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

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Leadership

Shahsi Tharoor: Impact me every day I wouldn’t say. I mean I’ve come across a lot of bright and talented people – some really sharp and articulate leaders. I mean Tony Blair is a great example of that. Some very statesmen-like figures. Some are like Jacques Chirac, Francois Mitterand, Indira Gandhi; but each with their own not so attractive features as well. I would say that the person I met who came closest to being almost a sort of sage-like, saint-like creature would probably be Nelson Mandela, who is an amazingly inspiring person. Because like Gandhi, whom of course died eight years before I was born, Mandela seems to be somebody who can look beyond the petty resentments and anger of which we are all capable to forgive those who tormented and persecuted him, and took away 27 years of his life and still work for reconciliation and peace and justice in the world; somebody who is not afraid to speak his mind. Even when he’s wrong, as he sometimes is, he tends to do so with a great deal of humanity, and conviction, and compassion. Kofi Annan comes close. I saw him too up close to . . . to say that . . . that I . . . I . . . I could see him completely uncritically. But I thought he had a tremendous, tremendous humanity – a man who is deeply anchored in a very profound sense of himself, and at the same time of the world around him; and who did very, very good work heading the United Nations. But after Mandela and Annan, when I look around I see smart human beings, but not particularly people who are that much more exceptional than people who I might meet in my daily life who are not famous or don’t have leadership positions in the world of politics. So I think by and large we are probably wrong to invest larger than life figures with qualities of heroism. . . of grandeur that often have more to do with the trappings of the positions they hold than with their real human worth. And I’ve certainly met a lot of political leaders and heads of state who are actually less smart and less humane, less intelligent than many of the people I deal with in my daily life.

Recorded on: 9/18/07

 

What leaders inspire you?

Newsletter: Share: