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Washington Post’s “10 Leadership Books to Watch for in 2019,” Adam Grant’s “19 New Leadership Books to Read in 2019,” Inc.com’s “10 Business Books You Need to Read in 2019,” Business Insider’s “14 Books Everyone Will Be Reading in 2019”
“This book has everything: new ideas, bold insights, entertaining history and convincing analysis. Not to be missed by anyone who wants to understand how ideas change the world.” ―Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow
What do James Bond and Lipitor have in common? What can we learn about human nature and world history from a glass of water?
In Loonshots, physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behavior that challenges everything we thought we knew about nurturing radical breakthroughs.
Drawing on the science of phase transitions, Bahcall shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them, just as flowing water will suddenly change into brittle ice. Mountains of print have been written about culture. Loonshots identifies the small shifts in structure that control this transition, the same way that temperature controls the change from water to ice.
Using examples that range from the spread of fires in forests to the hunt for terrorists online, and stories of thieves and geniuses and kings, Bahcall shows how this new kind of science helps us understand the behavior of companies and the fate of empires. Loonshots distills these insights into lessons for creatives, entrepreneurs, and visionaries everywhere.
Over the past decade, researchers have been applying the tools and techniques of phase transitions to understand how birds flock, fish swim, brains work, people vote, criminals behave, ideas spread, diseases erupt, and ecosystems collapse. If twentieth-century science was shaped by the search for fundamental laws, like quantum mechanics and gravity, the twenty-first will be shaped by this new kind of science. Loonshots is the first to apply these tools to help all of us unlock our potential to create and nurture the crazy ideas that change the world.
“A witty, invigorating exploration of human behaviour and discovery.” ―Nature
“An ambitious and entertaining effort to lay out some fundamental laws of success and uncover the truth about successful group behavior… Bahcall makes the whole idea sing by bringing in references from across business, history, cinema and science.” ―Financial Times
“This thorough, fascinating study will appeal to a broader audience than just business wonks.” ―Booklist
“A wonderful book that explores the beauty, quirkiness and complexity of ideas, Loonshots will both educate and entertain you. If you care about ideas ― especially new and out-of-the-box ones ― you need to read this book.” ―Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies “Who knew that one idea could connect naval battles, chirping crickets, and the birth of modern science? If The Da Vinci Code and Freakonomics had a child together, it would be called Loonshots. This book is a must read for anyone in business, education, or public service.” ―Senator Bob Kerrey, Medal of Honor recipient, former Navy SEAL and president of The New School
“With riveting stories set in the most unexpected times and places, Loonshots shows how group dynamics and workplace politics conspire against the psychological safety people need in order to boldly share their wildest ideas. Bahcall’s fresh ideas and practical solutions―an unusual combination of psychology and physics―should change the way any person or team sets out to change the world.” ―Amy C. Edmondson, author of The Fearless Organization and professor at Harvard Business School
About the Author
SAFI BAHCALL received his BA summa cum laude in physics from Harvard and his PhD from Stanford. After working for three years as a consultant for McKinsey, he co-founded a biotechnology company developing new drugs for cancer. He led its IPO and served as its CEO for 13 years. In 2008, he was named E&Y New England Biotechnology Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2011, he worked with the president’s council of science advisors (PCAST) on the future of national research.