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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

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

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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If You Don't Schmooze, Do You Necessarily Lose?

March 13, 2012, 12:00 AM

In an interview with Big Think, Michael Ellsberg talks about the importance of using eye contact to establish your social presence. As the creator of the recently popular eye gazing parties, he feels that many people “either get nervous about it and don’t make eye contact or they make a very kind of nervous, anxious kind of eye contact and so I felt it was almost as if there is a whole population of people walking around with bad handshakes who are not getting as far socially as they would like to because they weren’t aware that they have this thing that is not working for them.” He strongly supports an extroverted personality - one that lends itself to connecting with others, and seems to imply – as do many in the field of professional self-help – that extroverted behaviors are the only key to success. 

Then there’s Susan Cain, author of the recent bestseller, QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. A Harvard law school graduate who represented clients such as General Electric, Susan Cain states that, “The archetypal extrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk-talking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. He favors quick decisions, even at the risk of being wrong.” She spends much of her book discussing case studies of famous entrepreneurs whose success was the result of locking themselves away from the public in order to to indulge their fantasies. 


What do you think? Should you constantly make an effort to associate and network with others, or should you simply follow your private river of thoughts to wherever they lead? Is extroversion overrated? Does it depend on the industry? Is there a possible advantage (no matter your profession) to cocooning your ideas and developing them in private?



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If You Don't Schmooze, Do Y...

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