Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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What if Middle-earth was in Pakistan?

Iranian Tolkien scholar finds intriguing parallels between subcontinental geography and famous map of Middle-earth.

Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission
  • J.R.R. Tolkien hinted that his stories are set in a really ancient version of Europe.
  • But a fantasy realm can be inspired by a variety of places; and perhaps so is Tolkien's world.
  • These intriguing similarities with Asian topography show that it may be time to 'decolonise' Middle-earth.
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Freedom fighting, writing, and microdosing LSD

Join New York Times best-selling author Maria Konnikova as she leads this special edition of Big Think Live.

Step inside the minds of two of the most exciting and dynamic writers of our times.

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Art will never die. So why does it need philanthropy?

We wouldn't want to live without it, so how can we create art that's durable?

  • You cannot kill the arts. This is particularly true when you talk about poetry, which does well in a world of social media as its easy to digest in its short form.
  • Measuring success in art can be tricky, though. Impact and influence can be felt immediately, so how does art find that everlasting durability?
  • Philanthropy can encourage and enable art, and as a result, potentially lengthen its lifespan. If we can find ways to measure art in its own terms, we can effectively give a platform to new voices who complete the cultural picture.
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Use your isolation downtime to start your writing career

Sheltering at home doesn't mean you can't master your craft.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash
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Creative process: Are you in a period of ‘woodshedding’?

It's normal if you're not productive in your creativity all the time. Even the greats took breaks.

  • Creative types can feel an overwhelming sense of pressure to be prolific, especially in times like these when, in theory, free time is abundant. Creativity is a resource that takes different forms and like other resources, it has its limits.
  • According to Elizabeth Alexander, poet and president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, it's common for artists to have gaps in the chronology of their work. Familial commitments, depression, and health troubles are among the very valid reasons to not be producing creative works.
  • Borrowing a term from jazz musicians, Alexander explains that creatives can also go through a period of 'woodshedding,' a term that refers to the practice of working on one's craft and experimenting in a private place (like a wood shed) until it is ready to be shared with the world.

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