How to Choose Your Company's Next CEO

When it comes to finding a successor for a top executive, an "inside outsider" might be the best option. As Harvard Business School Professor Joe Bower explains in his Big Think interview, an incoming CEO should have a sense of what a company is going to have to change as it looks to stay competitive the future. While insiders have probably had a sip or two of the company's Kool-Aid—and believe in the organization to the extent that it doesn't need changing—an "inside outsider" can have enough perspective to initiate radical change if needed.


Why have we seen such a dearth of leaders in today's business world? Bower thinks it stems from the fact that the financial system has drifted away from the industrial and commercial system; the leaders of financial institutions have found they can make a lot of money by building organizations simply comprised of traders.

Bower also touches upon the future prosperity of the United States, which he believes won't be impacted by China and India as much as some believe. Even though China and India are expected to have as much as 40 percent of the world's GDP by midcentury, incomes in those countries will still be one-third of those in developed nations.

Should you defend the free speech rights of neo-Nazis?

Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
  • In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
  • 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.
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Belly fat: Gut bacteria checks could lead to personalized diets

The reason one diet does not suit all may be found in our guts.

Media for Medical / Getty Images
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NASA releases stunning image of ISS crossing in front of the sun

Strangely, the sun showed no sunspots at the time the photo was taken.

Image source: Rainee Colacurcio
Surprising Science
  • The photo shows the International Space Station as it orbits the Earth, as it does every 90 minutes.
  • The photo is remarkable because it offers a glimpse of the star at a time when there were no sunspots.
  • In November, astronauts aboard the ISS plan to grow Española chili pepper plants.
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Learn to design the life you love

Part 1: Deconstruction

Photo by Vadim Sherbakov
Big Think Edge
  • Deconstruction is exactly what it sounds like—a method for breaking your life down into its simplest component parts.
  • Ayse Birsel argues that deconstruction is like taking a camera apart: you can't possibly put it back together in the same way.
  • Be sure to check out Design the Life You Love, Part 2: Reconstruction to learn how to put the pieces of your life back together in a realistic way. Sign up for Big Think Edge to see exclusive more content!