WATCH: Social Capital — If You Want to Succeed, Start Making Friends

Our successes and failures are similarly linked to others, though we may feel their effects only personally. Every choice you make, every behavior you exhibit, and even every desire you have finds its roots in the social universe.

 

We're more than halfway through our rollout of Big Think's Floating University video playlist, featuring some of the most mind-changing ideas delivered by America's leading thinkers. In this discussion, Harvard medical doctor and sociologist Nicholas Christakis looks at our world through the lens of the society we all belong to.


"No man is an island entire of itself; every man

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main,"

said the poet John Donne. And that is essentially where sociology picks up. Our experience of the world, which we feel personally, is inextricably shaped by other human beings. Our successes and failures are similarly linked to others, though we may feel their effects only personally.

Every choice you make, every behavior you exhibit, and even every desire you have finds its roots in the social universe. Whether you’re absorbing altruism performed by someone you’ll never meet or deciding to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, collective phenomena affect every aspect of your life.

Stand up against religious discrimination – even if it’s not your religion

As religious diversity increases in the United States, we must learn to channel religious identity into interfaith cooperation.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Religious diversity is the norm in American life, and that diversity is only increasing, says Eboo Patel.
  • Using the most painful moment of his life as a lesson, Eboo Patel explains why it's crucial to be positive and proactive about engaging religious identity towards interfaith cooperation.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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NASA's idea for making food from thin air just became a reality — it could feed billions

Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.

Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
  • Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
  • The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
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Where the evidence of fake news is really hiding

When it comes to sniffing out whether a source is credible or not, even journalists can sometimes take the wrong approach.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • We all think that we're competent consumers of news media, but the research shows that even journalists struggle with identifying fact from fiction.
  • When judging whether a piece of media is true or not, most of us focus too much on the source itself. Knowledge has a context, and it's important to look at that context when trying to validate a source.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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