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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The Big Idea for Friday, March 02, 2012

Why do audiences laugh and simultaneously want to die of embarrassment at everything Larry David does? What makes grown men stand on their couches and hurl things at football players on the tv? How could Goethe's Young Werther cause a generation of German youths to consider (and more than a few of them to commit) suicide?

Because we're seeing something in that game, or book, or tv show that we recognize from our own lives. Maybe you know nothing about throwing a football, but you've experienced ambition, struggle, success, and loss.

Author Nathan Englander, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, and Hollywood producer Peter Guber all have this in common: they're experts at tapping into their personal experience of universal emotions, and communicating that experience to the rest of us. And as most of them will tell you, this at least as much a habit of mind, developed through hard practice, as it is an innate gift.



  1. 1 “Write what you know” – the most misunderstood piece of good advice, ever.
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  2. 2 History as Good Storytelling
    Ken Burns
  3. 3 Storytelling in a Digital World
    Robert McKee
  4. 4 How Storytelling Can Save Your Life
    Peter Guber


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