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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: Which writers have influenced your writing?

Dovey: Well Coetzee, the South African writer has been a kind of gold standard of writing always for my family. My mom was a literary critic, and she sort of wrote about him in the ‘80s when he was only well known in South Africa. So he’s always had this kind of mythic status for me as a writer. And the ways that he has steered quite, you know . . . quite purposefully away from autobiography. I mean obviously there’s elements of that; but that he’s working always at a theoretical level and really unpacking or deconstructing different discourses from within. And so I . . . That kind of writing that’s working on all these different levels, I think, is just amazing. And I don’t know how you do it but . . . (chuckles) you know. Recorded on: 12/6/07


Which writers have influenc...

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