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


Malcolm Gladwell:  I wrote about him years ago and he has since become quite famous because basically before the financial crash he was one of those people saying it’s all going to come down.  He was a guy on Wall Street and he ran a hedge fund and his obsession was with the notion that extreme events are more likely than you think. People on Wall Street all had a kind of expectation of how often there would be a catastrophe; they would say it’s a once in a lifetime event, it’s a once in a thousand year event and they had models built on that probability and Nassim would always say—this was back in 2006—it’s not a one in thousand year event, it’s a one in a 10 year event. He was very interested in the sort of on a psychological notion: why is it that human beings are so eager to pretend in the face of all evidence to the contrary that catastrophes are infrequent.

This was something that grew out of his personal background.  His family came from Lebanon, a country that was routinely visited by catastrophe over and over again. He'd had some close brush with death from some weird, rare kind of cancer that he should never have gotten. All these things kind of familiarized himself with the notion that catastrophe was common. Out of that he kind of developed a sort of business model for this.  He began to build a hedge fund, which made money when the unlikely happened. On most days, it would lose money and then when there was a market crash it would make hundreds of millions, even billions. Sure enough when the stock market crashed Nassim made some astonishing amount of money for himself and his investors.

He compelled himself to live in the least pleasant of all worlds. 

Recorded December 16, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller
Directed by Jonathan Fowler
Produced by Elizabeth Rodd


Nassim Taleb, Wall Street O...

Newsletter: Share: