Author Interview: Nicholas Christakis, Sterling Professor at Yale University September 5th, 2019

In his new book Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society, Nicholas Christakis introduces the compelling idea that our genes affect not only our bodies and behaviors, but also the ways in which we make societies, ones that are surprisingly similar worldwide. LeaderJam interviewed Nicholas Christakis about his work and its relationship to the modern world, focusing on leadership and developing leaders. Please join us on Thursday, September 5 at Noon EST. (Replay from June.)


Presenter: Nicholas Christakis
In this interview, we will explore:
  • The theme and major ideas in Nicholas Christakis' new book.
  • The implications of "Blueprint" for the modern world.
  • How leaders can leverage the information in 2019 to develop and work better.

imageNicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is a sociologist and physician who conducts research in the areas of social networks and bio-social science. He directs the Human Nature Lab. His current research is mainly focused on two topics: (1) the social, mathematical, and biological rules governing how social networks form (“connection”), and (2) the social and biological implications of how they operate to influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (“contagion”). His lab uses both observational and experimental methods to study these phenomena, exploiting techniques from sociology, computer science, bio-social science, demography, statistics, behavior genetics, evolutionary biology, epidemiology, and other fields. To the extent that diverse phenomena can spread within networks in intelligible ways, there are important policy implications since such spread can be exploited to improve the health or other desirable properties of groups (such as cooperation or innovation). Hence, current work in the lab involves conducting field experiments: some work involves the use of large-scale, online network experiments; other work involves large-scale randomized controlled trials in the developing world where networks are painstakingly mapped. Finally, some work in the lab examines the biological determinants and consequences of social interactions and related phenomena, with a particular emphasis on the genetic origins and evolutionary implications of social networks.

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