Nicholas Christakis

EXCLUSIVE
  • Director, Human Nature Lab at Yale University; Co-Director, Yale Institute for Network Science
  • Author of NYT Bestselling Book Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society
  • Co-Author of the Bestselling Book, Connected
  • Physician & Social Scientist in Healthcare and Social Networks

Nicholas A. Christakis is a social scientist and physician whose lab explores human nature. His groundbreaking research helps us more deeply-- and optimistically-- understand our society and human behavior. Sought-out to speak everywhere from TED to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, his game-changing insights help organizations better understand their employees and customers, and more effectively foster teamwork, innovation, and learning.

Named one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" by Time Magazine, and to Foreign Policy’s "Top 100 Global Thinkers" list, Christakis is the author of two bestselling books. His latest, Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society, is a cutting-edge exploration of the ancient roots of goodness in civilization. His first book, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, explores the profound impact of social networks on every aspect of our lives. 

 

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Rave Reviews About Nicholas Christakis
Nicholas was absolutely terrific. The room was at capacity – 3,000+ or so and everyone was engaged, enlightened, enriched and entertained by his talk. No one left the room. A grand slam and excellent opening for our Annual Meeting. Numerous compliments and great post talk questions.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Nicholas Christakis
  • Sysco
  • Acxiom Corporation
  • WE Summit
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • International Conference of Innovative Cities
  • Intermedix
  • Heart Rhythm Society
  • America's Health Insurance Plans
  • Nudgestock
Keynote - Blueprint | Cato Institute [36:21] - Get Sharable Link
Explore Nicholas Christakis's Talks
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Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

Named to TIME's "100 Most Influential People in the World" and to Foreign Policy's “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” renowned physician and social scientist Nicholas A. Christakis helps us more deeply—and optimistically—understand our society and behavior. In this bold, innovative, and captivating talk, he ...

Named to TIME's "100 Most Influential People in the World" and to Foreign Policy's “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” renowned physician and social scientist Nicholas A. Christakis helps us more deeply—and optimistically—understand our society and behavior. In this bold, innovative, and captivating talk, he takes audiences behind the transformative research of his NYT bestselling book Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society, which Bill Gates has called “optimistic and terrific,” to reveal how our evolution has positively shaped our societies and humanity. Chock-full of fascinating research and anecdotes drawn from history, anthropology, genetics, sociology, economics, epidemiology, statistics, philosophy, and more, Christakis’ talk can be tailored to each audience and offers tangible takeaways such as: 

  • How to form efficient and cooperative groups as well as specific examples of successful and unsuccessful groups — drawn from fascinating stories of shipwrecks, scientific outposts, kibbutzes, communes, and online communities
  • How technological innovations, both in the distant past (fire, domesticated animals) and in the present (cities, the internet), are reshaping human evolution and human nature 
  • How nature (our genes) and nurture (our environment) can work together to shape human experience 
  • How the evolution of our capacity to teach each other things lies at the core of our ability to make ‘learning organizations’ and our ability to have a successful economy
  • How to tackle global problems, such as climate change or political extremism, by better understanding and tapping into our inherent human nature 

Rethinking Teamwork: Fostering Cooperation and Innovation in Light of Human Evolution

Having spent the past few years designing tools to help groups work better together, renowned physician and social scientist Nicholas A. Christakis provides eye-opening and actionable lessons on how to build work environments where teams and individuals are more efficient, cooperative, creative, and ...

Having spent the past few years designing tools to help groups work better together, renowned physician and social scientist Nicholas A. Christakis provides eye-opening and actionable lessons on how to build work environments where teams and individuals are more efficient, cooperative, creative, and happy. Named to TIME's "100 Most Influential People in the World" and to Foreign Policy's “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” and the author of the 2019 NYT bestseller, Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society, Christakis has applied his groundbreaking research as director of Yale’s Human Nature Lab to help world-class organizations (such as Facebook, Apple, Tata Consulting Services, MasterCard, and others) rethink the ways they understand and design groups that work together. Diving into the science of how our behavior is influenced by our environment, Christakis reveals how we can harness the power of our evolutionary past to reshape workplaces for the better — with insights drawn from the evolution of cooperation, networks, hierarchy, and teaching.  

 

The Social Side of Artificial Intelligence: How Bots Can Help and Hinder Human Performance

Renowned social scientist Nicholas Christakis brings audiences behind the scenes of his groundbreaking, cutting-edge work on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) agents affect human social processes and performance. Drawing on his extensive research as the Director of Yale’s Human Nature Lab and Co-Dire ...

Renowned social scientist Nicholas Christakis brings audiences behind the scenes of his groundbreaking, cutting-edge work on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) agents affect human social processes and performance. Drawing on his extensive research as the Director of Yale’s Human Nature Lab and Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science, Christakis decodes his latest findings on the interactions between humans and AI, and what the disruptive introduction of AI in our work and lives could mean for the future of human social behavior. Heralded for balancing bold, macro ideas with tangible takeaways, and for breaking down complex concepts with clarity, Christakis takes audiences on a journey to the forefront of innovation, ultimately revealing what the future of AI means for the future of our society.  

Reasons for Hope: The Fundamental Goodness, and Unity, of Humankind

A timely message that is sorely needed in today’s world of increased polarization and tribalism, renowned social scientist Nicholas Christakis reveals the evolutionary origins of goodness in our society, and how and why we are united by our common humanity far more than we are divided. Taking audien ...

A timely message that is sorely needed in today’s world of increased polarization and tribalism, renowned social scientist Nicholas Christakis reveals the evolutionary origins of goodness in our society, and how and why we are united by our common humanity far more than we are divided. Taking audiences behind the research in his bestselling book Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society, Christakis highlights the positive role of our evolutionary past and how natural selection has given us a suite of beneficial social features-- including love, friendship, cooperation and learning—that are shared by humans worldwideChock-full of fascinating research, much from his own lab at Yale, in history, philosophy, anthropology, genetics, sociology, and more, Blueprint shows how and why evolution has placed us on a humane pathand how -- even despite wars and corrupt leaders, and  inequality and hatred -- we continue to live together.

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<p>Nicholas Christakis offers powerful lessons from his groundbreaking NYT bestseller</p>

Nicholas Christakis offers powerful lessons from his groundbreaking NYT bestseller

Described as "an intellectual rock star" in The New York Times, renowned social scientist and physician NICHOLAS A. CHRISTAKIS' groundbreaking work helps us more deeply-- and optimistically-- understand our society and human behavior. Christakis' book “Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Societymade the New York Times bestseller list the week of its release, and received a rave review from Bill Gates.  A cutting-edge exploration of the ancient roots of goodness in civilization, Blueprint is a timely book sorely needed in today’s world of increased polarization and tribalism. In it, Christakis highlights the positive role of our evolutionary past and how natural selection has given us a suite of beneficial social features, such as friendship and learning, that universally shape our societies. Chock-full of fascinating research and advances in social science, history, philosophy, genetics, economics, and more, Blueprint reveals how and why evolution has placed us on a humane path that bends towards goodness-- and how we are united by our common humanity far more than we are divided. 

Christakis delivered compelling insights from his bestselling to a rapt audience at The Cato Institute. He sheds bright light on how groups of humans can work together in better ways, offering actionable insights for businesses and organizations across industries. Director of the Human Nature Lab at Yale University and named to TIME's "100 Most Influential People in the World" and Foreign Policy's “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” Christakis has been sought-out to speak everywhere from TED (where his talk has racked up over 1.5 million views) to the Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationA dynamite speaker who is heralded for his ability to balance big picture, mind-bending research with tangible takeawaysChristakis regularly receives rave reviews such as: “Nicholas was absolutely terrific. The room was at capacity – 3,000+ or so and everyone was engaged, enlightened, enriched and entertained by his talk. No one left the room. A grand slam and excellent opening for our Annual Meeting. Numerous compliments and great post talk questions” (Heart Rhythm Society); and "Nicholas Christakis presented visionary ideas on how social networking can be utilized strategically to maximize business opportunities on many levels” (Sysco).

Watch more of NICHOLAS A. CHRISTAKIS’ talks here  > >

<p>Nicholas Christakis inspires tweets of praise at every event</p>

Nicholas Christakis inspires tweets of praise at every event

Described as "an intellectual rock star" in The New York Times, renowned social scientist and physician NICHOLAS A. CHRISTAKIS' groundbreaking work helps us more deeply-- and optimistically-- understand our society and human behavior. Director of the Human Nature Lab at Yale University and named to TIME's "100 Most Influential People in the World" and Foreign Policy's “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” Christakis has broken down his eye-opening research for audiences everywhere from TED (where his talk has racked up over 1.5 million views) to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At events he consistently inspires praise from audience-members, who have taken to Twitter to share comments such as: "Just learned more in 45 min than I have in the last 6 moths. Not sure if I'm not getting out enough, or if @NAChristakis is a genius... I think it's the latter"; "@NAChristakis raises the standards of keynote speeches with an excellent in terms of content and execution"; "WOW!! What an inspiring speaker! Someone made my day! Thanks @NAChristakis". Christakis' new book “Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society” was an instant bestseller on Amazon. Chock-full of fascinating research and advances in social science, history, philosophy, genetics, economics, and more, Blueprint reveals how and why evolution has placed us on a humane path that bends towards goodness-- and how we are united by our common humanity far more than we are divided. 

<p><strong>Artificial Intelligence & Digital Disruption</strong></p>

Artificial Intelligence & Digital Disruption

As technological developments continue at break neck speeds, impacting businesses across industries and fundamentally changing the way we work, consume and live, these HWA experts are qualified to address questions at the at the top of business leaders' and employees' minds. Whether shedding light on both the opportunities and threats in automation, revealing the next wave in artificial intelligence, or preparing your business for the impacts of disruption, HWA represents some of the leading minds of the new economy and tech. 

HWA's AI & Digital Disruption Experts >>

<p>Nicholas Christakis’ lab innovates in the field of Artificial Intelligence</p>

Nicholas Christakis’ lab innovates in the field of Artificial Intelligence

Named by Foreign Policy as a “Top 100 Global Thinker,” renowned physician and social scientist NICHOLAS CHRISTAKIS is applying his expertise on social networks to a new arena: artificial intelligence (AI). As the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science, Christakis is investigating interactions between humans and AI within complex social systems, and inventing and testing bots that can help humans address social dilemmas. Christakis’ groundbreaking research on how AI can make human collaboration more effective, was the subject of a study he co-authored in Nature that garnered lots of media attention. Making headlines in The Scientific American, Science Magazine, and The Verge, Christakis’ research reveals how businesses can boost productivity in a digital workspace and illuminates how an automated future could actually help humans make better decisions. With the world’s automated future already upon us, Christakis’ insights on tech and how to foster improved productivity and collaboration are invaluable to businesses and organizations of every industry.

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Biography

Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is a social scientist and physician at Yale University who conducts research in the fields of network science, biosocial science, and behavior genetics. His current work focuses on how human biology and health affect, and are affected by, social interactions and social networks. He directs the Human Nature Lab and is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science. He is the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University, appointed in the Departments of Sociology; Medicine; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Biomedical Engineering; and the School of Management.

Dr. Christakis received his BS from Yale in 1984, his MD from Harvard Medical School and his MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1989, and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2006; the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010; and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017.

In 2009, Christakis was named by Time magazine to their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2009 and in 2010, he was listed by Foreign Policy magazine in their annual list of Top 100 Global Thinkers.

Dr. Christakis began his career at the University of Chicago in 1995, where he was appointed as a Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Medicine. He moved his lab to Harvard University in 2001, where he was again appointed as a Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Medicine. While at Harvard, he also served as the Master of Pforzheimer House in Harvard College. In 2013, he moved his lab to Yale University.

One body of work in his lab focuses on how health and health behavior in one person can influence analogous outcomes in a person’s social network. This work involves the application of statistical and mathematical models to understand the dynamics of diverse phenomena in longitudinally evolving networks. A related body of work uses experiments to examine the spread of altruism, emotions, and health behaviors along network connections online and offline, including with large-scale field trials in the developing world directed at improving public health (e.g., in Honduras and India). His lab has also examined the genetic and evolutionary determinants of social network structure, showing that social interactions have shaped our genome, with related projects that have mapped networks of populations in Tanzania and Sudan who live as all humans did 10,000 years ago. His most recent work has used artificial intelligence (AI) agents (“bots") to affect social processes online.

His laboratory also actively develops software and date tools to study social phenomena, and releases these resources publicly. Breadboard allows scientists to conduct online experiments accurately and efficiently. Trellis allows scientists to map social networks in diverse, demanding settings around the world. Christakis is active in teaching, both in the classroom and in the lab. He has mentored students and postdocs from diverse fields, ranging across sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, applied math, physics, computational biology, biomedicine, public health, and other fields.

Dr. Christakis is the author of over 200 articles and several books. His influential book, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, documented how social networks affect our lives and was translated into twenty foreign languages. His most recent book, Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society, was published in March 2019 and is slated to appear in German, Chinese, Dutch, and Greek, and other languages.

Dr. Christakis’ past work was focused on topics related to end-of-life care, such as hospice care, widowhood and caregiver burden, ICU decision-making, and the role of prognostication in medicine (about which he has written three books, including clinical textbooks).

Dr. Christakis has advised startups and established corporations, such as Whoop, Ditto Labs, Gallup, Virgin, and MasterCard. A company called Activate Networks was spun out from his lab in 2010.