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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Blog Posts

IdeaFeed

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Thanksgiving

Missing
almost 4 years ago

It takes Satan to bring out the true spirit of Thanksgiving. That's because it can be hard to give thanks unless you know why you are doing it. Plenitude is lovely. Abundance is a delight. ... When the devil is on your doorstep, however, thanks takes on a different timbre. The American most ...

IdeaFeed

Black Friday: Why We Love Deals

Missing
almost 4 years ago

For many families, it's a Thanksgiving tradition as rich as turkey stuffing or pumpkin pie: Rise before the crack of dawn the morning after the holiday, wait for the mall to open, and start hunting down Black Friday bargains. ... The Black Friday crush isn't for everyone, but the allure of a bargain ...

IdeaFeed

Learning to Love Radiation

Missing
almost 4 years ago

So how could radiation have a beneficial effect? There is good scientific evidence that while high doses destroy cells, low-dose radiation stimulates the DNA to repair mechanisms that are essential to maintaining cells throughout the lifetime of the organism. Low-dose radiation is also thought to ...

IdeaFeed

The End of the Automobile Era?

Missing
almost 4 years ago

In 1976, three-quarters of all 17-year-olds had drivers' licenses. By 2008, that was down to 49 percent. ... The shift in mood partly reflects worries about the environment and the price of gas. But there also seems to be a technological aspect, too. Once upon a time, newly licensed teens would pile ...

IdeaFeed

The Limits of a Secular Education

Missing
almost 4 years ago

When a liberal arts education is framed in terms of questions about life’s purposes, students express an unmistakable pent-up desire to introduce deep commitments, including religious ones, into public arenas, including the classroom. In turn, liberal arts colleges work best and allow students to ...

IdeaFeed

Spendthrifts & Tightwads Are Unhappy

Missing
almost 4 years ago

As the mega-sales ramp up for Black Friday, some shoppers will rush to the malls ready to spend. Others will stay home and pinch their pennies. Both groups, according to a growing body of research, will probably end up unhappy. "Some people experience this distress a lot, where they typically spend ...

IdeaFeed

Consumer Watchdog Takes Shape

Missing
almost 4 years ago

In her first six weeks on the job, White House adviser Elizabeth Warren has met or spoken with a long list of the nation's top financial industry executives, according to documents the Treasury Department released Wednesday, as she works to overcome skepticism about the consumer watchdog agency she ...

IdeaFeed

Polar Bear vs. Grizzly Bear

Missing
almost 4 years ago

It's long been shown that the rapidly warming earth is bad news for polar bears. Their habitat is shrinking, as are their food sources and breeding grounds. If global warming continues, they may face a tough competitor. Grizzly bear habitat is limited by frigid winters and sheets of ice. As their ...

IdeaFeed

The Future of Global Debt

Missing
almost 4 years ago

News stories regularly remind us that most national governments in the developed world are essentially insolvent. The United States has one of the worst balance sheets, with a projected debt in 2050 of $123 trillion. Of course, what can’t happen won’t happen, as economist Herbert Stein taught us ...

IdeaFeed

Willpower Is a Myth

Missing
almost 4 years ago

The concept of willpower is frequently sourced to Rene Descartes, the 17th-century philosopher who championed the idea of free will as “the ability to do or not do something.” Later, psychologists explored the mental processes—impulses, desires, ambitions—that lead us to act, or not act, when an ...