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.

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

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Learning from Failure

The Big Idea for Thursday, August 22, 2013

All competitive pursuits - whether athletics or entrepreneurship - involve failure. And so to be successful, you need to have the right attitude about failure. If Babe Ruth beat himself up after striking out 1,330 times, he wouldn't have been able to hit 714 home runs. 

In few sports is failure quite as painful as professional surfing. A giant wave can easily kill you, and once you have experienced a painful wipeout, it requires a lot of mental fortitude to paddle out and take on the next wave. This is one of the key insights of Shaun Tomson's lesson today, in which he shares with Big Think his surfer's code, or method for dealing with all sorts of personal and professional challenges in life. 


  1. 1 Riding the Wave of Life: An Interview with Shaun Tomson
    Big Think Editors Think Tank
  2. 2 Where Does Passion Come From?
    Sam McNerney Moments of Genius
  3. 3 Learning in Action: What it Means to Live on the Edge
    John Seely Brown Big Think Edge
  4. 4 There's No Success Like Failure: Why You Need to Learn to Sing the Blues
    Robert Steven Kaplan What You're Really Meant To Do

Learning from Failure

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