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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 Big Idea for Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What can we learn from psychopaths? That's the provocative question at the heart of Dr. Kevin Dutton's provocative new book The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success.

In the case of Lance Armstrong, who has exhibited many of the telltale signs of psychopathy, the condition cuts both ways. On the one hand, we can learn how to be ruthless in pursuit of a goal. In Armstrong's case that meant pursuing the Tour de France, whatever the cost. As we now know, the ruthless pursuit of a goal was both Armstrong's making and his undoing.

So how do we learn to manage these tendencies which can both help us obtain what we want, but also destroy us?



  1. 1 Lance Armstrong: American Psychopath
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 The Shared Danger of Gut Reactions and Lying
    Tauriq Moosa Against the New Taboo
  3. 3 Creative Cheating: The Link Between Creativity and Dishonesty
    Sam McNerney Moments of Genius
  4. 4 Are You a Psychopath? Take the Test.
    Big Think Editors


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