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We are Big Idea Hunters…

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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Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

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World Renowned Bloggers

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

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Think Like a Freak and Break Barriers

May 13, 2014, 12:00 AM
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Takeru Kobayashi is a legend of Coney Island’s famous hot dog eating contest. How did he learn to crush the competition, double the world record, and go on to set six Guinness Records as a competitive eater? Stephen Dubner, journalist and award-winning co-author of Freakonomics, explains in his latest book with economist Steven Levitt, Think Like a Freak.

In the below video clip from Big Think’s interview, Dubner highlights some of the strategies that help people break barriers. In the quirky case of Kobayashi, he knew how to ask the right questions. By doing so, he redefined his problem and tackled an issue that his competitors had overlooked.

“As we write in Think Like a Freak, a lot of the problems that we all set out to solve as society, whether they’re education problems or famine, poverty – any kind of policy problems – we often think we’re going for the real problem, or the underlying problem, when, in fact, we’re not,” explains Dubner. “We’re often attacking kind of a symptom or the part of the problem that bothers us. And sometimes you really need to redefine the problem you’re trying to solve in order to ask a better question like Kobay did to get better answers.”

Thinking like a freak also requires experimentation. It’s okay not to know all of the answers. In fact, it’s an advantage to know what you don’t know. By doing so, it frees you up to explore and discover, leading to fresh insights and solutions.

“Experimentation can give great feedback, great answers,” says Dubner. “[But] a lot of people like to assume they know the solution to a problem when they don’t.”

For more on how to think like a freak and its advantages, watch a clip from Big Think’s interview:

 

Think Like a Freak and Brea...

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