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We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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60 Second Reads Posts

Big ideas in one minute

1 7 12

60 Second Reads

The Advantage of Being Young and Fearless

Fearlesss
about 1 year ago

At the age of 16 I dropped out of school to start my first company and I think the advantage that ended up happening at that time is when you’re young you really don’t have the concept of failure. You don’t really have the concept of fear.   That’s why even when you’re younger than that you can ...

60 Second Reads

How Complexity Theory Illuminates History

Romeburning
about 1 year ago

If you want to try to understand how the historical process works, it helps to know a bit about Complexity Theory.  It comes from the natural sciences. It’s the kind of thing that physicists talk about, the kind of people who go to the Santé Fe Institute. It’s hugely helpful if you’re trying ...

60 Second Reads

The Value of Learning a Second Language

Shutterstock_131376311
about 1 year ago

Learning a second language has fantastic benefits for kids.  If you put aside the most obvious reason for learning a second language that allows you to communicate with a lot of people that you couldn’t communicate with before, it also really helps brain development.   Starting as early as ...

60 Second Reads

Why Math Can't Bail Us Out

Shutterstock_129116279
about 1 year ago

I don’t think mathematical models can do much to get us out of the mess that we’re in.  There’s a limit.  The mess that we’re in currently in the United States and maybe in the world in general, I don’t think it’s really a mess brought about by mathematics or curable by mathematics.   You ...

60 Second Reads

Why I Live By Humanism

Shutterstock_131349185
about 1 year ago

The narrative I live by is the humanist narrative. If we are looking for morality, if we’re looking for vices and virtues, we can find them both in humanity—in human creations, human culture, humanity’s endeavor to develop our reason and our emotions and developing not only relationships between ...

60 Second Reads

Why I Go to Burning Man

Burningman-picture
about 1 year ago

I am actually on the board of Burning Man now, and for those of you who don't know, Burning Man is the largest art event, annually, in the world.  It’s in the Nevada desert.  And you’ll see the founders of Google there.  You’ll see all kinds of famous people there.  But you also see lots of people ...

60 Second Reads

The State of Pure Research

Bell-labs-holmdel-2-1-1
about 1 year ago

I think it remains to be seen whether Google is going to finance pure research into science the way Bell Labs did.  Microsoft has created a research laboratory with the stated intention of encouraging a lot of pure research that may or may not bear fruit for the company, and I hope that that'll be ...

60 Second Reads

Goals Are What Help You Get Satisfaction

Jagger
about 1 year ago

If you look at life satisfaction and what makes people satisfied with their lives, most of it has a lot to do with people’s goals. So when we ask people how important money is to them when they are 18 and we look at their income at age 45, we find that the people that said at age 18 that money didn ...

60 Second Reads

Einstein's Double Edged Sword

Shutterstock_111581531
about 1 year ago
by Joi Ito

I think it’s important to have people who inspire people to think.  But it’s really, really bad to have gurus who you look for the answer from because I think the key is, you want to question authority for yourself.   So to the extent that an Einstein gets people to want to open the black box ...

60 Second Reads

Don't Blame Religion for All Violence

Shutterstock_101451244
over 1 year ago

There are some religion-bashers out there who make it sound as though religion is the source of all violence and conflict in the world.  Richard Dawkins has come close to saying something like that, so did Christopher Hitchens. And it’s just empirically false.   The greatest bloodshed in the ...