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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

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.

Find out more

Does the Flu Shot Give You the Flu?

December 1, 2012, 10:00 AM

What's the Latest Development?

In a double-blind study on the effects of the flu vaccine, in which half the participants were given a placebo, the only side-effect reported more often in the group that received the real vaccine was soreness in the arm. The results demonstrate the powerful role the mind plays in how we receive (or not) our yearly flu vaccine. Because one version of the vaccine, a nasal spray which is becoming more popular in the US, contains a small amount of the live flu virus, there is a tendency to believe that your chances of contracting the flu increase after receiving the vaccine. 

What's the Big Idea?

Although it's not a perfect fix, the flu vaccine does make it less likely that you will contract the flu. Each year, the World Health Organization identifies three flu viruses they think are most likely to spread through the northern and southern hemisphere (thus people living in different hemisphere receive a different vaccine). "[A] large study from 2007 published in the highly regarded journal, The New England Journal of Medicine, found the vaccine protected seven out of ten people. Protection also varies from year to year, depending on the accuracy of the WHO’s predictions."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


Does the Flu Shot Give You ...

Newsletter: Share: