Vikas Shah MBE Interviews the world's leading thinkers, and the people shaping the century.

“I earn my living from coaching people how to fight….” Writes John Kavanagh in the opening of his book Win or Learn.  He continues “…it may come as a surprise, therefore, to learn that until I was in my early twenties, I was terrified of fighting. I hated arguing, shouting, violence – all forms of conflict, basically. That’s not unusual, of course, but to be honest, I was a bit of a wimp…” Employing the motto ‘win or learn’, Kavanagh has become a guru to young men and women seeking to master the arts of combat. His gyms have become a magnet for talented fighters from all over the globe who want to learn from the man who coached fighters including Conor McGregor, Makwan Amirkhani, and Gunnar Nelson. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Coach Kavanagh to learn what it takes to win, and what we can all learn from his experiences training some of the world’s top fighters.

Thought Economics

For David L. Steward and Brandon K. Mann, faith is not just a reference – it’s a north star – creating the map they needed to navigate to success.  David L Steward is the Founder & Chairman of World Wide Technology (a supply chain solutions provider with revenues exceeding $12 billion).  David is proof positive that you don’t have to compromise your values to find success. Born to a poor family in segregated Missouri, David held firm to his integrity and values and went on to build a $12 billion a year business. Brandon K. Mann is the Managing Partner and CEO of Kingdom Capital, a private equity and stewardship firm based on Christian principles. He is also the founder of Biblical Business Training (BBT), which provides Biblical leadership development and curriculum to small-group Bible study leaders, helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ and equipping them to pour into the lives of others. In these exclusive conversations, I spoke with David and Brandon to learn more about how faith has played a transformational role in their lives, and what it means to lead by the good book.

Thought Economics

Few individuals have had as much of an impact on modern boxing as Frank Warren. In a career spanning over 35 years, Frank has worked with some of the biggest fighters in boxing history – Hamed, Bruno, Tyson, Calzaghe, Benn, Collins, Eubank, Khan and Hatton. Warren and his son own and run Queensberry Promotions, he is also founder of the British boxing television channel BoxNation and was inducted into the international boxing hall of fame in 2008. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Frank about his life in boxing, what it takes to be a great fighter, and how boxing can impact the community, and our lives.

Thought Economics

For over 40 years Penn & Teller have defied labels—and at times physics and good taste– by redefining the genre of magic and inventing their own very distinct niche in comedy. Penn Jillette is the magician, actor, musician, inventor, television personality, and author who forms half of this incredible and long-standing partnership.  He is a true polymath, and in this exclusive interview I had the pleasure of speaking to Penn to learn more about the role of magic in culture, how you create a great show, and the secrets of building long-standing partnerships.

Thought Economics

Tracey Emin CBE, RA is one the foremost artists of our generation.  Her work is provocative, introspective, beautiful and challenging – and has achieved iconic status not because of the art establishment, but in spite of it.  Tracey is a fighter- and has defending her art and her method at every stage of her career, refusing to adapt to the parameters of the art market, but instead ensuring that she speaks form a place of creative honesty and truth. In this exclusive interview, I had the privilege of speaking to Tracey Emin to learn about her work, creative process and the role of art in our lives.

Thought Economics

Formula One (F1) racing is an incredible sport.  Some of the brightest minds in the world of engineering and human performance, equipped with multi-billion-dollar budgets, create staggeringly high-performance cars, run by similarly high-performance teams and drivers.  Nico Rosberg raced in Formula One for eleven years, claiming the title of World Champion in 2016 with Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team.  Since then, Rosberg has embarked on a career as an entrepreneur and investor in green technologies and mobility.  He is an early investor in numerous successful start-ups including Lilum, What3Words, Tier, Lyft and Formula E.  He is also co-owner of mobility engineering company TRE, and Co-Founder of the GREENTECH FESTIVAL; a global platform for cutting-edge green technologies.  In 2020, he became an official judge of the TV show Die Höhle der Löwen (the German edition of the BBCs Dragon’s Den) with the aim of investing-in and supporting sustainable startups. In this exclusive interview, I caught up with Nico Rosberg to learn about his life in F1, entrepreneurship and investment.

Thought Economics

To learn more about the 2020 SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) ‘Coronavirus’ pandemic, and to learn more about what we can do now, and in the future, to respond to virus outbreaks, and pandemics, I spoke to the world’s foremost experts: Professor John Oxford (The UK’s top expert on influenza and Emeritus Professor of Virology at the University of London), Professor Christian Bréchot (Professor at the University of South Florida & President of the Global Virus Network), Professor Harish Nair (Professor & leader of Respiratory Viral Epidemiology research programme, University of Edinburgh), Dr. Roberto Consentini is Emergency Medicine Chief of the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo, Professor Michael T. Osterholm (Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy CIDRAP), Gideon Lichfield (Editor in Chief, MIT Technology Review), Yonden Lhatoo (Chief News Editor, South China Morning Post, in a personal capacity), Trish Greenhalgh (Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford), Matt Strauss (Former Medical Director of Critical Care at Guelph Hospital, Canada & Asst. Professor at Queens University), Dr. Zaher Sahloul (President of MedGlobal & Critical Care Doctor) and Vincent Racaniello (Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University).

Thought Economics

Hamdi Ulukaya is the founder and CEO of Chobani, one of the fastest growing food companies of the last decade.  The company has annual sales of US$2billion and has become the gold standard for corporate social responsibility.  30% of Chobani’s 2,000 employees were born outside the United States, and several hundred are resettled refugees.  From the start, Chobani has donated a portion of profits to charity and has worked to reduce income and wealth inequality.  In 2016, the business launched the Chobani Food Incubator to mentor and support socially responsible food entrepreneurs. Outside Chobani, Hamdi is a philanthropist and humanitarian.  He founded the Tent Partnership for Refugees to mobilise the private sector to improve the lives of more than 25 million refugees around the world. In this exclusive interview, I spoke with Hamdi Ulukaya to learn more about the role of business in society, what CSR really means, and how we can build more responsible businesses.

Thought Economics

Chip Wilson is the entrepreneur & philanthropist who is widely credited with the creation of ‘athleisure’ as a retail category (now worth over $400-billion globally).  He is perhaps best known for being the founder of luluemon, the yoga-inspired technical athletic apparel company he started in 1998 which- today- has over 15,000 employees and a market capitalisation of close to $30billion. In this exclusive interview, I spoke with Chip about the lululemon journey, building powerful brands, investing, and what it takes to be an innovative fashion entrepreneur. 

Thought Economics

Dr. Mario Capecchi has had a remarkable life. At four-and-a-half years old, during World War II, his mother was sent to Dachau concentration camp leading-eventually- to Mario living as a street child for nearly four years, coming in and out of orphanages and almost dying of malnutrition. From this hugely challenging start in life, Mario went on to flourish eventually becoming joint recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery “of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells.” In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Dr. Capecchi about his life, his struggles through the war, and what he’s learned about life from his incredible journey.

Thought Economics

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