Photo by Kevin Fleming/Corbis via Getty Images
  • Robert Oppenheimer wrote a telling letter of recommendation for Richard Feynman in 1943.
  • After praising Feynman's intellectual prowess, Oppenheimer used most of the ink discussing the strength of his character.
  • The letter is a stark reminder of the importance of emotional intelligence.
Keep reading Show less

Is social media killing intellectual humility?

"One way the internet distorts our picture of ourselves is by feeding the human tendency to overestimate our knowledge of how the world works," writes philosophy professor Michael Patrick Lynch.

Image: Shutterstock / Big Think
  • Social media echo chambers have made us overconfident in our knowledge and abilities.
  • Social psychologists have shown that publicly committing to an opinion makes you less willing to change your mind.
  • To avoid a descent into epistemic arrogance and tribalism, we need to use social media with deep humility.
Keep reading Show less

#10: Become an intellectual explorer | Top 10 2019

The countdown is on for our top 10 videos of the year! Want to be smarter than you were yesterday? This video will teach you to have better conversations using 3 key design principles.

  • Big Think's #10 most popular video of 2019 will teach you how to expand your intellect through the art of insightful conversation. First up: What is a great conversation? They are the ones that leave us feeling smarter or more curious, with a sense that we have discovered something, understood something about another person, or have been challenged.
  • Emily Chamlee-Wright, president and CEO of the Institute for Humane Studies, details the 3 design principles that lead to great conversations: humility, critical thinking, and sympathetic listening.
  • Critical thinking is the celebrated cornerstone of liberalism, but next time you're in a challenging and rewarding conversation, try to engage sympathetic listening too. Understanding why another intelligent person holds ideas that are at odds with your own is often more enlightening than merely hunting for logic errors.
Keep reading Show less

Become an intellectual explorer: Master the art of conversation

Want to be smarter than you were yesterday? Learn to have better conversations using these 3 design principles.

  • What is a great conversation? They are the ones that leave us feeling smarter or more curious, with a sense that we have discovered something, understood something about another person, or have been challenged.
  • There are 3 design principles that lead to great conversations: humility, critical thinking, and sympathetic listening.
  • Critical thinking is the celebrated cornerstone of liberalism, but next time you're in a challenging and rewarding conversation, try to engage sympathetic listening too. Understanding why another intelligent person holds ideas that are at odds with your own is often more enlightening than merely hunting for logic errors.
Keep reading Show less

What do mentors do? They introduce you to your future self.

Bishop Omar Jahwar explains that before mentors can inspire others, they have to be inspired themselves.

  • What kind of work does a mentor do? Many expect that mentors can only help others that have been in the same situation as their mentees, but this is not the case.
  • What matters is that mentors can see their mentees' potential so that they can help them move away from the situation that they are in and towards the person that they actually are.
  • 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.