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: Why was it important for your to become the first female member of the Friars Club?

Gloria Allred:  I had lunch at the Beverly Hills Friars Club many years ago—I think this was in the '80s—in California. And the Friars Club was an all male club, founded by celebrities, founded by Milton Berle, who was called "Mr. Television" in his time. He was the most important comic and television entertainer and the best-known that there ever was, and that's when television first came into existence.

So I had lunch there and then I approached Milton Berle after I had spoken to some other members there about being a member. And I said I would like to become a member of the Friars Club and he said, "Well why do you want to become a member of the Friars Club?" And I said, "Well, Mr. Berle, of course because you have a great Cobb salad." And he said, "Oh really?" He said, "Don't know it's all an all-men's club?" And I said, "Oh really?" And he said, "But I think you knew that." He said, "I'll tell you what I'm going to do, not only am I going to make the motion for you to become a member but I am going to second my own motion." He said, "You think it's because you're a woman; wrong. It's to lower the average age of the club because the average age of the club is dead."

And with that I became the first woman member of the Friars Club. By the way, I had first been asked by some members whom I had approached would I be an honorary member instead of a regular member and I said, "No, it would be a dishonor to be a member of a club that discriminates." I wanted to be a full, dues paying member with all the rights and privileges of any other members. So I became a member.

Then after that of course I had a little hassle with them over the fact that they wouldn't let me use the health club because the men were going in there naked into the steam room. And I said: "Well look I am paying the same dues as anyone else I have to have the same rights and privileges to use the club as anyone else." I said: "Here are your options. You can put your clothes on. You can have me and other women go in there with no clothes on. You can have even separate hours for men and women if you wish, as long as they're equal hours but we have to be able to use the health club."

Well they had their meetings and talked about it and really wouldn't do anything. So I filed a complaint with the state franchise tax board to take away their tax deduction for members of the club. That got their attention and they said, "Okay, well you can come in and use the steam room but we're not going to put our clothes on." I said, "I don't really care about your naked butts. I just care about the naked truth, so I'm going to go in."

So I dressed in a Gay '90s bathing suit and took in a tape measure, and knocked on the door of the steam room, and walked in with a tape measure singing Peggy Lee's, "Is that all there is? Is that all there is?" With that, the towels were whipped around the men's butts and I became the first woman member to ever use the steam room and it was opened to women after that.

Recorded on June 9, 2010
Interviewed by David Hirschman


Integrating the Friars Club

Newsletter: Share: