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


Nicholas Lemann: First of all a lot of these things it was effervesce. If you go to the . . . I don’t know who took the picture, but you know if you go to the Library of Congress web site, Thomas, which is very good, or LOC.gov, and there’s a site within that called American Memory that has these huge photo archives. And there’s all these wonderful pictures in there from the 1930s, the Depression era, of newsstands. And if you look at these pictures, you will see it’s 90 percent, or maybe 98 percent celebrity gossip and sensational crime. That’s kind of what people are interested in. There was never a time when there was a mass audience for journalism whose primary interest was sort of sober-sided public affairs reporting. So I just think it’s human nature, and you could say it’s the sort of democratic and classless nature of American society. Except if you go to class-ridden UK, the same very intense interest exists there.


Recorded on: 11/30/07





Nicholas Lemann: What does ...

Newsletter: Share: