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Today's Big Idea: Refamiliarization

Today’s Big Idea: Refamiliarization

We can only overcome our estrangement with people and products through refamiliarization, or the process of becoming reacquainted with humanity. 

In our data-driven age we tend to want to get to the big picture as quickly and effortlessly as possible, so much so, in fact, that we can easily lose sight of the people behind the numbers.


In other words, while an economist crunches numbers ostensibly to help people improve their lives, or at the very least to help limit human misery, can he or she do their job effectively without seeing the person who will be affected by the outcome?

In today’s lesson, Peter Henry, dean of the Stern School of Business at NYU shares a story from his childhood in Jamaica that helps him stay focused on why he is doing what he is doing. As he tells Big Think, he is trying to figure out how to help people help themselves.

In many professions it is easy to lose sight of people, and relationships among peoples, as opposed to the commodities that are exchanged. We can only overcome that through refamiliarization, or the process of becoming reacquainted with humanity. 


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