2020 Great American Think-Off Question Released

The Cultural Center in New York Mills is pleased to announce the 2020 Great American Think-Off question: Which is more important: to win or to play by the rules?

This is the 28th annual Think-Off topic–a classic philosophical quandary meant to inspire thinkers from all walks of life.

Winning and playing by the rules are both highly valued in our society, but they are sometimes in conflict. Information abounds on both sides of this topic; a quick Google search reveals stories from college campuses, parenting blogs, Harvard Business Review, ESPN, and the Bible.

What is YOUR experience with winning or losing? Did you play by the rules, or not? How did you feel if you won but cheated? How did you feel if you lost to someone else who didn’t follow the rules?

These are the topics we want to hear about – your personal experiences with winning, losing, and playing by the rules, or not. Which is more important? How did you come to this belief?

All are invited to submit their answer in essay form for a chance to win $500 and participate in the live debate on June 13, 2020 in New York Mills, Minnesota.

The Great American Think-Off is a philosophical essay and debate competition held each year in rural New York Mills, MN (population 1,224). 2020 marks the 28th year of the contest, which is free to enter and open to all, and has received thousands of entries from all 50 states and a number of international countries throughout its nearly three decade history.

To enter, submit an essay of 750 words or less by April 1, 2020.  Four finalists will be selected to receive $500 each, plus travel expenses and a chance to win the title of America’s Greatest Thinker at this year’s annual debate held on June 13, 2020 in New York Mills, MN.

Essays can be submitted online at www.think-off.org (preferred), by email to [email protected], or by mail to Great American Think-Off, c/o Cultural Center, P.O. Box 246, New York Mills, MN 56567. Finalists will be announced May 1, 2020.

For additional contest details, visit www.think-off.org or call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339.

About the Great American Think-Off: 
Now in its 28th year, The Great American Think-Off is an exhibition of civil disagreement between powerful ideas being explored by everyday people. Designed to bring philosophy down from the ivory towers of academia and accessible for all, the contest has received national acclaim including coverage by C-SPAN, the New York Times, and The Today Show. 

The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center, located in the rural farm and manufacturing town of New York Mills, Minnesota, sponsors this annual philosophy contest and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to participate. The Cultural Center is a rural hub for creativity, community vitality, and lifelong learning in the arts. Since our incorporation in 1990, we have been passionate about connecting people to artists and rich cultural experiences in rural Minnesota, celebrating the local and being a window to the world.

To get a better sense of the Think-Off, find details, historical information, and a list of the past 27 years of questions and winners on the event website think-off.org.