Bill Gates: Favorite Books of 2016

Gretchen Bakke’s The Grid among the mentions.

This book, about our aging electrical grid, fits in one of my favorite genres: “Books About Mundane Stuff That Are Actually Fascinating.” Part of the reason I find this topic fascinating is because my first job, in high school, was writing software for the entity that controls the power grid in the Northwest. But even if you have never given a moment’s thought to how electricity reaches your outlets, I think this book would convince you that the electrical grid is one of the greatest engineering wonders of the modern world. I think you would also come to see why modernizing the grid is so complex and so critical for building our clean-energy future. [GatesNotes.com]

NY Post: Here’s how Europeans work 258 fewer hours than Americans

Carson Tate was interviewed for this piece on how Europeans works 19 percent fewer hours than Americans.

This notion resonates with Carson Tate, author of “Work Simply”: “We need to work fewer, more focused hours. We need to take mental and physical breaks and stop fighting our biology — if we are hungry, stressed or pissed off, our ability to focus and concentrate is significantly compromised.” [NYPost.com]

Sign up for Paul Zak’s Harvard Biz webinar

On Monday, Dec. 5th at noon, Paul Zak will deliver a webinar on the “Neuroscience of Trust: Setting Leaders Up for Success,” via Harvard Biz. Sign up here.

It is widely known that high employee engagement is good for business. Not so widely known is how to make it happen. Some organizations try to build engagement through such perks like as gourmet meals or “karaoke Fridays.” Such activities might boost short-term workplace happiness, but they fail to have any lasting effect on talent retention or performance. Paul J. Zak’s research has found that the key to employee engagement is building a culture of trust. [HBR.org]

Watch two new Oliver Luckett Big Think videos

Oliver Luckett, author of the new book The Social Organism, takes on the topics, Mark Zuckerberg Is the World’s Most Powerful Editor-in-Chief and How the 2016 Election Catalyzed America’s Hidden Hate.

Oliver Luckett is a technology entrepreneur and currently CEO of ReviloPark, a global culture accelerator. He has served as Head of Innovation at the Walt Disney Company and co-founder of video sharing platform Revver. As CEO of theAudience, Luckett worked with clients such as Obama for America, Coachella, Pixar, and American Express. He has helped managed the digital personae of hundreds of celebrities and brands, including Star Wars, The Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki, and Toy Story 3. [BigThink.com]

Brian Keane named CEO of the Year

Brian Keane––President of SmartPower, the nation’s leading non-profit marketing firm dedicated to promoting clean energy and energy efficiency––has been named CEO of the Year by Corporate LiveWire.

Each year, Corporate LiveWire, a business resource providing content on subjects like corporate transactions, international markets and changes in legislation, celebrates organizations and individuals who have shown continued excellence and innovation amid ongoing global economic uncertainty. Among tens of thousands of nominations, the judging panel at Corporate LiveWire considered the strengths of each shortlisted candidate and set its sights firmly on the most innovative, groundbreaking and client-focused firms, teams and individuals who have transformed the way in which they do business. [MarketWatch.com]

Joshua Gans has co-authored a new piece at the Harvard Business Review

Joshua Gans, most recently the author of The Disruption Dilemma, has co-authored “The Simple Economics of Machine Intelligence.”

The first effect of machine intelligence will be to lower the cost of goods and services that rely on prediction. This matters because prediction is an input to a host of activities including transportation, agriculture, healthcare, energy manufacturing, and retail. When the cost of any input falls so precipitously, there are two other well-established economic implications. First, we will start using prediction to perform tasks where we previously didn’t. Second, the value of other things that complement prediction will rise. [HBR.org]