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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Today’s Big Idea: The Start-up of You

The Big Idea for Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In a 2011 New York Times piece, Thomas Friedman wrote about LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman’s book The Start-Up of You – a guide to career success in the uncertain economic climate of the 21st century. 

“Whatever you may be thinking when you apply for a job today,” Friedman wrote, “you can be sure the employer is asking this: Can this person add value every hour, every day — more than a worker in India, a robot or a computer? Can he or she help my company adapt by not only doing the job today but also reinventing the job for tomorrow?”

Professional artists have long had to develop strategies for remaining afloat in an unpredictable marketplace. The careers of self-made artist/entrepreneurs like Henry Rollins are therefore valuable case studies for anyone entering the non-linear working world of the 21st century.



  1. 1 Henry Rollins’ 3 Rules For Success As An Artist/Entrepreneur
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  2. 2 Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: Thinking Like a Startup
    Megan Erickson Think Tank
  3. 3 How Not to Die in Obscurity (self-promotion and the sensitive artist).
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  4. 4 Why School Won't Prepare You to Be an Entrepreneur
    Orion Jones IdeaFeed

Today’s Big Idea: The Start...

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