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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 a question everyone should be asking themselves?

Peter Thiel: I would focus on a set of individual questions.

“What can I do that makes sense in this broad context of this extraordinary world in the next 20, 30, 40 years?”

“What will I do that will be successful and contribute in a meaningful way towards good globalization?”--which I think is the key challenge of the 21st century.

It could be in the technology domain. It could be in the public policy domain. It could be personal, professionally. But I think that’s the frame.

And I think it would be good for people to think about the long term horizon so to speak; frame it, “Where do I see myself in 30 years, 40 years, 50 years?” I think people don’t ask that enough.

Recorded on: September 5, 2007



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