Vassar College President-Elect Elizabeth Bradley on Looking Ahead

And what she does with a spare 15 minutes.

Image courtesy of Vassar College

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Elizabeth Bradley: Take a hot shower and stretch.

TG: What gives you energy?
EB: New ideas.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
EB: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
EB: On the bedside table, nearby.

TG: How do you deal with email?
EB: A few times a day on my phone and a major push after dinner.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
EB: Organize, make a list, rest.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
EB: An hour ago. Someone was unnecessarily aggressive on email and I just thought “will this ever change?”

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
EB: Lost a grant 6 months ago. Wrote about it. Shared the grief with team members. Remembered other projects will come along.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
EB: “The only way to have peace is to make peace with the part of you that cannot come to peace.” I forgot who said it though.

Elizabeth H. Bradley, Ph.D., was recently elected the eleventh president of Vassar College. She is currently the Brady-Johnson Professor of Grand Strategy and Faculty Director of the Global Health Leadership Institute at Yale University. Professor Bradley has focused her career on improving health care delivery systems around the world. She is also the co-author of the best selling book “The American Health Care Paradox: Why Spending More is Getting us Less.”

Originally published at

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