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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: Summer School for the Real World

The Big Idea for Monday, July 09, 2012

Here are the facts:

Approximately 1 out of of every 2 recent grads is unemployed or working in a job that doesn't require a bachelor's degree. That's the highest share in over a decade. Recent graduates are now more likely to work as "waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers than as engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians combined."

It's a hard time to be unemployed -- but serious effort can still bring results.

Krugman's advice? Take whatever you can get when it comes to your paycheck, and remember that you're not just a jobseeker, you're a citizen. Work is such a large part of our lives that unemployment has a way of making us see ourselves myopically. But being jobless doesn't mean you can't be a connected and engaged participant in the world. Look to other arenas of public life, besides the workplace, to find your way. The important conversations are no longer happening behind closed doors, anyway -- the most powerful people from journalists to professors to politicians have never been so transparent or accessible as they are today. 

"This is the great age of the intelligent person who wants to keep abreast and can become highly educated, can become an expert even without those formal qualifications," says Krugman.  And the world will be more ready to make use of you when this crisis ends if you have been keeping up with the world.


  1. 1 Paul Krugman: Why Today's Grads are Better off than Abe Lincoln
    Megan Erickson Summer School for the Real World
  2. 2 The Informal Job Market - And Why It Matters.
    Big Think Editors Summer School for the Real World
  3. 3 Do Androids Dream of Stealing Your Job?
    Megan Erickson Think Tank
  4. 4 Finding Inspiration: What Do You Do When You're Uninspired?
    Big Think Editors Summer School for the Real World

Today's Big Idea: Summer Sc...

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