom, and money is the best way to buy the freedom. if nothing else there is someone who would like your money and you can help them out. tavis: it's somewhat .ounterintuitive that is what you promise in the book. "how to fail at almost everything and still win big." it's not an advice book. it's a book of information. scott, congrats on the book, and good to have you on the program. that's our show for tonight. thanks for joining us. faith.ys, keep the back for more information, visit pbs.org.ley at
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tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with me along. -- nia long. that's next time. we'll see you then. ♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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