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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.

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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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Improvise Your Career

The Big Idea for Tuesday, June 19, 2012

As dramatic as Barack Obama's life story may be, his path to the White House was rather orthodox. He went to Harvard. Law School. State Senate. U.S. Senate. President. 

That's probably the path you need to take if you too hope to become the most powerful man or woman in the free world. For the rest of us with slightly lower ambitions, there is also pressure to follow a clearly defined career track and stick to it.

On the other hand, in today's dramatically shifting economy we can see that flexibility can be a much more important still than constancy. In today's lesson, former Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman describes how success in her career all comes back to taking advantage of opportunities, and resisting the need to be overly goal-oriented. 

How does this apply to your own career strategy?


  1. 1 Do You Have a Career Plan? That's Nice. Now It's Time to Improvise.
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 Quit Your Day Job, Do What You Love. Peter Thiel Did It, Why Can't You?
    Kara Finnegan Summer School for the Real World
  3. 3 Career Angst? Go Back to Kindergarten
    Parag and Ayesha Khanna Hybrid Reality
  4. 4 David Gray’s Worst Career Advice
    David Gray

Improvise Your Career

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