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


Ted Kennedy: Well my great inspirations in my life are sort of two forces.

One was religion, which is very, very important – particularly for my mother and father, but also for the members of our family. And it’s been incredibly important in terms of my life, particularly facing some of the real challenging times that I’ve had to face – members of my family that have been lost and other kinds of tragedies.

And also the role of family. We are a large family. I was the youngest of nine, the last to come along. I sat at the little table on the side of the room; always had to battle to get my views across or to be able to express it.

But I had extraordinary role models. My father [Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.], who was very ambitious for his children and was a great supporter; a mother [Rose Fitzgerald] who was the safe haven, devoted to her faith and also the love of history. And her children, my older brothers, who were great heroes of mine and who were inspiring figures all the way through my life; also demonstrated to me that the political process could work and could be responsive to people’s needs and challenges.

My sisters who, in their own way, were not elected to any office, but also were very important in terms of their own commitment in expanding opportunity for people. My sister Eunice Shriver, the founder of Special Olympics, now in 144 countries. They’re going to be world-focused; in China in just a few weeks from now. My sister Jean [Kennedy Smith] who worked for very special arts programs, which has been so important in helping people with disabilities and also who are artists to work and collaborate together.

And my other sisters. And I was also inspired by an older sister, Rosemary, who was mentally retarded. She was a very important figure in our family and she was very included. And I think from the earliest days I recognized that she was a rather special individual, and I can see how my mother and father, and how my brothers and sisters reacted to her. And I think it was probably an extraordinary force in my life about recognizing the value and the special grace that individuals have that have physical challenges – in this instance, mental retardation – and the importance of their value and what they could give to the family. And also the recognition that people out there in our society have special needs. And as a family, and as a country, and a society, we ought to be able to try and reach out to our fellow citizens and respond to those kinds of human needs.


Recorded on: September 14, 2007


How Did Your Childhood Shap...

Newsletter: Share: