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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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Question: What is like to be a young writer

Dovey: I think my experience has probably been very different from a lot of other young writers because I actually initially was published in South Africa. Penguin South Africa took it on, and the publishing industry in South Africa is tiny. You don’t have agents. I mean I literally called them up on the phone and was like, “I’ve got a manuscript. Would you read it?” And they were like, “Sure. Send it in.” And so it was a very sort of localized, personal experience there. And when they took it on I was like, “Oh that’s great. It’ll be published in South Africa. You know maybe 10 people will read it,” because there’s such a small reading public there who can actually afford to buy books as well, and then who read in English. And then they actually sold it on to the UK and to America, and that’s the only reason then that I got an agent or anything. So I sort of feel like I came into this in quite a sort of safe environment. Because I felt, you know, the Penguin South Africa people were very . . . just very good to me. So I feel mostly just very privileged, I guess.

Recorded on: 12/6/07


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