Skip to content
Big Think+

21 New Learning Opportunities We Launched in July

The Big Think+ team is thrilled to present 21 new videos!

The newest additions to our video collection are full of exciting tips and tricks to improve both the personal and professional dimensions of your life. Leave your comfort zone with a little push from Gene Luen Yang, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Or, commit yourself to lifelong learning with Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel.
Learn more about implementing any of these videos for your organization.
This month’s new videos cover a wide range of topics including:


Employees who develop a mindset focused on finding purpose are likely to become engaged at work, which increases productivity and results in higher job satisfaction and performance. Big Think+’s videos on purpose focus on helping you learn to affect change by cultivating the unique inner resources you have locked inside yourself.

Breaking Through Learning Obstacles: Activate Your Neural Networks with Barbara Oakley, Professor of Engineering, Oakland University

Learning Path: Mastering Self-Knowledge


Unfortunately, our brains do not come with a user manual. If they did, one of the first things it would mention is that we have two basic modes of information processing — two completely different neural networks for thinking about things. According to engineer Barbara Oakley, knowing how these work, what each is especially good for, and how to switch between them is essential knowledge for problem-solving and learning every day of your working life.

Breaking Through Learning Obstacles: Boost Productivity with the Pomodoro Technique with Barbara Oakley, Professor of Engineering, Oakland University

Learning Path: Heightening Presence
The mind does need distractions, but if we are not careful, it is easy to fritter away an entire workday, working at such an excruciatingly slow pace that we end up exhausted in spite of having accomplished very little. In this lesson, Barbara Oakley introduces you to the Pomodoro technique, an incredibly effective antidote that helps you manage the pain of daunting work tasks and accomplish more by working with your brain’s natural tendencies.

Breaking Through Learning Obstacles: Onboard New Concepts with Metaphor with Barbara Oakley, Professor of Engineering, Oakland University

Learning Path: Cultivating Your Imagination
As Barbara Oakley explains in this video, metaphorical thinking is a powerful learning tool. It enables us to recognize known patterns in new learning areas, connecting them with what we already know and better information in memory. It also enables “outsiders” to think more creatively than experts about thorny problems—a fact that has generated more than one successful crowdsourcing platform on which non-experts tackle highly specialized challenges. 

Breaking Through Learning Obstacles: Dismiss Your Learning Myths with Barbara Oakley, Professor of Engineering, Oakland University

Learning Path: Reducing Stress
If you are a human — which you likely are since you are reading this — then your brain is a learning machine. It is wired to problem-solve and learn new skills throughout your lifespan. But, because brains differ, learners have a tendency to compare themselves to one another and find themselves wanting. In this lesson, Barbara Oakley teaches you how to see through some of the most common learning myths.

Breaking Through Learning Obstacles: Pursue Second-Skilling to Promote Career Resiliency with Barbara Oakley, Professor of Engineering, Oakland University

Learning Path: Managing Your Journey
The volatility of today’s job market is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, change can be scary and painful. On the other hand, nothing lights up the human brain like a new learning challenge. As Barbara Oakley explains here, a volatile world necessitates “second-skilling,” the deep pursuit of at least one major skill beyond what your current work demands. This necessity can unlock your full potential in ways unimaginable to the previous generation. 

The Benefits of Meditation with Deepak Chopra, Co-Author, “Super Genes”

Learning Path: Heightening Presence


Stress is an automatic biological response that wreaks havoc on our minds and bodies. Meditation is a recognized method of reducing stress, as well as improving our mental and physical health. In this lesson, Deepak Chopra touches on the benefits that regular meditation can have on a genetic level.

Reinvent Your Personal Brand: A 3-Step Process for Evolving Your Reputation with Dorie Clark, Marketing Consultant, and Author, “Entrepreneurial You” & “Reinventing You”

Learning Path: Mastering Self-Knowledge


Maybe after a meteoric rise in your early 20s, you are feeling a bit stuck in your career. Maybe you have achieved your goals in one area and are looking for a new direction. Perhaps, you never really had a brand to begin with. Whatever your motivation, it may be time to reinvent your personal brand. In this lesson, Dorie Clark recommends taking three sequential steps to get there.

Make a Commitment to Lifelong Learning with Eric Kandel, Professor of Brain Science, Columbia University

Learning Path: Improving Your Health


Too many of us get the message that “learning” is a kind of necessary torture—something imposed on us at first by parents and teachers, then internalized until we graduate. With a diploma in hand, we enter the real world, which is about “doing,” not learning. This perspective is not only patently false, says Eric Kandel, it is also dangerous to our well-being. Humans are learning creatures. Making new discoveries and acquiring new capacities stimulates brain development and, quite simply, makes us happy.


Talent is an essential component of any business and a necessary factor for successful employees. Without continuous renewal, talent fades. Big Think+’s videos on talent provide insights about acquiring new skills in business analysis, decision-making, communications, and knowledge management.

Breaking Through Learning Obstacles: Create and Select Neural Patterns to Develop Mastery with Barbara Oakley, Professor of Engineering, Oakland University

Learning Path: Honing Your Craft
Mastery is the ability to perform fairly consistently at a high level in a given area — even under changing conditions or when facing novel challenges. Experts make it look easy. But, how exactly do they manage this, given that expertise is not about doing the same exact thing over and over again mechanically? In this lesson, Barbara Oakley teaches you a technique that cognitive science calls “chunking”—the building of strong and flexible neural patterns attuned to specific kinds of challenges.

Become a Recognized Subject Matter Expert: The 3 Levers of Success with Dorie Clark, Marketing Consultant, and Author, “Entrepreneurial You” & “Reinventing You”

Learning Path: Honing Your Craft
“The truth is a lot of people hold themselves and their ideas back,” says Dorie Clark. Leadership in a networked world does not happen in a vacuum. You have to put yourself out there, creating original content, establishing social proof of your credibility and growing your network. The good news is that you do not have to spring into the fray fully formed. Engagement and dialogue are the arena in which you will refine and develop your best ideas and, in the process, establish your reputation.

Achieve Mastery Through Humility with Liv Boeree, International Poker Player

Learning Path: Honing Your Craft
The word “mastery” can be a bit intimidating. It suggests a state of unwavering perfection and conceals how the sausage is made. As it turns out, the sausage is made with humility. Liv Boeree learned this in one of the most competitive arenas of all—professional poker. In that crucible of confidence, the only way to achieve mastery is by surrounding yourself with a peer group of better players and submitting your plays to their scrutiny.

Merge Minds for Peak Performance: Induce Group Flow States like the Navy SEALs with Steven Kotler, Co-Founder, Flow Genome Project, Co-Author, “Stealing Fire”

Learning Path: Honing Your Craft


History is full of winning teams whose achievements are greater than the sum of their parts. High-performance teams have the rare ability to drop into “group flow states”—a kind of “hive mind” synergy that does not always happen automatically. But, when an organization like the Navy SEALs is consistently able to produce high-performance teams, you know there is a strategy at work. And, strategies are replicable. In this lesson, researcher Steven Kotler reveals how the SEALs do it.

Steal from the Past to Get Ahead: Study History to See Patterns Coming Together  with Timothy Snyder, History Professor, Yale University, and Author, “The Road to Unfreedom”

Learning Path: Using Analytics
“People of action,” a term many in business would apply to themselves, sometimes stereotypes historians as dreamers who are slumped inactively over dusty books. This stereotype could not be more wrong. According to Timothy Snyder, well-read historians have an almost unique ability to get ahead of patterns before they coalesce, making wise decisions that will shape the future. “People of action” would be wise to adopt their methods.


Leadership is the compass of any organizations. Without it, organizations drift without purpose or direction. Big Think+’s videos on leadership provide insights about processes for engaging customers, changing minds, rallying teams, resolving conflict, and inspiring others to action.

Take Responsibility for the Well-Being of Your Employees with Deepak Chopra, Co-Author, “Super Genes”

Learning Path: Energizing People
In this lesson, Deepak Chopra proposes that leaders take responsibility for supporting the well-being of talent. After all, employee well-being influences employee engagement, which influences customer engagement. And, all of these factors, taken together, influence investor engagement.

Deal with Online Brand Crises with Dorie Clark, Marketing Consultant, and Author, “Entrepreneurial You” & “Reinventing You”

Learning Path: Serving Customers
What does the Internet have in common with an elephant? Neither of them ever forgets. So, what should you do when your personal brand is tarnished online? How do you keep negative publicity or gossip from sinking you? The answer depends, to some extent, on the nature of the crisis. But, in every case, your goal should be to bury the negative with proactive, positive new moves. In this lesson, Dorie Clark offers some solutions to tackle the problem of persistent bad press and negativity online.

Avoid the Peter Principle: Allow Talent to Rise on the Basis of Ability with Howard Gardner, Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard University

Learning Path: Energizing People


The “Peter principle” is the observation that in hierarchical organizations, people tend to be promoted until they reach their personal level of incompetence, where they remain until they are either fired or quit. This is a poor way to do business — and, it is one to avoid. Rehiring is costly and inefficient, as is paying people who are incompetent at their jobs. So, how can managers and leaders sidestep this tendency? In this lesson, Howard Gardner offers an ability-assessment strategy for promotions.


In our increasingly global and connected world, having a diversity and inclusion program or initiatives is an incredibly important issue for every business. Virtually no matter where you are in the world, you will interact with people of different ages, genders, backgrounds, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and experiences in your personal and professional life. Here are a few videos that can help your organization embrace diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone to Find a New One with Gene Luen Yang, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Learning Path: Identity and Belonging


For those who have ever had the experience, there is no comfort like that of curling up with a work of fiction that sweeps you away into a different time, place, and life than the one to which you are accustomed. But, most adults either stop reading altogether or their reading ends up limited to certain genres, topics, or authors. What is lost is immeasurable: a lifelong conduit of emotional growth. In this lesson, Gene Luen Yang offers strategies for reading works that push your personal boundaries.

Power Your Organization with Multiple Intelligences with Howard Gardner, Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard University

Learning Path: Management and Understanding
For most of the 20th century, intelligence was seen as measurable and linked to the kinds of cognitive skills prioritized on IQ tests. Howard Gardner’s groundbreaking work on Multiple Intelligence theory paints a very different picture, demonstrating that human aptitudes are extraordinarily diverse and that motor abilities and emotional awareness, for example, deserve separate recognition as forms of intelligence. As Gardner explains in this lesson, multiple intelligences should matter a great deal to businesses. 


Without a culture that nurtures and promotes innovation, companies wither. Big Think+’s videos on innovation help users to explore new ways of thinking and tools for innovation that are centered around the core areas of operation for organizations.

Breaking Through Learning Obstacles: Get Unstuck from a Thinking Rut with Barbara Oakley, Professor of Engineering, Oakland University

Learning Path: Organizing for Agility


For all of its marvels, the human mind is notoriously lazy — reluctant to use energy except when absolutely necessary. As we grow, we develop routinized ways of handling challenges, leaving unused neural pathways to die off. This can free up mental energy for new tasks, but it can also get us stuck doing things the same way over and over again — even when there is a better approach. Here, Barbara Oakley offers strategies for overcoming the phenomenon known as “einstellung.”


Selling is not a skill that is limited to only salespeople. Data shows that most people spend nearly half of their time on “non-sales selling” skills such as influencing, persuading, and convincing others to adopt their point of view. Big Think+’s sales and marketing videos offer strategies and insights for helping people embrace their inner “salespeople” to connect with others.

Use Email Lists to Connect with Your Customers with Dorie Clark, Marketing Consultant, and Author, “Entrepreneurial You” and “Reinventing You”

Learning Path: Nurture Customer Relationships


Building a strong email list and using it effectively is one of the best things you can do for your career. Why? As social media platforms have grown and gone public, their responsibilities to shareholders have resulted in algorithmic tweaks that can bury your content, hiding it even from people who have actively signed up to receive it. In this lesson, Dorie Clark offers strategies for launching and maintaining successful email campaigns.


There is a common saying that if you never take a risk, you will not get anywhere. However, taking unnecessary risk also is something that should be avoided. Big Think+’s videos on risk mitigation aim to help you develop strong risk management, mitigation, and mindfulness habits.

Distinguish Rhetoric from Risk: Use Historical Methods to Analyze Present-Day Problems with Timothy Snyder, History Professor, Yale University

Learning Path: Cultivating a Risk Intelligent Culture


When you are facing a problem or challenge in the workplace, especially one that has some urgency or a sense of crisis attached to it, take a page from the historian’s playbook to avoid “getting played” by the rhetoric of the moment. Timothy Snyder says that good historians do not get ruffled by the news cycle. They are not easy prey to political fear-mongering. And, when faced with an alleged problem, they tend to do three things to maintain equilibrium and a sense of perspective: 1) Find familiar aspects, 2) be skeptical of sources, and 3) see time as a flow.

Join the #1 community of L&D professionals

Sign up to receive new research and insights every other Tuesday.