Dr. Paul Zak: Scientist, Prolific Author & Public Speaker

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Human connection. Dr. Paul Zak's two decades of research have taken him from the Pentagon to Fortune 50 boardrooms to the rain forest of Papua New Guinea.  All this in a quest to understand the neuroscience of human connection, human happiness, and effective teamwork.  paulaboutHis academic lab and companies he has started develop and deploy neuroscience technologies to solve real problems faced by real people. His latest book, Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High Performance Companies, uses neuroscience to measure and manage organizational cultures to inspire teamwork and accelerate business outcomes.  His 2012 book, The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity, recounted his unlikely discovery of the neurochemical oxytocin as the key driver of trust, love, and morality that distinguish our humanity.   In another obsession, Paul’s group uses neuroscience to quantify the impact of movies, advertising, stories, and consumer experiences.  Along the way, he has helped start several transdisciplinary fields, including neuroeconomics, neuromanagement, and neuromarketing.

Here are his specs: Paul is the founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and Professor of Economics, Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. He has degrees in mathematics and economics from San Diego State University, a Ph.D. in economics from University of Pennsylvania, and post-doctoral training in neuroimaging from Harvard.  You can check out his academic lab, consumer neuroscience company, and neuromanagement company. He also serves as a senior advisor to Finsbury, a global leader in strategic communications that advises many of the world’s most successful companies. Paul’s research on oxytocin and relationships has earned him the nickname "Dr. Love."  That’s cool.  He’s all about adding more love to the world.

What do I do best?

I'm very curious about people and find them fascinating.  I'm best at discovering interesting or odd things that people do, and then creating experiments and technologies to understand why they are doing these things.  

What makes me the best version of myself?

The love I give and get from others.

What are my aspirations?

To create knowledge and technologies to improve people's lives.  

My Biggest Success?

My children.  After that it is building a new field of study (neuroeconomics) and running a lab and companies that improve human happiness.

My Most Challenging Moment?

Deciding that completing my PhD had to take precedence over everything else in my life.  

My Motto?

Love+.  This is my algorithm for how to run my life: for every interaction I have, I try to add love to the world.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Jesus, the Dalai Lama, Peter Drucker, Yannis Venieris, my parents, Warren Bennis, W. Edwards Deming, Elon Musk, Adam Smith, Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin.   

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Any beach, Spain, Italy, Brazil

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Mac, iPhone, a machete, my Hummer, duct tape

My Current Passions?

My new company: Immersion Neuroscience.  We have developed software and wearable neurosensors that anyone can use to measure how much people enjoy an experience second-by-second.  Our platform allows companies to create extraordinary experiences ranging from movies, the arts, advertising, education, travel, and work.  We all want to have extraordinary experiences and now they can be measured---the first step to improving them.