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

Question: Do you like that you're known as “The People’s Author?"

Anne Lamott: I can honestly say there is nothing I would rather be known as than “The People’s Author.”  I’ve never heard that, and I’m thinking you got it from some blog from some guy who is like completely wasted on ecstasy and cheap red wine when he said it.  But if it were true, I would love that. 

And, being a person who believes that all truth is paradox and contradiction, I just get a sucked in as any writer into the jungle drums of publication and wishing that I were on the “Today” Show this morning instead of David Remnick and how it’s not fair and how it’s not fair that he’s not this and that and he’s on “Fresh Air” and so I have a kind of bitterness that goes along with this sense of being “The People’s Author,” and really feeling like a missionary most of the time and just wanting to tell people... the truth of my experience is that we are all a lot more alike than we are different. And that if I share something that seems kind of intimate, or autobiographical, it’s because I assume it’s true for you too.  And I’ve told it so many times and everybody said, “Oh yeah, me too.”  I’m not telling anything that isn’t true for most of us.  And it just has to do with it.  We can seem sort of spiritual and hippy-dippy like I think I come across, and tree hugger and San Francisco and all that.  And at the same time be sort of enraged that the New York glitterati are getting the great spots in the media the week that I’m on tour on the East Coast. 

Question: Do you consciously try to win more fans?

Anne Lamott: I would say the most important thing is to pretend that you’re above all of that.  But certainly, I’m just finding this week—we’re taping this the day of publication—and I’m finding just so much manipulation and kind of desperado stuff going on inside me, and I’m trying to suck people into my web, and I’m trying to use old contacts kind of in the most casual way to try to get them to shoehorn me onto CNN maybe later today after I sign stock at the Riverhead office.  So, I find a lot inside me. 

The thing is, I’ll be 56 at the end of the week and I don’t act on it as much as I used to.  Before, I would have done it all and I would have just been dancing as fast as I could to try to suck in and please everyone and seduce everyone and push everyone harder to get—and now I just feel too tired, and I’m kind of achy from the long flight and so, the impulse is there, and probably this side of the grave.  It just comes with the territory; it comes with the turf of being a well-known writer is that I have a disease called "More."  And if I have a huge audience, I’d like a bigger audience; maybe slightly a slightly more illustrious audience.  Maybe if Susan Sontag were alive she would want to be my best friend.

Recorded April 6, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen

 

Being “The People’s Author”...

Newsletter: Share: