May 19 • 36M

Episode 3: Lawrence Wright - Selected Wisdom Podcast

Pulitzer Prize winning author shares stories of writing worldwide

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Selected Wisdom is the audio version of Clint Watts' blog, which seeks to do what his original blog sought out to do in its launch in 2010 – provide selected bits of wisdom and insights from those with unique experiences and specific insights into different issues and life in general. Selected Wisdom illuminates that no one person has all the answers, but every person has the answers to some questions and can offer lessons learned from a lifetime of experiences. Guests from all different backgrounds will join host Clint Watts for conversations sharing bits of their selected wisdom for listeners.
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In 2006, I was starting up a research and training program at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point when I received a call from my smartest colleague on al-Qa’ida’s recent global terror campaigns, Dr. Will McCants.

He said: “You’ve got to get this book—The Looming Tower—by Lawrence Wright. It’s the best thing I’ve read.”

Soon after, I bought boxes of the book for everyone on my team. I reached out to Mr. Wright and asked if he’d be willing to speak at events with the FBI and police forces about his experiences researching al-Qa’ida and what he’d learned during his travels throughout the Middle East. To my surprise, he agreed.  

Lawrence provided wisdom to audiences of all types—and I had the great fortune of being his driver, shuttling him between airports and auditoriums for speaking events. Our conversations on the road were wide-ranging, always insightful, and provided much-needed guidance to me when I needed it the most.

A few years later, the same Dr. McCants suggested I start a blog. I wasn’t sure; I was nervous about public writing and wasn’t feeling too confident about the idea. But during one of our car rides in California, Lawrence gave me a nudge, some guidance, and encouraged me to give it a shot. The next week, in the fall of 2010, I started a blog called Selected Wisdom. 

Now, 12 years later, Selected Wisdom lives on with an interview from one of America’s all time great storytellers: Mr. Lawrence Wright.    

Lawrence Wright is an author, screenwriter, playwright, and a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. His book, The Looming Tower, won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Aside from his prolific writing career, Lawrence has written and starred in several theatrical productions, and even plays keyboard in an Austin-based Blues band. 

More about Lawrence:

Lawrence Wright is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, which provides a sweeping narrative of events that lead up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

Along with The Looming Tower, Wright has written 10 other nonfiction books including Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood,and the Prison of Belief and several plays, many of which he has performed in. Lawrence is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Society of American Historians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Lawrence joined Clint to share some selected wisdom on life in Texas, his writing process, and the journey to becoming an award-winning author.