The problem with problem solving? It isn’t ridiculous enough.

Ask very silly questions to spur very serious innovation.

  • To get really innovative solutions to complex problems, you need to abandon logic, says Dan Seewald.
  • Asking provocative and ridiculous 'what if?' questions pushes us down lateral paths of thinking versus the vertical or logical path. The latter approach is practical but it doesn't break new ground.
  • Breaking with tradition through lateral thinking allows us to solve really serious problems, from climate change to political turmoil. Or, as Dan Seewald explains, it could just help you solve all your laundry headaches.
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How to remember everything you read

Tips on how to intensify engagement with what you're reading.

  • One of the ways you can deconstruct an argument is being actively attuned to what you're reading.
  • To better remember content, take a blank sheet of paper and write down what you know about that subject. You can write it in bullet points.
  • When you later come back to what you're reading, go to that sheet and skim it – it will prime your brain for what you're going to read.
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We Were Built to Connect with Other People—Here’s How to Be Better At It

Before you follow another "tip" or "trick," there's something Alan Alda wants you to know.

Alan Alda doesn't want you to take "pro tips" from anyone—not even Alan Alda. When it comes to his area of expertise—public speaking and empathetic communication—there are no hacks or shortcuts; if you want to be a world-class public speaker, you have to earn those stripes through the process of deeply understanding what it is to talk, listen, and connect. Alda calls tips intellectual abstractions; it's akin to the difference between information and knowledge, between parroting a few words in French and speaking the actual language. But, when pushed by yours truly at Big Think, Alda does give up the goods (willingly—we promise no Alan Aldas were harmed in the making of this video). His best tip to become a better communicator is what he calls the three rules of three. Listen to his practical hints for becoming a communication pro but, as he remarks, try to get there organically through the process. Alan Alda's most recent book is If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?

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