Henry Rollins: The One Decision That Changed My Life Forever

More or less anybody who has ever done anything newsworthy can cite, as Henry Rollins can, some turning point at which they made a risky decision that paid off, and a lifelong sense of mission not easily derailed by minor failures. 

What's the Big Idea? 


There's a lot of talk in the business-self-help sphere these days about risk and failure being essential to success. There is "fail camp." There is this book

As Nobel Laureate psychologist Daniel Kahneman told us recently, the thing about risk is that it's risky. The economy may benefit from the handful of startups that survive their first five years, but at the level of the individual, there are a lot of casualties. This is true in the arts, too, which is another kind of entrepreneurship. According to Kahneman (warning: bummer approaching), aspiring at age 20 to be an actor is a significant predictor of unhappiness at age 40. I wonder whether aspiring to nothing at age 20 is a significant predictor of mild, glassy-eyed contentment in later life . . .

So what's a young hopeful to do? Well, there are basically two options: find a more or less "safe," all-consuming career path that you can live with (there seem to be fewer and fewer of these all the time), or accept the uncertainty, pick a direction, and charge full steam ahead. And maybe work a restaurant job or two along the way. 

In the case of Henry Rollins, a serial artistic entrepreneur and iconic self-made man, the decisive moment was especially stark.

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
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Lama Rod Owens – the price of the ticket to freedom

An ordained Lama in a Tibetan Buddhist lineage, Lama Rod grew up a queer, black male within the black Christian church in the American south. Navigating all of these intersecting, evolving identities has led him to a life's work based on compassion for self and others.

Think Again Podcasts
  • "What I'm interested in is deep, systematic change. What I understand now is that real change doesn't happen until change on the inside begins to happen."
  • "Masculinity is not inherently toxic. Patriarchy is toxic. We have to let that energy go so we can stop forcing other people to do emotional labor for us."
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For most of history, humans got smarter. That's now reversing.

We were gaining three IQ points per decade for many, many years. Now, that's going backward. Could this explain some of our choices lately?

The Flynn effect appears to be in retrograde. (Credit: Shutterstock/Big Think)
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There's a new study out of Norway that indicates our—well, technically, their—IQs are shrinking, to the tune of about seven IQ points per generation.

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Lateral thinking: The reason you’ve heard of Nintendo and Marvel

Here's why generalists triumph over specialists in the new era of innovation.

Videos
  • Since the explosion of the knowledge economy in the 1990s, generalist inventors have been making larger and more important contributions than specialists.
  • One theory is that the rise of rapid communication technologies allowed the information created by specialists to be rapidly disseminated, meaning generalists can combine information across disciplines to invent something new.
  • Here, David Epstein explains how Nintendo's Game Boy was a case of "lateral thinking with withered technology." He also relays the findings of a fascinating study that found the common factor of success among comic book authors.
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