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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Affect Heuristic

The Big Idea for Friday, December 13, 2013

We make decisions all the time based on emotions. Whether we decide to buy a pair of shoes or follow a certain career, we allow ourselves to get swept up by fantasies that offer promises of escape or transformation.

In today's lesson, Virginia Postrel, author of The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion, describes glamour as a universal phenomenon that focuses our desires on an object and let's us see "just enough" while hiding the difficulties. For instance, effortless beauty is seen as glamourous precisely because we don't see the sweat and toil behind it. 



  1. 1 How We Are All Seduced by Glamour
    Big Think Editors Specific Gravity
  2. 2 You're So Predictable. Daniel Kahneman and the Science of Human Fallibility
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  3. 3 Magical Realism Is Still Realism
    Salman Rushdie
  4. 4 Alain de Botton: Imagining Advertisements for Things We Really Need
    Daniel Honan Think Tank

Affect Heuristic

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