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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Think Tank Posts

Big ideas in little doses

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Think Tank

The Book is Dead. Long Live the Book!

Books_death
over 2 years ago

Unscientific Poll: On average, during a typical New York City morning subway commute, Summer 2011, there are four people reading on tablets and e-readers, and five reading print books, up from about 1 to 7 two summers ago. Outside of rush hour, many a toddler can be seen tapping away at an ...

Think Tank

Ape, All Too Human

Projectnim
over 2 years ago

If you're heading to the movies this summer, chances are you'll see apes acting like humans on the big screen. In two very different films released this month, seemingly human or super-human intelligence is achieved in apes--in one case through the manipulation of nature, and in the other case ...

Think Tank

Fear vs. Growth

Fear_v._growth
over 2 years ago

What’s the Big Idea? It’s easy to be bold when you’ve got nothing to lose. But reinventing yourself from a position of power takes faith – faith that trying something new won’t result in public humiliation, the downfall of those who depend on you, or the unraveling of everything you’ve worked so ...

Think Tank

How to Master the Art of Office Politics

The-office-2
over 2 years ago

What's the Big Idea? Man is by nature a political animal, said Aristotle. In other words, we are a creature whose nature it is to live and toil in a polis. In our contemporary context, we are a creature who must negotiate a complex network of relationships that is the twenty-first century ...

Think Tank

The Brain Drain Game: Why Everybody Loses.

Immigration
over 2 years ago

What's The Big Idea?  The issue of immigration sits on the fault lines of culture, politics, and economics, pushed to and fro by conflicting and often irreconcilable forces. At worst, national immigration policies lurch forward like Frankenstein’s monster, stitched together from random bits of ...

Think Tank

The Neuroscience of Success

Monkey_typewriter
over 2 years ago

“Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners.” –Shakespeare’s Othello, I.iii Admittedly, the messenger quoted above is Shakespeare’s arch-villain Iago. But when the message is right, it’s right. Neuroscience and psychology have identified willpower, largely a co ...

Think Tank

Failure is not an option. It's a necessity.

Frefall
over 2 years ago

To punish failure is yet another way to encourage mediocrity.    –Michael Eisner Playing it safe is no longer a career option for most Americans, if it ever was. And that's good news, in one sense: the downside of job security is that it dulls your appetite for risk, and your ability to ...

Think Tank

Are You as Ethical as Bernie Madoff?

Madoff
over 2 years ago

What's the Big Idea? Max Bazerman’s concept of bounded ethicality focuses on the psychological processes that lead even good people to engage in ethically questionable behavior that contradicts their own preferred ethics. In other words, instead of focusing on a bad apple--like Bernie ...

Think Tank

There's a 20% Chance We're All Sims.

Virtual_office
over 2 years ago

What’s the Big Idea?  Depending who you ask, there’s a 20 to 50 percent chance that you’re living in a computer simulation. Not like The Matrix, exactly – the virtual people in that movie had real bodies, albeit suspended in weird, pod-like things and plugged into a supercomputer. Imagine ...

Think Tank

How To Run The World

How_to_run_the_world
over 2 years ago

“We’ve been lulled into this complacency in the last couple of hundred years that you’re only practicing diplomacy if you’re from a government or a foreign ministry. That is not at all the case.”  What's the Big Idea? If you still think of diplomacy as something that happens in smoky ...