What is Big Think?  

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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Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

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IdeaFeed Posts

Big ideas in the news from around the web

IdeaFeed

How to Sleep Smarter

Missing
about 4 years ago

Diet, naps and exercise are three areas important to a good night's rest, says Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan. Eight hours isn't a magic number; relax and let your body determine the right amount. "'The biggest myths are that we need seven or eight hours a day, or that we shouldn't wake up in the night ...

IdeaFeed

The Myth of Ronald Reagan

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Today's conservatives have conjured a mythic Reagan who never compromised with America's enemies and never shrank from a fight. But the real Reagan did both those things, often," says Peter Beinart. After his polemic The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment, Beinart takes on the myth of ...

IdeaFeed

Don't Sympathize Too Much

Missing
about 4 years ago

After working in Tanzania, a British doctor reflects on the pitfalls of expressing excessive amounts of sympathy, even in the face of abject poverty. "A man able to commiserate only with himself would surely be neither admirable nor attractive. But every virtue can become deformed by excess ...

IdeaFeed

Creating a Global Internet

Missing
about 4 years ago

Google's new translation tools are helping to make a truly universal Internet by translating pages into 57 different languages; the company is developing photo and voice recognition, too. "Those who can only read in their native language are 'missing this extraordinary opportunity to get much, much ...

IdeaFeed

Boring Books Win Awards

Missing
about 4 years ago

"There was a great fashion in the last century, and it's still with us, of the unenjoyable novel," says Martin Amis. "And these are the novels which win prizes." "During an hour-long talk Amis also criticised the work of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett — considered by many to be among the most ...

IdeaFeed

Mental Disease, Secondhand Smoke

Missing
about 4 years ago

An recent English study has found that exposure to secondhand smoke makes non-smokers more vulnerable to psychological distress and hospitalization for mental illness. "Cigarette smokers have been shown to have more psychological problems than nonsmokers do, and new evidence suggests that nonsmokers ...

IdeaFeed

A Stable Economy for Africa

Missing
about 4 years ago

Gary Becker and Richard Posner weigh in on African development, which has weathered the current economic storm better than any advanced economy. Will Africa finally take off? Becker, a Nobel Laureate, is optimistic: "Several factors explain why Africa’s future looks rather bright. Probably number ...

IdeaFeed

Should Humans Procreate?

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Is a world with people in it better than one without?" asks Peter Singer of Princeton. How do we justify brining new human life into the world amidst so much suffering and unprecedented crises? "Few of us would think it right to inflict severe suffering on an innocent child, even if that were the ...

IdeaFeed

The Internet Will Benefit Society

Missing
about 4 years ago

Those who worry that the Internet promotes mediocrity should consider the printing press, says Clay Shirky: pulp writing accompanied peer reviewed science and booming literacy rates. "Literate societies become literate by investing extraordinary resources, every year, training children to read. Now ...

IdeaFeed

America Needs Effective Regulation

Missing
about 4 years ago

The bad name given to corporate oversight, i.e. government regulation, deligitimizes its role in society and makes ready financial crises; among other things, regulators deserve more pay. "The obvious problems of graft and the revolving door between government and industry were really symptoms of a ...

IdeaFeed

Learn To Do One Thing Well

Missing
about 4 years ago

In our world of infinite and instant information, learning one skill deeply could equip us with critical thinking tools necessary to cope with our times, which change faster now than ever. "In our present world of high speed, instant response, and multimedia, words like discipline are little used ...

IdeaFeed

Conservative Propaganda

Missing
about 4 years ago

The Guardian contests the stereotype that Americans are ignorant of history but, the English paper believes, contemporary conservative movements do appropriate the past for political gain. "There's a fine line between using historical references as educational tools and using them as propaganda ...

IdeaFeed

Space Tourism

Missing
about 4 years ago

The successful launch of a private rocket into outer space, which could one day take tourists on suborbital flights, comes just as the U.S. government makes deep cuts at NASA. "The launch on June 4th of a Falcon 9 rocket, built by SpaceX, from Cape Canaveral, in Florida, is a turning point in the ...

IdeaFeed

Civil War in Afghanistan

Missing
about 4 years ago

Former CIA station chief and director of counter-terrorism, Robert Grenier says peace efforts in Afghanistan demonstrate a house divided against itself — an open ended civil war could follow. "The current trajectory of events in Afghanistan is already tending toward a de-facto 'soft' partition of ...

IdeaFeed

Alien Life in Outer Space

Missing
about 4 years ago

Scientists are working to rule out non-biological explanations for conditions present on Titan, a moon of Saturn, that suggest there could be life on the moon's surface. "'Scientific conservatism suggests that a biological explanation should be the last choice after all non-biological explanations ...