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


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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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
With rendition switcher


Well, the United States is very different than most other countries. We give a larger percent of our money away in the United States than other countries tend to do. The concept of this type of philanthropy in Europe is just not as common. The governments are expected to make these kinds of contributions. Perhaps it’s our tax code. Perhaps it’s our charitable nature that has left the United States in this very enviable position. I do think that it would be a mistake for the government to take a higher percentage of our net worth and then it decides where the charitable contributions go. Because there’s no evidence that government is better at deciding these kinds of things than the market itself. There will always be wealthy people who give away money in ways that seem ridiculous. There will always be money given away to pets or other kinds of things that seem strange to many others. But in the end I don’t think we should change our laws so that we have to deal with the one or two percent of the people who are doing things with their money that seem silly in some ways. I think by and large most of the people who have money are giving it away to productive causes. Now who is to say that giving money to the discoverer of . . . the potential discoverer of the cure for cancer is more valuable than somebody who gives money away to the opera? Opera is good, too, for society, so obviously there has to be some balance. I don’t really think we should have the government really getting deeply involved in trying to decide what people should do with money that they give away. I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Recorded on: 9/13/07

More from the Big Idea for Tuesday, March 19 2013

Collective Intelligence

In 1999 John Wood had reached the height of his career at Microsoft when he abruptly quit to start the charity Room to Read. Wood did well for himself at Microsoft, but he did not exactly have the... Read More…


David Rubenstein: Is philan...

Newsletter: Share: