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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

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Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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What Happened To Your Amazon Book Reviews

December 25, 2012, 7:30 AM

What's the Latest Development?

In the last few months, Amazon has deleted an unspecified number of user reviews from its site with no public explanation, generating heated discussion among writers and reviewers about what it means to review a work in the open space of the Internet. Some writers have been told that the site "[does] not allow reviews on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product," including writers, but they say that this rule isn't consistently applied. One suggests that Amazon applied a broad brush: "[T]hey caught a lot of shady reviews, but a lot of innocent ones were erased, too."

What's the Big Idea?

Besides selling books, reviews help Amazon choose new books for its recent publishing venture. To that end, recently publicized cases of writers manipulating the review process to garner more attention and make more sales may be the most likely reason for the crackdown. Some writers, such as J.A. Konrath, see no problem with fake reviews, but some readers differ. In fact, one unusually prolific and, to some, unreasonably complimentary reviewer, retired librarian Harriet Klausner, has generated her own "fan" group which tracks and methodically discredits each review she posts. One member says, "[W]e've all been duped into buying books based on her reviews."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com


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