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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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The Big Idea for Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Sherlock Holmes really understood the concept of mindfulness long before it was on the radar of any psychologists," says Maria Konnikova, author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes

For Holmes, the entire thought process is akin to a scientist who is doing a research experiment. He is applying the scientific method to thought. A state of mindfulness is necessary to optimize your mental resources because those resources are finite. Mindfulness requires a prepared state of mind that allows you to parse through data and only focus on what is truly important. And then, through thousands of hours of practice you will be able to hone the skills of the imagination in order to see new possibilities.  

This is a particularly useful way of looking at your own mindspace when it comes to memory. Do you want to devote your mind to instantly recalling information? Computers can do that. So in today's lesson, Maria Konnikova show us how, like Holmes, you can train your brain to function as a retrieval mechanism. You can use your brain to focus on where to find things, like Sherlock Holmes referencing his files. 



  1. 1 How To Use Google Like Sherlock Holmes
    Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd Big Think TV
  2. 2 Is Google Making Us Better Decision Makers?
    Gary Small
  3. 3 The Neuroscience of Internet Addiction
    Nicholas Carr
  4. 4 The Twenty-First Century Brain
    Sam Wang


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