The Innovative Power of Raw Curiosity with Wes Davis

By Kelly Barner | September 13, 2023

In 1918, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and naturalist writer John Burroughs took one of many long distance road trips together. The combination of their unique forms of genius, especially when viewed against the backdrop of WWI and the Influenza pandemic, makes it possible to see just how critical their curiosity was to every form of success they achieved.

In this episode of The Sourcing Hero podcast, Host Kelly Barner welcomes Wes Davis. Wes has a Ph.D. in English Literature from Princeton University and taught at Yale for nearly a decade. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The Nation.

Wes is also the author of multiple books, one of which is the recently released ‘American Journey: On the Road with Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and John Burroughs’ – and that book will be the focus of our conversation today.


In this interview, Wes talks about some of the unique characteristics of these consequential historical figures and sheds light on how we can learn from their mindset today:

  • Why the ability of Ford and Edison to thrive in the industrial and natural worlds was part of their collective genius
  • How unique and changeable the social and business landscape was in the early 20th century
  • Whether Ford, Firestone, and Edison were, in fact, Sourcing Heroes in their own right


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