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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Today’s Big Idea: Human Cognitive Error

The Big Idea for Friday, August 31, 2012

The human mind is the most complex machine on Earth, extraordinarily well-suited to certain tasks (creative thinking, for example), yet very poorly suited to others. Most of the glitches in the system are the result of vestigial habits which were at one time in our history evolutionarily beneficial. Quick decision-making for example, a better survival skill for tribal jungle-dwellers than for suburbanites. 

The great promise of cognitive psychology and neuroscience is eventually to provide precise maps of how our minds operate. Already scientists have revealed certain hidden patterns and tendencies in our thinking which, when studied, can enable us to make better decisions and develop better methods of learning chess, or history, or finance. As the science marches forward, it’s overturning many of our basic, mistaken assumptions about ourselves.



  1. 1 Daniel Kahneman: Why Moving to California Won’t Make You Happy
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  2. 2 Want to Be Happy? Don't Pursue Happiness
    Steven Mazie Praxis
  3. 3 Slavoj Žižek on Buddhism and the Self
    Slavoj Žižek Postcards from Žižek
  4. 4 You're So Predictable. Daniel Kahneman and the Science of Human Fallibility
    Jason Gots Think Tank

Today’s Big Idea: Human Co...

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