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 are we so obsessed with celebrity?

Tom Freston: Well since really the advent of . . . People have always been interested in stars. I mean you go back even into the 19th century, people who were theater stars or, you know, great Vaudevillians, or actors in silent movies. People have always been drawn out of their normal lives and been taken up by a star, which is, in many ways, sort of an intangible aura around somebody that exists for a variety of reasons. And you know the popularization of music, and television, and films that we’ve seen in the last 30, 40 years have created this certain celebrityhood that then began to be . . . At first we were fascinated by the stars and the artworks that they performed . . . and the popular artworks they performed. We liked . . . We liked Elvis Presley when we liked his music. Or we loved the Beatles and we loved their music. But there really wasn’t an awful lot about their lives . . . their normal lives. And you know with magazines like, I think, initially People and others, I mean there were . . . there was sort of celebrity magazine sheets in the ‘50s and ‘60s too. But I think the media began to get onto something that was pretty cheap and certainly resonated with the viewers or the readers, which was their fascination with every aspect of these people’s lives. Now it seems _________ pretty ludicrous if you were to ever go around in Hollywood and sit outside a nightclub and see hundreds of paparazzi wondering, “Who’s in there having a drink?” It’s pretty ludicrous. But the money is flowing. People are paying for these pictures. People are . . . People have whole magazines and TV shows based on exactly this. And I don’t know what it is that, you know . . . it’s hard to define. But the people are just fascinated with larger than life things outside of their own lives. People living some kind of fantasy life that maybe they’d like to lead. Or they’re just fascinated with the lurid details of these basically larger than life figures – people who are . . . have more . . . who stand head and shoulders above their family or friends just in terms of their notoriety, and they’re just interested. And it’s sort of irresistible for certain people to feel that way about certain celebrities, hence the business.

Recorded On: 7/6/07


Tom Freston: Celebrity

Newsletter: Share: