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A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

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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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Question: What’s the biggest mistake of your career?

Kurt Andersen: I've never made a mistake in my career. Geez. I really do tend -- I have made lots and lots of mistakes but I tend to erase them from my mind. You know, every day I make a mistake, as I try to write a piece of fiction or as I try to write a story. In a larger sense, I make mistakes thinking, "Oh, I've done this kind of thing; therefore, of course, I can do this roughly similar, adjacent thing." It's the mistakes of hubris, I suppose. But to my mind it's better to make those mistakes and say, "No, maybe I can't tap dance even though I can tell jokes." It's better to make those mistakes, in the attempt to live the Amateur Spirit if you will, than to stick in one’s little silo where one has proven oneself. I think the errors of hackdome are more dangerous than the errors of over reach, and I've over reached. I will grant that.

Recorded on: October 13, 2009


The Importance of Mistakes

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