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

An "Unusual" Personal Decision

May 10, 2010, 12:00 AM
Dr. Fatih Birol, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency, says he has never owned a car. While he admits his decision may seem "unusual" to people in the U.S., the 51-year-old says he's gone without a vehicle for "reasons of sustainability"—because he feels a personal responsibility to not add to the global problems of pollution and CO2 emissions, and the dangers posed by our over-reliance on oil.

In today's clip, Birol also talks about how policy makers are finally beginning to consider the impact of energy policies on global poverty. At least 20% of the global population has no access to electricity, but for many years governments didn't take the necessary actions.  In the last year or two, says Birol, some have begun to improve their policies.

Birol also says that he worries that if the world's primary commodities get stretched too thin, a global war could result. Yet he is optimistic enough to predict the world of the future as a better place: "I would like to see a world which is much more fair than today, Less geopolitical tensions, and more importantly, using much more cleaner energy in a sustainable way. And that in that world we will have solved our climate change problem."

This interview is part of a series on business sustainability, "Balancing People, Planet and Profit: The Future of Business Sustainability," sponsored by Logica. So far, the series has featured interviews with Peter Brabeck, the Chairman of Nestle; Gro Harlem Brundtland, Special Envoy on Climate Change, U.N.; Ernst Weizsäcker, Co-chair, U.N. International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management; and Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Group. The series examines ways that business interests can be better aligned with the greater social good.

An "Unusual" Personal Decision

Newsletter: Share: