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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12,000+ Expert Videos


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World Renowned Bloggers


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

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Big Think Edge


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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A Textbook Entrepreneur

May 20, 2011, 6:58 AM

What's the Latest Development?

Alan Martin and some fellow dreamers started filling out credit-card applications with zero-interest-for-one-year promotions. "Between them, they racked up about $250,000 in debt." Sounds like this could be a profile of a criminal but it's an interesting example of innovation and luck—and some unconventional seed financing—and how Martin achieved his dream of providing affordable textbooks.

What's the Big Idea?

"When it comes to innovations, there is a tight-rope-thin line between genius and fool. Martin had stepped out on it at a scary time. 'You only sound smart if it worked out,' he concedes." "Not having a seasoned CEO or management team seems to have helped. 'I think our lack of knowledge...caused us to make moves that somebody more experienced just wouldn't have made,' he said. ...Such as maxing out credit cards, as they did in the beginning. 'I definitely wouldn't recommend it for most people," Martin said, "but in our case it did the trick.'"


A Textbook Entrepreneur

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