The Voltage Effect: How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale

“Be it a medical breakthrough, a policy initiative, a product innovation, or a social movement, translating an idea into widespread impact depends on one thing only: whether it can be replicated at scale.”

This is the foundational idea behind John A. List’s newly released book, The Voltage Effect. List is the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College, and internationally best-selling co-author of The Why Axis.

 The Voltage Effect examines the science of scaling and how, “by understanding the science of scaling, we can drive change in our schools, workplaces, communities, and society at large.” While “scale” has become a favored buzzword in the startup world, the concept extends beyond just accumulating more users or capturing more market share; rather than an art, scaling is a science. “Scalability is critical to everything from expanding a small business, to narrowing the national achievement gap, to delivering billions of doses of a vaccine, to making a new technology widely affordable—and much more.”

To purchase The Voltage Effect, visit

John A. List is the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. His research includes over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and several published textbooks. Previous to The Voltage Effect, he co-authored the international best seller, The Why Axis, in 2013.


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