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

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Alain de Botton:  In the modern world, we don’t dare to imagine that culture has a purpose connected to changing and saving your life.  We sort of imagine that culture’s a really nice thing to visit on a Sunday -- you go to the museum or you pick up a book.  The idea that culture is literally a resource by which to live is oddly neglected.  I wrote a book a few years ago called How Proust Could Change Your Life, and the academics were up in arms.  They couldn’t forgive me for this book because it seemed so strange . . . Proust changing your life?   

This approach is at the heart of a new service that we have at the School of Life, called bibliotherapy, where you can go and meet someone and talk to them about your life, and on the basis of the challenges that you are facing in a whole range of areas -- and it could be curiosity about something, but it could be pain about something --, the bibliotherapist will do you a fantastic and, you know, it’s really – I’m really not preaching unfairly -- it’s a brilliant reading prescription.  The people who man it are PhD’s in literature.  They’ve thought about this so much.  They have an encyclopedic knowledge of literature, and they will match people to books that are important to them at that moment in their life.  

And oddly, you know, despite Amazon and Barnes and Noble and all these stores and little bookstores and big bookstores, what we still don’t have is a deep appreciation of how hard it is to match someone to a book, that this might require an hour of pretty therapeutic consultation in order to find the book that will unlock the next stage of somebody’s life.  That’s what bibliotherapy is, and it’s been one of the most gratifying successes.  

Directed / Produced by

Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

 

 

Alain de Botton: Bibliotherapy

Newsletter: Share: