"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
"Safi Bahcall extends the principles of emergence to the behavior of groups, creating an entirely new way of thinking about why some succeed and others fail. Safi hits all the right notes: the rhythm is right, the humor is right, the scope is right ... everything is right. Loonshots should be required reading for anyone serious about changing the world for the better." --Robert Laughlin, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, author of A Different Universe
"Loonshots is a brilliant and wonderfully entertaining book, an unstoppable read, full of surprises and rich with insight into how people create and nurture things that change the world. It's also an important book. Bahcall, a physicist and biotech entrepreneur, is unfolding the secrets behind successes everywhere." --Richard Preston, New York Times bestselling author of The Hot Zone and The Wild Trees
* Instant WSJ bestseller
* Translated into 18 languages
* #1 Most Recommended Book of the year (Bloomberg annual survey of CEOs and entrepreneurs)
* An Amazon, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Forbes, Inc., Newsweek, Strategy + Business, Tech Crunch, Washington Post Best Business Book of the year
* Recommended by Bill Gates, Daniel Kahneman, Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Pink, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, Sid Mukherjee, Tim Ferriss
Why do good teams kill great ideas?
Loonshots reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behavior that challenges everything we thought we knew about nurturing radical breakthroughs.
Bahcall, a physicist and entrepreneur, shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing new ideas to 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 a new kind of science can help us become the initiators, rather than the victims, of innovative surprise.
Over the past decade, researchers have been applying the tools and techniques of this new science—the science of phase transitions—to understand how birds flock, fish swim, brains work, people vote, diseases erupt, and ecosystems collapse. Loonshots is the first to apply this science to the spread of breakthrough ideas. Bahcall distills these insights into practical lessons creatives, entrepreneurs, and visionaries can use to change our world.
Along the way, readers will learn how chickens saved millions of lives, what James Bond and Lipitor have in common, what the movie Imitation Game got wrong about WWII, and what really killed Pan Am, Polaroid, and the Qing Dynasty.
“If The Da Vinci Code and Freakonomics had a child together, it would be called Loonshots.” —Senator Bob Kerrey