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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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The Rules of Power

The Big Idea for Friday, August 30, 2013

This summer has witnessed some spectacular falls from grace, from Anthony Weiner to Alex Rodriguez to the hedge fund manager Steven Cohen. 

What these three fallen heroes have in common is they engaged in risky behavior. But why did they make such poor decisions and what can we learn from them?

Today's lesson identifies seven attitudes, beliefs and other factors that contribute to risky behavior, such as hedonic adaptation - the pleasure and excitement of something new wearing off - and amygdala hijack - how brains under stress are not properly equipped for self-control.



  1. 1 7 Reasons Why Powerful People Fall
    Steven Mundahl In Their Own Words
  2. 2 Bruce Bueno de Mesquita: Power Corrupts, Corruption Empowers
    Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd Big Think TV
  3. 3 The Evolution of Recklessness
    Laurence Steinberg

The Rules of Power

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