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Data is human: when we understand how people behave, we'll give our good ideas the voltage to be great.

Economics Professor at the University of Chicago | Author of The Voltage Effect

John List | Chief Economist at Walmart | Economics Professor at the University of Chicago | Author of The Voltage Effect
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If you’ve ever ridden an Uber or Lyft, used Tinder or Facebook, or voted in an election, award-winning economist JOHN LIST has changed your life for the better. He studies how human behavior impacts business, education, and public health, and uses this data to help organizations grow. In his groundbreaking book, The Voltage Effect, John teaches us how to solve urgent problems by scaling our great ideas so we can reach new customers, attract donors, and “make the world a better place.”

“John List is a scientist, but he’s also a magician, and he’s changing the world.”— Cass R. Sunstein, New York Times bestselling co-author of Nudge

John List’s revolutionary work in behavioral economics has influenced how policymakers address social issues and led him to work with the world’s most innovative companies: Lyft, Uber, Facebook, Google, and Tinder, to name a few. Nobel Prize for Economics winner Gary Becker says that “John List’s work is revolutionary”. Whether you’re growing a small business, rolling out a diversity and inclusion program, or delivering billions of doses of a vaccine, John List can help you use the best data about human behavior to make the decisions that lead to growth and success.

John’s book The Voltage Effect: How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale is a practical guide on how to grow your great ideas. He draws on his experience helping the world’s top companies to introduce us to his concept of voltage: a set of characteristics that all great ideas need to have before they can grow. In his previous international bestseller The Why Axis, John and co-author Uri Gneezy teach us how to close the wealth gap between students, how to improve inner-city schools, and how to promote diversity and inclusion in day-to-day life. Freakonomics co-author Steven D. Levitt called the book “one of the greatest innovations in economics of the last fifty years.”

John’s work has been featured in the New York Times, the EconomistHarvard Business ReviewFortuneNPR, Slate, NBC, Bloomberg, and The Washington Post. He’s the Homer J. Livingston Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, he’s served on the Council of Economic Advisers, and he’s the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Kenneth Galbraith Award.

Speech Topics

The Voltage EffectHow to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale
 “Scale” is probably a term you’ve heard before—a buzzword amongst Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and tech start-up circles. But at its core, “to scale” simply means to achieve a desired outcome when you move from a small group—of customers, students, or citizens—to a much larger one. And it’s not just for start-ups. Scaling ideas underpins all social and technological progress, since, as List says, “the innovations that change the world are those that reach the largest number of people.”
In his upcoming book The Voltage Effect, List reveals why some ideas take off (or scale) and why others fall flat using a mix of original research and real-world anecdotes from working with companies like Uber, Lyft, and Tinder. His ideas are brought to life in this engaging presentation with actionable, science-backed take-aways for leaders, teams, and organizations looking to take their ideas to the next level.
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