Barney's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Poor, Lazy Overachievers

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Washington, DC

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 7

  • ON DVD:

BARNEY FRANK

Massachusetts Congressman

“Learn what your traits are. The places where your traits are weaknesses? Stay away from them. And where they are strengths? Go there.”

INTERESTS:

Politics

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Choices Desire Hard Work Negativity Success Acceptance Honesty Planning Chance Opportunity

FOUNDATION:

Accomplishing Goals

TAGS:

busy, commitment, criticism, decisions, demographic, freedom summer, jewish, limitations, making the world better, Mississippi, privacy, religion, sacrifices, sensitivity, sexuality, short attention span, strengths, thick skin, traits, weaknesses

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Politics interested him since he was in high school, but being gay and Jewish, he didn’t think he’d have a shot.
  • Involved in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, a movement where white college students went to the South, registered black voters.
  • Thought he wanted to be a professor but realized he had a very short attention span, not ideal for writing theses.
  • Moved into politics, where he could use his short attention span as an asset, switch gears quickly, work on multiple projects at once.
  • His advice for aspiring politicians: “Don’t count on winning. Have a job you like doing while you’re not winning and meet as many people as you can.”
  • After 42 years in politics, he sometimes feels tired of the profession, but stays as an obligation to his constituents.
  • Stresses that too much importance is put on the career decisions you make right out of college.
  • Says by 35, most people have made two or three major career changes; early decisions won’t define your path for the next 75 years.

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