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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: Serendipity

The Big Idea for Saturday, November 03, 2012

It may seem like an odd thing to consider the idea of serendipity right now, considering how unlucky so many people are who lost their power or their homes, or even loved ones. However, many of us are indeed lucky, and ought to be grateful for our good fortune.

It's not just luck or a "happy accident" in every instance. Serendipity is something that can be created, Tony Tjan argues in today's lesson. How can you create your own luck? The first step is self-analysis. What type of person are you? What are your personalty traits and what strengths do those suggest? Answering these questions will go a long way to increasing your "serendipity quotient," which may not save you from the random violence of a storm, but can help you position yourself for success in the 21st century. 


  1. 1 How to Create Your Own Luck
    Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd Big Think TV
  2. 2 The Calculus of Risk-Taking
    Laurence Gonzales
  3. 3 Can We Control Our Luck?
    Alfred Mele
  4. 4 Luck and The Researcher: Kahneman's Path to Prospect Theory
    Maria Konnikova Artful Choice

Today's Big Idea: Serendipity

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