What is Big Think?  

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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

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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 Edge

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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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Want to Lead? Learn to Ask the Right Questions

May 22, 2014, 12:00 AM
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Have you ever walked away from a sales meeting wondering what you could have said differently to a potential client? Or do you feel as though you’re only wasting your breath trying to convince your employees to believe in a new initiative or direction? Are you tired of telling your children to clean up their rooms? Convincing others can’t come from you—it has to come from them. How does this happen? Learn to ask the right questions.

Daniel Pink is a management expert and the author of five bestselling business books, including Drive. He stopped by Big Think's studio to talk about his latest book To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.

“The key here is that we tend to think that persuasion or motivation is something that one person does to another,” says Pink. “What the social science tells us very clearly is that it’s really something that people do for themselves. And your job as a persuader, as a motivator, is to reset the context and surface people’s own reasons for doing something. Because it works a lot better.”

How does one do that? Pink gives the following hypothetical example: If your child’s room is a pigsty, ask him two questions that will get to the bottom of how to change his behavior. The first question: “From 1 to 10, how ready are you to clean your room?” If the answer is low, like a 2, then ask the counter-intuitive follow-up question:“Why a 2? Why not a 1?” The child will then start to articulate his own reasons for why he's not that messy, essentially giving reasons for doing something. But if the answer is indeed a 1, then there may be external factors that the child needs help with.

“When people have their own reasons for doing something – not yours,” Pink says, “they believe those reasons more deeply and adhere to the behavior more strongly.”

For more on Pink’s insights into how to motivate others into action, watch the clip from Big Think’s interview:

 

Want to Lead? Learn to Ask ...

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