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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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12,000+ Expert Videos

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Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

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World Renowned Bloggers

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

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Understanding Data

The Big Idea for Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Many otherwise educated people suffer from innumeracy – mathematical illiteracy – of a greater or lesser degree. Simultaneously, our world is becoming increasingly data-driven and numerically complex. Making decisions about everything from student loans to vaccines to who to vote for in 2012 requires a foundation in logic and statistics that a surprising number of college graduates lack.

When faced with the results of a recent study or an offer for a "foolproof" retirement savings plan, the innumerate have two equally dangerous options: 1) blanket skepticism or 2) blind faith. 

Finance expert Zvi Bodie's advice to young people, especially the mathematically disinclined, is to take personal finances as seriously as you take your health – doing your research and getting a second opinion whenever possible. Mathematician John Allen Paulos, who wrote the book on innumeracy, examines the issue and its consequences in depth. Emanuel Derman, a former Wall Street Quant, cautions against overreliance on mathematical models. And Big Think is eager for suggestions from/to the less mathematically inclined among you for keeping your financial life on track. 

Perspectives

  1. 1 Financial Planning for the Totally Innumerate (Part 1: Savings)
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  2. 2 Group Think: Financial Planning for the Innumerate
    Jason Gots Group Think
  3. 3 Innumeracy (In a Data-Driven Age)
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  4. 4 You Are Not an Equation
    Jason Gots Think Tank
 

Understanding Data

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