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The Art of Asking the Right Questions

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The Art of Asking the Right Questions

big think,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

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Ask a dumb question? Experts conclude you could be the smartest one in the room. 

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Don’t let your intellectual insecurities impede you from asking dumb questions. Some of the seemingly most obvious questions, such as, “Why would banks lend money to people who stand next to no chance of paying it back?” could have prevented the 2008 US subprime mortgage crisis. Journalist Warren Berger, geobiologist Hope Jahren, experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats and blogger Tim Ferriss encourage you to maximize your success by voicing the next brilliant dumb question.


Questions, not answers, launch breakthroughs and innovations.

A new paradigm has captivated Silicon Valley and other centers of innovation around the world, and it’s one that may seem like illogical thinking at first blush: It’s that “questions are becoming more valuable than answers.” If you trace some of the world’s most innovative breakthroughs back to the precise moment their creators conceived of them, you’ll discover that most were born from a great question.

Access to the world’s information has never been higher, and answers are literally at the tip of a finger. Thus, it’s never been more important to ask great questions to help you process all the information available and to find the next answers.

Alas, educational systems emphasize answers and devalue exploratory questions.

Four-year-olds ask as many as 300 questions every day as they attempt to explore and understand their world. By the time a teenager...

About the Speakers

Journalist Warren Berger is the author of A More Beautiful Question. Geobiologist Hope Jahren is the author of The Story of More and Lab Girl. Jonathon Keats is an experimental philosopher, and Tim Ferriss, a blogger and investor, is the author of The 4-Hour Workweek and Tools of Titans

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