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


Jennifer Rubell: Well that’s a really good question.  I think that people get more insecure about what they think of as “high class living”.  And you know we’re a country of nouveau riche people.  Even if you came over on the Mayflower and made a ton of money early on, you’ve only had it for a few hundred years.  So it’s not . . .  We’re not a country of people who has a confidence in class position.  You know we . . .  Most of us just made it.  So wherever we are, we just made it there.  And we don’t know.

 You know I was talking to a yacht salesman the other day.  I was cooking this lunch on a yacht – definitely not my yacht – and the yacht salesman was telling me that whereas 20 years ago everybody buying yachts was 50 years old; today everybody is 35 years old.  You have all these kind of, you know, like Internet billionaires – all kinds of different billionaires made through the new economy.  And he said that people will turn to him and say, “Is this the right yacht?  Is this the . . .?”  And they’re buying . . . we’re talking about $30 million yachts.  So this is somebody spending $30 million, which means they can, you know, buy anything they want in the world, and they’re asking the yacht salesman, “Is this the right yacht?  Is this gonna . . .  Is this . . . For the class I’m in today that I wasn’t in two years ago, am I gonna fit in?”  And I think that it’s nice.  It’s a nice quality of America that people can move so quickly.  But a part of that is that they get to a place where they need a roadmap.  And you know a big part of what I do is giving people permission inside whatever place they are to say, “You don’t need the roadmap of that place.”  There may not even be a roadmap of that place.  You have to . . . you have to say, “I’m confident putting out this thing.  And it’s cool, and it’s fun, and it’s easy, and it’s me.”  And what’s funny is when you go to somebody’s house who’s really some kind of . . .  You know I remember when I was maybe 13 I went to this, you know, Bavarian princess’ kind of castle.  She was really into contemporary art and she did a lunch there.  And it was the most thrown together Bohemian lunch you’ve ever seen.  And so when you really get into the realm of people who have some kind of class – whatever that even is – for 1,000 years, they are sometimes the most easygoing, you know avant-garde, Bohemian souls there are.

Recorded on 12/13/07


Why are wealthier people le...

Newsletter: Share: