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


Question: How can America restore its reputation abroad?


Dennis Ross: The title of the book was not an accident. “Statecraft” is a term that reflects an approach to foreign policy which I became fearful/concerned we had lost in the conduct of our foreign policy. We’ve lost the capacity to identify objectives clearly. We are not connecting our means to our objectives. We don’t frame our issues very well in terms of explaining ourselves to the world in a way that makes what it is we think are the right objectives from their standpoint. We’ve lost, in a sense, an ability to communicate effectively and persuade.

So if we’re going to restore our standing in the world, which is really the subtitle of the book, one of the things we have to start with is being clear about what it is we have to achieve; clear about what it takes to be able to get others to join with us; but also we have to realize again that somehow we have to identify with those larger public goods that those around the world also see as larger public goods. We need to be a leader, certainly not an impeder, of dealing with climate change. We need to be a leader and not a follower when it comes to dealing with the broader questions of poverty.

When three billion people in the world are living on less than $2 a day, and they can’t have access to clean water, this is not only a moral problem – a moral outrage – it also becomes a security problem, because in many places, because of just the grinding poverty, we have failed states. And where there are failed states, then you’re going to find that radical Islamists tend to insinuate themselves.

So if we’re going to reestablish our standing in the world, one of the things we’re going to have to do is, again, reestablish our moral standing. But we also have to make it clear to others that we’re seen as identifying with what others also identify with as being profoundly important issues. What are larger issues of public good?


Recorded on: September 12, 2007



How can America restore its...

Newsletter: Share: