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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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Today's Big Idea: Persuasion

The Big Idea for Tuesday, November 06, 2012

How do you change someone's mind? You might say that it is important for the person you are trying to win over to have an open mind. And yet, it is more important for you to have an open mind. Do you understand the other person's mindset? If not, how will you ever be able to convince them you are right?

The skill of persuasion is fundamental to the way humans communicate -- whether it is in the superficial social world of a Jane Austen novel or in the context of the U.S. Presidential election. And yet, the key to a persuasive argument in either case is not about being able to overwhelm someone with brilliance, but rather, enter into their own mindset. 


  1. 1 How to Speak Republican: It's About Results, Not Rights
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 How to Win Someone Over
    Peter Guber
  3. 3 How to Influence Others
    Robert Cialdini
  4. 4 How to Win an Argument With a Vegetarian
    Matthew C. Nisbet Age of Engagement

Today's Big Idea: Persuasion

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