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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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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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Well what I do for a living is to try to make sense out of the American national past, and to pass on both to students . . . my students in the classroom at Stanford and to readers what my settled understanding is of one or another part of this great narrative of the . . . of the whole American experience. I’m not a historian, strictly speaking. My undergraduate training was in a program called American Studies. And I deliberately chose that because I wanted more than one disciplinary perspective on the general inquiry that I was setting out to make my life’s work, which is the nature of the American historical experience. So in my case, my graduate program at Yale in the ‘60s was two parts history, one part economics, and one part literature. So I’ve tried, I think, in my work over the last several decades to bring those various disciplinary perspectives, and information, and viewpoints from those various domains of knowledge and inquiry to bear on virtually all the work that I do. I’ve tried to teach people about the complexity of the past; about the need to be cautious in forming judgments about it; about the need to be disciplined in the use of evidence; the need to have an appreciation for the contradictions of human nature. And the suspicious character of all simple explanations for everything Recorded on: 7/4/07

 

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