For spring break reading, 'Book of Lists' a winner

Publication ranks Workday as best place to work in the Bay Area

"Book of Lists" probably isn't on any teacher's reading list for spring break, which is too bad.

This 258-page, large-sized publication produced by the San Francisco Business Times with most pages printed in agate type -- the smallest point size that can be printed on newsprint and remain legible -- can keep the typical reader busy for much of the week-long break and probably longer.

It's available at the Pleasanton Library and makes for interesting reading, especially if you want to know what's the tallest high-rise building in San Francisco (most would guess the Transamerica Pyramid, which is correct) or the largest travel agency in the Bay Area, which is Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Inc. in Alamo (which few would have guessed right).

These tidbits of information and statistics are part of an annual directory that is updated by researchers through the year.

Mary Huss, the Business Times' publisher, says it's "one of the largest, most data-rich and widely circulated business resources in the Bay Area," and there's no reason to doubt her claim. As she says, the book -- in an oversized magazine format -- "is packed with names, numbers and contact information on the top people and companies in the myriad of industries that make up our region's dynamic economy."

It's not cheap at $70 a copy (free to regular Business Times subscribers, but well worth the price if you want to know who and what makes the Bay Area tick. Even the list of contents requires three pages, including one for real estate categories. These range from Family-Owned Business to Nobel Prize-winning alumni and current faculty at UC Berkeley.

Pleasanton is home to some of the greatest Bay Area public companies, according to the Book of Lists. These include Safeway, now owned by Albertsons and valued at $36.4 billion; the Clorox Company, valued at $5.59 billion; and Workday, valued at $787.9 million.

The "Book" ranks Workday as the best place to work in the Bay Area. Last year, its CEO, Aneel Bhusri, was rated the area's top local executive with chief human resources executive Ashley Goldsmith named the top HR executive in the Bay Area.

This fast-growing finance and HR applications company also is now in the top 100 of the largest greater-Bay Area public companies, signing last year for one of the largest office leases when it moved into the 225,000-square-foot Pleasanton Corporate Commons on Stoneridge Mall Road.

That's just down the street from where it will soon start construction on a six-story office complex. Workday also is now one of the Bay Area's 100 largest employers with 2,000 in Pleasanton and 3,750 worldwide. It's also one of the largest corporate philanthropists, having contributed $2.35 million in cash to charities company-wide.

And where else but in this voluminous "Book of Lists" would you find, without careful reading, that the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce is the fifth-largest ranked by number of members in the Bay Area, topped, of course, by chambers in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland.

Other interesting tidbits if you keep turning the pages is that San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain was the highest-paid athlete in the greater Bay Area last year at $20 million, with a five-year contract totaling $127.5 million. But the player we know best, Stephen Curry, seems to be short-changed at $11.3 million, although the Warriors do have him on a four-year contract worth $44 million.

Then there's Larry Ellison, who heads Oracle's sizable workforce in Pleasanton, with $67.26 million in total compensation in the company's most recent fiscal year. Pleasanton-based Thoratec paid its CEO Keith Grossman $10.53 million before the company was sold to St. Jude Medical for $3.4 billion. Safeway's CEO Robert Edwards earned $8.8 million in 2015, a year that saw Safeway acquired by Albertsons.

Credit for the detailed, exhaustive research in the "Book of Lists" goes to Business Times researchers Julia Cooper and Lemery Reyes, with help from Ahava Revis. They made thousands of phone calls and dug through documents to complete this rich resource of information.

The San Francisco Business Times audience team uses this book throughout the year as a much-valued reference document -- and for just good reading on a lazy weekend or spring break.

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