British comedian Stephen Fry is best known for his work as an actor, writer and, more recently, a new media aficionado, with some million-plus Twitter followers eagerly awaiting his every digital dispatch. But Fry's body of work is staggering. The short version: He's directed two documentaries, hosted one of the most popular British television shows ever, penned a popular tech column, written four books, starred in a stream of major sitcoms and movies, and managed to have a successful radio show. With most of these pursuits already well-documented, his Big Think sit-down centered around the ideas and experiences that made him who he is.
Along with identifying the writers and philosophers that have influenced him, Fry spoke about the value of assuming that there is no afterlife. He also spoke about how Oscar Wilde has been a tremendous influence in his life and named a few of his other heroes.
Finally, Fry offered plenty of advice for his fans: don't sell out, and do encourage "the lubricant" of laughter for a happy family. His quip about the punishing nature of an eternity with one's family was lost on a Mormon tour guide in Salt Lake City.
Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
You can say 'no' to things, and you should. Do it like this.
- Give yourself permission to say "no" to things. Saying yes to everything is a fast way to burn out.
- Learn to say no in a way that keeps the door of opportunity open: No should never be a one-word answer. Say "No, but I could do this instead," or, "No, but let me connect you to someone who can help."
- If you really want to say yes but can't manage another commitment, try qualifiers like "yes, if," or "yes, after."
Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.
- Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
- Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
- Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.
- Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
- Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
- The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
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