- USD 11.99
* 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
Innovation comes about when people bank on a "loonshot," a "widely dismissed idea whose champions are often written off as crazy," says Bahcall, cofounder of the biotech company Synta Pharmaceuticals, in this spirited but less than game-changing business guide. How can leaders take these crazy ideas and translate them into technologies that produce transformative products or services? Basing his work on science policy adviser Vannevar Bush's WWII-era theories on how to usher in radical breakthroughs, Bahcall discusses Bush's use of the physics concept of phase transitions as a framework for thinking about human behavior for instance, how small changes in organizational structure, instead of culture, can change group behavior, much as "a small change in temperature can transform rigid ice to flowing water." With boundless energy and enthusiasm, Bahcall \noutlines his own ideas, such as distinguishing between product and strategy type loonshots. While the presentation is persuasive, it's hard to say that the world needed yet another book singing the praises of long shots. His work will likely prove too familiar to achieve the transformative effect he so admires.