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Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries PDF, ePub eBook *Wall Street Journal bestseller *Next Big Idea Club selection--chosen by Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Dan Pink, and Adam Grant as one of the "two most groundbreaking new nonfiction reads of the season" *Washington Post's "10 Leadership Books to Watch for in 2019" *Inc.com's "10 Business Books You Need to Read in 2019" *Business Insider's "14 Books Everyone Will Be Reading i *Wall Street Journal bestseller *Next Big Idea Club selection--chosen by Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Dan Pink, and Adam Grant as one of the "two most groundbreaking new nonfiction reads of the season" *Washington Post's "10 Leadership Books to Watch for 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" *Management Today's "Top Business Books to Read 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.

30 review for Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    I guess this is the new "disruption" book (even though he articulates the differences quite convincingly). Bahcall posits a theory of loonshots using a few emblamatic examples (actually the same ones everyone uses). This is sort of my fundamental problem with these sorts of books--they cherrypick data and then try to come up with grand theories based on a few successes. It's not super rigorous or scientific. This one gets extra points though because there are a lot of interesting tangents and fu I guess this is the new "disruption" book (even though he articulates the differences quite convincingly). Bahcall posits a theory of loonshots using a few emblamatic examples (actually the same ones everyone uses). This is sort of my fundamental problem with these sorts of books--they cherrypick data and then try to come up with grand theories based on a few successes. It's not super rigorous or scientific. This one gets extra points though because there are a lot of interesting tangents and fun stories that I hadn't heard before.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dolly

    Loonshots is a thought-provoking blend of history, physics, and business which seeks to explain group decision-making about "loonshots". I am a social scientist so the idea of thinking about group behavior through the lens of phase transitions (think ice to water or water to ice) was fascinating to me. The real-world examples ranging from WWII to cancer research were interesting and I found the author's personal stories most compelling of all.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    You would imagine that the first time someone presented the idea of using a beam to detect ships and airplanes, or a drug to reduce cholesterol, or a drug to kill tumors by choking their blood supply, there would be wild jubilation welcoming such a world-shaking breakthrough. Aaaand you would be wrong. The folks who came up with such well-duh-obviously useful innovations as radar, statins and anti-angiogenesis drugs were rejected, and again, and again, for between 12 and 32 years. Loonshots are “ You would imagine that the first time someone presented the idea of using a beam to detect ships and airplanes, or a drug to reduce cholesterol, or a drug to kill tumors by choking their blood supply, there would be wild jubilation welcoming such a world-shaking breakthrough. Aaaand you would be wrong. The folks who came up with such well-duh-obviously useful innovations as radar, statins and anti-angiogenesis drugs were rejected, and again, and again, for between 12 and 32 years. Loonshots are “widely dismissed ideas whose champions are often written off as crazy.” Through dozens of engaging stories told with insight and wry humor, Bahcall describes how loonshots (such as radar, the internet, and Pixar movies) come about, how to nurture them, how to champion them, and how to keep from inadvertently killing them. A gifted storyteller, Bahcall populates the narrative with characters endlessly fascinating through pluck, stubbornness, luck, or sheer genius: Vannevar Bush, the creator of the Office of Science Research and Development which basically won WW2; Akira Endo, the Japanese chemist who screened 6000 fungi to discover statins only to have his work stolen; Judah Folkman, the saintly discoverer of angiogenesis; Juan Terry Trippe, the larger-than-life founder of PanAm; Charles Lindbergh; Edwin Land, the supergenius founder of Polaroid; and Steve Jobs, who continues to get a lot more credit for Apple’s products than he deserved. In each of these instances, Bahcall goes deep, uncovering the complexities that belie simplistic origin stories and hero worship (Jobs and Newton are notably knocked down a few notches). Bahcall has done some serious sleuthing here. He also has a flair for super-clear explanations of complex scientific subjects. One of the book's central theses is that loonshots have their genesis in company *structure* and not culture. He draws a parallel from the science of phase transitions. To generate loonshots, you want fluidity: smaller teams with mostly creative folks (“artists”). To generate franchises, or even just to bring the loonshots to market, you want solidity: bigger teams staffed with “soldiers” with well-defined roles. Leading to the Loonshot Rules: 1. Separate the phases: Separate your artists and soldiers. 2. Dynamic equilibrium: Love your artists and soldiers equally. 3. Critical mass: Have teams that can do the job. In the latter part of the book, Bahcall presents a plausible quantitative model for the various forces that incline team members towards loonshot vs franchise behavior, and how to tweak those variables to get the kind of company you want. I found this book enjoyable and enlightening enough to have read it twice already. If you are an entrepreneur, scientist, artist, drug developer, military officer, or just a rabid fan of ideas with some of your own you’d like to make real, you should find out about P-type (product) loonshots vs S-type (strategy) loonshots; the Bush-Vail rules; systems mindset vs outcome mindset for doing postmortems; and the dreaded Moses trap. Also, why *does* the world speak English and not Chinese, when the Chinese invented printing and gunpowder hundreds of years before the West? With the word “loonshot” likely poised to become part of the vernacular in innovative circles, this is the book that puts you ahead of the curve. Consider it the most fun required reading you’ll ever do. -- Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil., host of "The Ideaverse" podcast, author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible, the highest-rated dating book on Amazon, and Should I Go to Medical School?: An Irreverent Guide to the Pros and Cons of a Career in Medicine

  4. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    A cool and very readable account of technical history, innovation, and project management. I liked the author’s breezy, conversational style. He opens with Vannevar Bush just before WW2, starting a predecessor to DARPA, which wasn’t a big favorite of the prewar US military. But he had FDR’s support (via Harry Hopkins). The first significant deployment was microwave radar — the British had longwave radar since the 1930s, and that was a big help in winning the Battle of Britain. But microwaves had A cool and very readable account of technical history, innovation, and project management. I liked the author’s breezy, conversational style. He opens with Vannevar Bush just before WW2, starting a predecessor to DARPA, which wasn’t a big favorite of the prewar US military. But he had FDR’s support (via Harry Hopkins). The first significant deployment was microwave radar — the British had longwave radar since the 1930s, and that was a big help in winning the Battle of Britain. But microwaves had enough sensitivity and definition to spot submarine periscopes, and that was enough to win the Battle of the Atlantic for the Allies. And just in time, as Britain was very low on fuel and food in 1943, with no other effective U-boat defense. The Allies sank 41 U-boats in May 1943, more than in any prior full *year* of the war, and the Germans withdrew their Wolfpacks from the Atlantic. Next, statins, the cholesterol-reducing drugs that have drastically reduced heart attacks since they went into widespread use. The discoverer was Akiro Endo, a Japanese medical researcher, who found the compound in a blue-green mold, Penicillium citrinum, a relative of the famous Penicillin mold. The path to FDA approval was not straightforward. It took 26 years and two companies — Dr. Endo’s company gave up — and Merck got FDA approval for Mevacor in 1987. The statins have been remarkably successful, both medically and financially. Mevacor and other Merck statins have sold over $90 billion, and all statins over $300 billion. Yet this was a very fragile discovery, and the original discoverer earned little, aside from scientific recognition. This is a not-atypical path for a new drug discovery. Many more examples of success and failure follow. Noteworthy (and well known) were Juan Trippe’s Pan American bankruptcy, and Edwin Land’s Polaroid collapse. But I’d never heard of Dr. Land’s involvement in the U-2 spy-plane project, and deeper involvement with the US spy-satellite program. Dr. Land was an early advocate for digital satellite photography, and the first digital spy satellite was launched in 1976. Yet his Polaroid Corp. was still trapped by the collapse of film photography, and Land left the business in 1981. There’s a rueful quote from him on the danger of hubris. Polaroid went bankrupt in 2001. I have more notes, but this is enough, I think. Great stuff for the first 2/3, then it sags a bit. But don’t miss if you are at all interested in the history of technology and innovation. Something like half of the trillions of dollars in US GDP growth since WW2 came from technology improvements, so it's a topic of considerable interest. 4.4 stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    1. New ideas are fragile and require tremendous amount of protection all the way from the top. 2. World War 2: The German U-boats were sinking Allies ships. Radar saved the day, letting pilots find them in all weather. However the military did not like Radar, at least in its original form. Vannevar Bush got the support of President Roosevelt and Radar helped killed U-boat and made allied bombs 7 times more potent by exploding around the wanted German targets. 3. Juan Tripp founded Pan Am, made f 1. New ideas are fragile and require tremendous amount of protection all the way from the top. 2. World War 2: The German U-boats were sinking Allies ships. Radar saved the day, letting pilots find them in all weather. However the military did not like Radar, at least in its original form. Vannevar Bush got the support of President Roosevelt and Radar helped killed U-boat and made allied bombs 7 times more potent by exploding around the wanted German targets. 3. Juan Tripp founded Pan Am, made flying glamorous and invented the jet plane almost single handedly. Later Pan Am would however be killed by deregulation. 4. Edward Land founded Polaroid, polarising lenses and prints, 3D movies, and had to thriving business. He was first to develop digital photography technology for military satellites. But he did not bring it to the masses, because his printed photography and film part of the business was earning him lots of money. Then Sony and Canon took over. 5. Mevastatin was discovered by Akira Endo and developed by Sankyo, but that stopped after a report in dogs found it might cause cancer. Merck resurrected the research and came up with simvastatin. Sankyo missed a multi-billion dollar drug. 6. The phenomenon of emergence states that many is different from few, the interaction changes behaviour, such as phase change of water and ice. To promote loonshots by artists, which can fail many times before eventually succeeding, we also need the soldiers who continue the franchise to make dependable money. 7. Joseph Needham learnt Chinese from his Chinese mistress and published monumental work about Chinese science and technology advances. The industrial revolution did not happen in China because one emperor can ban all astronomy works of the whole country; Tycho Brache was exiled by the Danish king but built his observatory with Kepler in Prague. 8. Ikea started as a mail order company that happens to sell furniture; banned from trade fair from competitors, he opened show rooms himself; banned from employing designers, he employed his own (making Poäng chairs for example); banned from using Swedish wood, he went to Poland and sourced for good quality wood at half price and passed on the savings. Too many customers and he allowed them to shop from the warehouse. 9. Loonshots are different from disruptions. Bahcall decides them into Strategy S type and Product P type loonshots. Both can change industries, sometimes overnight. A solid 5 star book!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    Was skeptical with the bombastic title at first, but this book shines as it recounts many notable inventions across industries and the multiple failures that preceded their eventual success.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Howard

    a dynamite book. brilliantly written. good ideas. safi bahcall is a great story teller, and these tales are well worth telling.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Venky

    One might be forgiven for nursing a genuine assumption that the most famous “Bush” surname belongs to one of two men, both of whom happened to be the Presidents of the United States of America at different intervals. Safi Bahcall, a second-generation physicist (the son of two astrophysicists) and a biotech entrepreneur might also have harboured a similar notion until the day when the Chairman of a project group constituting the then-President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Tec One might be forgiven for nursing a genuine assumption that the most famous “Bush” surname belongs to one of two men, both of whom happened to be the Presidents of the United States of America at different intervals. Safi Bahcall, a second-generation physicist (the son of two astrophysicists) and a biotech entrepreneur might also have harboured a similar notion until the day when the Chairman of a project group constituting the then-President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology mulled about the goal of the group being to “write the next generation of the Vannevar Bush report.” Piqued by curiosity, Bahcall proceeded to look up the storied life and achievements of the former engineer and inventor who was tasked with the Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II. Most importantly, Bush laid the edifice for US’ whirlwind success in Science and Technology. The greatest good to have come out of Mr. Bahcall’s inquisitiveness to learn about Vannevar Bush is undoubtedly his wonderful book, “Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries.” So what exactly is a “loonshot?”. Mr. Bahcall says, a loonshot represents “a neglected project, widely dismissed, its champion written off as unhinged.” The most significant and influential breakthroughs, are often, the results of loonshots, where the ultimate outcome’ pioneers are initially dismissed, written off and laughed away as being loony. Richard Miller, an oncologist was a CEO in a struggling biotech company. Miller, who also served as a part-time physician at Stanford University pioneered a new drug that promised a radical line of treatment for cancer afflicted patients. Not only was his drug scoffed at, it also led to Miller losing a boardroom battle and resigning as CEO. However, continued clinical trials resulted in not merely encouraging, but mind boggling results. Patients administered with Ibrutinib, - Miller’s drug – showed a nearly ten times higher response rate. FDA approval followed shortly before Miller’s company, Pharmacyclics was acquired by a pharmaceutical company for a whopping sum of $21 billion! A classic example of Mr. Bahcall’s Loonshot. Akira Endo, a scientist from the food-processing division at the Japanese conglomerate Sankyo, faced an experience similar to that undergone by Miller, in his quest to finding a solution to treat cholesterol. As Mr. Bahcall asserts, a Loonshot usually has to survive a few “Deaths” before announcing itself to the world. From screening fungi in discovering the mold Penicillium citrinum to experimenting with chicken, Endo’s drug had to survive Three Deaths. Failures and rejections later statins changed both the face of medicine and the fate of millions of patients. Cumulative statin sales of the pharmaceutical major Merck exceeded $90 billion while sales from all statins have exceeded $300 billion. In 2008, Endo was the recipient of a delayed recognition of his contribution to the medical world, courtesy the impressive Lasker-De Bakey prize. At the core of Mr. Bahcall’s Loonshots lies the analogy of phase transitions. The behavior of water undergoes a dramatic shift at the critical point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. A glass of water into which one could lazily swirls one’s fingers goes absolutely rigid and freezes over at the point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. What causes such a sudden change. More so when the molecules inside are exactly the same? This behavior in physics is popularly known as phase transition. This analogy according to Mr. Bahcall can be fruitfully employed to analyse group behaviours and their attendant changes. In other words, “there is something about structure that causes molecules to suddenly change behavior and that has nothing to do with the top or culture. It’s what elements of structure transform the behavior of teams and companies. structure can drive culture! There is a famous saying in business that culture eats strategy for breakfast and the theme here is that structure eats culture for lunch. Here’s an example. Let’s say you took 50 people and asked each one of them individually, are you excited about this early project? They’re all individually excited. You organize them into a group and then they collectively reject that idea. Why? According to Mr. Bahcall, a good example of structure driving culture is that of the multinational enterprise Nokia. Before becoming the globe’s leading smartphone company, Nokia dabbled in what looked like a haphazard menagerie of randomly selected items – rubber boots, and toilet paper included. This pottered experiment underwent a phenomenal transformation resulting in Nokia swamping the market for smart phones. In the early 2000s, a team within the company came up with an idea of a large phone, with unique touchscreens and an inbuilt camera. The head honchos however put paid to the idea, until a few years later a startled bunch of Nokia engineers watched Steve Jobs unveil what seemed to be their own prototype – with a mixture of awe and trepidation. The rest as the cliché goes is history. As Nokia grew and expanded, its structure changed and it crossed that point where it became more about people’s individual incentives and politics. The moment that transition was crossed, it was a mere inevitability that Nokia was going to become an institution that was rigid. For managing these phase transitions, Mr. Bahcall provides the following measures: • Separate the phases: Create separate groups for inventors and operators: those who may invent the next transistor vs those who answer the phone. Wide management spans, loose controls, and flexible metrics work best for loonshot groups. Narrow management spans, tight controls, and rigid metrics work best for franchise groups. S-type loonshots are small changes in strategy no one thinks will amount to much, whereas P-type loonshots are technologies no one thinks will work.” • Create Dynamic equilibrium: Innovative leaders with some successes tend to appoint themselves loonshot judge and jury. Instead create a natural process for projects to transfer from the loonshot nursery to the field and for valuable feedback and market intelligence to cycle back from the field to the nursery. • Spread a system mindset: Keep asking why, keep asking how decision making processes can be improved and identify teams with outcome mindset and help them adopt a system mindset. Mr. Bahcall also warns us to be wary of what he terms the “Moses Trap.” One place where the working of the Moses Trap is very apparent is Silicon Valley. In Mr. Bahcall’s own words, “the leader is so enamoured with new ideas. You need two conditions. Number one is an all-powerful leader where the decisions really get made from the top of the mountain. Two, you have someone who becomes infatuated with the crazy ideas and always wants to have the next one. You always hear that something is the holy loonshot that will save the company.” PanAm fell squarely into the Moses Trap. PanAm was soaring high on proud wings (literally). Boasting a talented leader who identified new technologies that allowed him to build bigger, faster, better planes, he kept turning that cycle and that worked for quite a while until it didn’t. “He had all these competitors and he was building bigger faster planes, but some of them were working on small changes in strategy like frequent flyer miles, things like yield management with big data, how to arrange seats. Things that sound kind of boring but actually make a big difference, and when airline deregulation hit [creating a free market for the airline industry], he had big, fast planes but no competitors. His competitors didn’t have as high-quality planes, but they had small changes in strategy that allowed them to run a much more economical business. They survived and PanAm didn’t.” PanAm, however was not the only company to find itself swallowed by the Moses Trap. Edwin Land’s Polaroid, could have become the host, emcee and showstopper of the world’s digital revolution. Land, in fact was at the forefront of the digital technology, when in 1971, as part of a secret panel advising the US president, he advocated digital photography, which the US eventually adopted for its spy satellites. But the brilliantly talented Land was myopic to the promise of digital cameras for commercial use. He wagered all his money instead on a high-resolution, instant-print movie technology called Polavision, launched in 1977. It was a commercial flop. Later, Land invited a guest to visit a warehouse full of unsold Polavision cameras. “I wanted you to see what hubris looks like,” he said. “Loonshots” teems with a plethora of interesting, illuminating and insightful examples similar to the ones mentioned in this review. It also provides a platform to nurture Loonshot thinking and institutionalization of the same as an organizational habit.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dan Connors

    A very fascinating read. The opening story about the invention of radar and how it won World War 2, one which I had not heard before, was worth the read alone. The author goes into detail about how great advances in technology, art or technology are made and how we can nurture them better. The advice is: 1- Separate the creators from the franchise and let them have some freedom. Discourage politics and encourage collaboration. 2- Create dynamic equilibrium between artists and soldiers so that commu A very fascinating read. The opening story about the invention of radar and how it won World War 2, one which I had not heard before, was worth the read alone. The author goes into detail about how great advances in technology, art or technology are made and how we can nurture them better. The advice is: 1- Separate the creators from the franchise and let them have some freedom. Discourage politics and encourage collaboration. 2- Create dynamic equilibrium between artists and soldiers so that communication is free and both sides feel valued. 3- Create a system mindset that encourages improvements instead of an outcome mindset. Aka growth mindset. He closes the book with a great question that has relevance today. Why, if China and Islam were the most advanced in technology and culture in the middle ages, did they get passed by so totally by the Europeans and especially the English in the 18th and 19th centuries? His answer- China got lazy and turned inward- creating big franchise projects like the Great Wall while ignoring loonshots that would bring the next big thing. The West, on the other hand, embraced the scientific method and found new ways to conquer nature, eventually dominating world politics and economies. Pertinent today because many are turning away from science, embracing the familiar franchises, and looking to build walls instead of new technologies and strategies that will make things better. There are plenty of well-researched, if cherry-picked stories from science and business and this book deserves the accolades that it is receiving.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chia Evers

    Full disclosure—I did some of the research for Loonshots, so I know the book (and the author) quite well. That said, it's a fascinating mix of history, science, technology, and organizational management (and never did I think to use the words "fascinating" and "organizational management" in the same sentence), written in a conversational style that makes complex ideas accessible, without oversimplifying.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Loonshots was a fair book, but not overly great. The author did a poor job defining his terms, particularly the P-type definition was weakly delivered. Ultimately, the book reads like a dissertation that received encouragement from colleagues. The message was decent, just not overly well delivered.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dan Gibson

    A little wonky at times (although I find most business books are, so I might not be the right audience), but about 2/3 of the way through, it hit an interesting rhythm with helpful (to me) insights on the construction of teams and how to encourage innovation in an organization without the lazy (sometimes ineffective) carrot of promotions. Recommended, although don't expect a super fun read. Probably 3 1/2 stars for me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    "I'm still amazed by how often large companies compensate junior or mid-level employees on company earnings. If your project can move earnings by no more than a tiny fraction of a percent, how does a company-earnings bonus motivate you? You might as well put your energy into twiddling your thumbs and fooling your boss into thinking you are indispensable while enjoying the free ride if earnings go up."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    What I love about Loonshots is how Bachall makes success seem more tangible. He doesn’t settle for a fluffy concept like culture where the amount of good culture isn’t actually measurable. He forms the magic number and theorizes ways to increase it. What I didn’t like was when he introduced his formula without showing tangible examples of companies that have increased it and the results in numbers that followed. He merely presents an example of a company that has exhibit a good or bad quality an What I love about Loonshots is how Bachall makes success seem more tangible. He doesn’t settle for a fluffy concept like culture where the amount of good culture isn’t actually measurable. He forms the magic number and theorizes ways to increase it. What I didn’t like was when he introduced his formula without showing tangible examples of companies that have increased it and the results in numbers that followed. He merely presents an example of a company that has exhibit a good or bad quality and leaves it at that. Bahcall uses prime historical examples of failures like Nokia, Next Computer, and even ancient empires to build a case of entities that have failed to keep up with innovation. He shares his list of loonshot qualities where these failed entities lacked, but he completely forgets to show us which successful entities exhibit them all.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ann (thebookisbetterann)

    I read Loonshots as part of The Next Big Idea Bookclub and watched the accompanying videos on Teachable. I found the book to be very interesting, but some of the ideas and concepts were a little over-my-head, especially the concept that you should only have 150 connections because that is the number of neurons in the human brain. I enjoyed how he related scientific concepts back to business and liked the idea that nurturing loonshot ideas is similar to phase transitions in science. Some of my bi I read Loonshots as part of The Next Big Idea Bookclub and watched the accompanying videos on Teachable. I found the book to be very interesting, but some of the ideas and concepts were a little over-my-head, especially the concept that you should only have 150 connections because that is the number of neurons in the human brain. I enjoyed how he related scientific concepts back to business and liked the idea that nurturing loonshot ideas is similar to phase transitions in science. Some of my biggest takeaways from the book and the course are "Love Your Artists and Soldiers Equally" and "Be a Gardener, Not a Moses". I would recommend this book for anyone who ever has had or dreams of having a Loonshot idea.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mart

    This book is an "S-type loonshot" to use its own jargon - it synthesizes management paradigms that have already been out there for a while, into a more practical and useful whole. One of the most enjoyable and useful management (and history!) books I've read in the recent past.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rob Delwo

    I LOVED the stories of invention that the author used to prove his point. It was so refreshing to read about great inventors from the pre-internet era have the lessons applied to the modern era of business.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Markus

    Like most of these self development bestsellers it has a lot of fluff and tge first half of the book is spent on telling enterantaining historical anecdotes. But I enjoy a good story, the second part is a change of pace and it has a few good points so I'd not hesitate to recommend this if you're into this type of books

  19. 5 out of 5

    Simon Hohenadl

    Entertaining anecdotes on innovation. I find the developed framework of loonshots and how to foster them interesting and inspiring. However, I found the theory is based on anecdotes and generalisations too much for my taste. It actually contradicts other (more research-focused) books like Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ronald J.

    Moonshot: An ambitious and expensive goal Loonshot: A neglected project, widely dismissed, its champion written off as unhinged. The most important breakthroughs are loonshots. Large groups are needed to translate these into technologies that win wars, products, or strategies that change industries. Applying the science of phase transitions to the behavior of teams, companies provides practical rules for nurturing loonshots faster and better. The goal is to create a loonshot nursery. The author, a ph Moonshot: An ambitious and expensive goal Loonshot: A neglected project, widely dismissed, its champion written off as unhinged. The most important breakthroughs are loonshots. Large groups are needed to translate these into technologies that win wars, products, or strategies that change industries. Applying the science of phase transitions to the behavior of teams, companies provides practical rules for nurturing loonshots faster and better. The goal is to create a loonshot nursery. The author, a physicist, founded a biotech company developing new cancer drugs. He writes that small changes in structure, not culture, can transform behavior of groups. Culture is too squishy. "I hear culture, I think yogurt." Describing a culture after the fact is like asking guy who just won the lotto to describe the socks he was wearing when bought the winning ticket. I agree with. Every organization has a culture, even North Korea. So what? You alter a culture by changing worldview, paradigms, or behavior, not just talking about "culture." Nokia engineers had the idea for the iPhone and online app store in 2004, but leadership shot both down. Why do good teams and smart people kill great ideas? There’s no way to analyze the behavior of any individual and explain the group. As teams grow larger the stakes in outcomes decreases while the perks of rank increase. When the two cross, the system snaps and provides incentives for behavior no one wants, including rejecting loonshots. The coexistence of two phases on the edge of a phase transition, is called a phase separation. The phases break apart—but stay connected. Neither overwhelms the other is called dynamic equilibrium. The artists need to be separated from the soldiers running the steady-growth, successful part of a company. Six-Sigma, TQM will help with franchise, but will suffocate the artists. He distinguishes between P-Type and S-type loonshots. P for products, and S for strategies, such as AA’s Bob Crandall’s innovation in yield management, two-tier pay system, Sabre, etc. Both types could be either disruptive or sustaining. The author critiques Clayton Christensen’s theory of innovation, pointing out that the transitor, Google, iPhone, Uber, Walmart, IKEA and AA’s Big Data were all initially sustaining innovations and hundreds of disruptive innovators fail, so it seems Clayton’s distinction is not much help in steering businesses in real time. The author claims the fatalism pointed out by the Austro-Germanic school of Spengler, Schumpeter—that decline is inevitable—is not necessarily inevitable. I don’t think he adequately proves his claim, but more important, so what? Do we want companies to last forever? Aren’t the gales of creative destruction the very dynamic equilibrium his model calls for, at least at the macro level of an economy? Sure, his model might help an organization last longer, but again, who cares? What matters is innovation happening across the entire economy. Google didn’t invent the blockchain, but it might kill them. What kills you doesn’t look like you. The author seems to think humans in business act like science, can be managed, like designing stronger materials, or building better highways, or engineer more innovative teams. But humans aren’t just material, they are spiritual, which is why bridges and airplanes don’t fail, but businesses and marriages do. Business ain’t science would be a retort to some of the arguments in this book. Two ways of leading: system mindset, and outcome mindset. Why did the decision fail? System mindset helps you understand the process why which you arrived at the decision. After Action Reviews do exactly this—help you examine the quality of decisions, not just the outcomes. A failed outcome doesn’t mean a bad decision was made. Good decisions can still make bad outcomes, but those are intelligent risks. And bad decisions can occasionally result in good outcomes—like an unforced error of your competitor allows your team to win. Pixar’s Catmull minds the systems rather than managing the projects. The Dunbar number (150) for the maximum group size might be the right observation but the wrong theory. The author offers the science of emergence instead. He offers a formula, and it gets to 150. ARPA is an example he gives for a small, cohesive innovative group. There are no career ladders, employee badges come with expiration dates, so no time is spent on politics. It provides recognition from peers, or intangible, soft equity. I’d also suggest the author read Deirdre McCloskey’s trilogy books on why the Industrial Revolution didn’t happen in China, and why it did in Europe. It wasn’t the Scientific Revolution. It takes a critical mass to ignite loonshots. A diversified of 10 loonshots has a 65% likelihood of producing at least one win; two dozen, a 92% chance. Without biotech and genetic engineering upstarts big Pharma would stagnate, as would movie studios without small specialist studios taking risks with new movies. The book is too long, with many biographical stories. I still enjoyed it, but the level of detail doesn't really enhance his theory. He will make you think, which is always good, and I appreciate the different perspective a physicist brings to business. Will this book matter in ten years? Time will tell.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    In reading this book it became very obvious that the author was someone who had a high view of science and medicine, a far higher view than I have myself, and wants to make a point that the problems with institutions are not so much about culture but about structure, comparing institutions at certain sizes and conditions to compounds making phase transitions from liquid (where there is still the possibility of flow) to solid, where institutions are rigid in their thinking.  By and large the auth In reading this book it became very obvious that the author was someone who had a high view of science and medicine, a far higher view than I have myself, and wants to make a point that the problems with institutions are not so much about culture but about structure, comparing institutions at certain sizes and conditions to compounds making phase transitions from liquid (where there is still the possibility of flow) to solid, where institutions are rigid in their thinking.  By and large the author makes a great point that organizations and cultures that we have viewed as having missed technological advances have often noticed those advances but were unable to get their institutions to take action because of the political risk.  Indeed, the author makes some very trenchant comments about the way that innovation is inversely related to the behavior that earns one political success, and that reducing corporate and institutional politics tends to increase the attractiveness of creativity and innovation, something I have noticed in my own experience is quite a major problem in many societies and institutions.  In the author's generally able hands, loonshots don't come off as being that loony after all. This book is about 300 pages and is divided into 3 parts, 9 chapters, and various other material.  The author begins with a prologue and introduction and then moves on to the first part of the book on the engineers of serendipity (I), where the author discusses about the way that technological loonshots won World War II (1), the fragility of loonshots in medicine (2), and the two types of loonshots, ones based on technologies and ones based on systems (3).  The author continues in this vein talking about the Moses trap where he makes some unnecessary labeling of powerful leaders as having a Moses complex that hinders innovation (4), and how the Moses trap can be escaped using the example of Pixar and Steve Jobs' successful second act (5).  The second part of the book looks at the science of sudden change (II) with chapters on phase transitions (6,7) and the importance of raising the magic number where innovation turns into politicized environments from 150 to a higher number through de-incentivizing political actions (8).  Finally, the author concludes with the mother of all loonshoots in discussing the surprising superiority of Western Europe and its settler colonies in the modern era (9), before including a discussion about the distinction between loon shots and disruption, which can often be noticed only after the fact, as well as a couple of appendices on the Bush-Vail rules and an innovation equation. I think I would have liked this book better had the author not joined many others in making fun of the Bible.  I would also have appreciated the author have been less biased in favor of bioengineering, but given his background this bias is not particularly surprising.  Even so, the author makes some very good points that institutions simply get too big for their own good and quash creativity over a large terrain unless there are smaller players around who are less risk adverse who can profitably nourish those ideas and see them through the difficult process of development and maturation until they are able to benefit the world and the people on it.  Although size can certainly create economies of scale when it comes to franchises, it actively hinders the development of those oddball ideas that are thought of as useless or unprofitable.  Furthermore, the author does a good job in explaining that organizations need to treat their artists and soldiers equally and not pit one group of people against another in an organization when it comes to playing favorites.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Soundview Executive Book Summaries

    How does a book by a second-generation physicist on the science of phase transition become a Wall Street Journal best seller, endorsed as a top business book by such familiar names as Malcolm Gladwell and Dan Pink? By presenting the simple proposition that group behavior can be transformed by small changes in structure rather than culture. In his first book Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries, physicist and biotech entrepreneur Safi Bah How does a book by a second-generation physicist on the science of phase transition become a Wall Street Journal best seller, endorsed as a top business book by such familiar names as Malcolm Gladwell and Dan Pink? By presenting the simple proposition that group behavior can be transformed by small changes in structure rather than culture. In his first book Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries, physicist and biotech entrepreneur Safi Bahcall delivers a fascinating study on how the principles of phase transition in physics can be applied to human behavior in organizations. Just as a small increase in temperature can change the state of rigid ice into flowing water, the author argues, equally small changes in organizational structure can transform “crystalline” companies into powerful innovation engines. The objective is not a “liquid” state of free-flowing but undisciplined ideas. What is needed is a delicate balance of co-habitation where “two phases [ice and water] can co-exist.”. Loonshots The original moonshots of the 1950’s and 1960’s were highly ambitious and ridiculously expensive goals that received global support because they were expected to have great significance. In contrast, Bahcall’s “Loonshots” are “neglected project[s], widely dismissed,” where the project champion is often ignored as being “unhinged.” Bahcall offers the example of Nokia, the industrial conglomerate that at one point in the early 2000’s was selling “half the smart phones on the planet.” Driven by an unorthodox culture that promoted fun and the freedom to make mistakes, Nokia engineers proposed a new model of cellphone that looked remarkably like the still-to-be-launched iPhone. The leadership team at Nokia decided the project was too far out of the box and shut it down, only to see the iPhone launched to global acclaim three years later. Within six years Nokia was out of the cellphone business and was worth a quarter trillion dollars less than at its peak. How different would Nokia’s world be if that iPhone-style Loonshot had been nurtured and allowed to grow? It is this transformative potential, Bahcall argues, that demands constant attention to the Loonshot or “skunkworks” projects that often get dismissed in the name of mission clarity or fiscal stewardship. James Bond & Lipitor The message of faster innovation and better implementation may not be new, but Bahcall’s brilliant use of comparative case studies – what James Bond and Lipitor have in common, for instance – make this a highly entertaining and applicable read. Both Bond and Lipitor started as highly speculative projects but quickly established themselves as highly lucrative franchises. Once that phase transition was achieved, updates to each version were much easier to sell “up the chain of command.” Loonshots argues that structure can be just as powerful as culture in organizational transformation. Using a highly entertaining and insightful series of case studies, the author manages to make phase transition physics interesting and group behavior absolutely fascinating. Soundview subscribers get in-depth summaries of the key concepts in best-selling business books (like this one) delivered to them every month! Take your career to new heights by staying up-to-date with the trends and ideas affecting business leaders around the globe.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    "New frontiers of the mind are before us, and if they are pioneered with the same vision, boldness, and drive with which we have waged this war we can create fuller and more fruitful employment and a fuller and more fruitful life." — Franklin Delano Roosevelt pg 257 Safi Bahcall has applied a physics-based approach to understanding innovations and creativity in group settings. Through the careful study of a bunch of historical examples, he has discovered ways leaders can structure their businesse "New frontiers of the mind are before us, and if they are pioneered with the same vision, boldness, and drive with which we have waged this war we can create fuller and more fruitful employment and a fuller and more fruitful life." — Franklin Delano Roosevelt pg 257 Safi Bahcall has applied a physics-based approach to understanding innovations and creativity in group settings. Through the careful study of a bunch of historical examples, he has discovered ways leaders can structure their businesses to best encourage the growth of "loonshots." The author has defined a "loonshot" as "a neglected project, widely dismissed, its champion written off as unhinged." It is through these, Bahcall believes, that world-changing ideas are produced that can be applied from arenas as diverse as business to war. "The twisted paths leading to great discoveries are the rule rather than the exception. And so are their revisionist histories: victors don't just write history; they rewrite history." pg 56 He suggests these breakthroughs are generally created by large groups of people, rather than solitary geniuses. And he thinks that "applying the science of phase transitions to the behavior of teams, companies, or any group with a mission provides practical rules for nurturing loonshots faster and better." pg 2 For example: By examining Theodore Vail and the way he structured AT&T's "fundamental research" department to Vannevar Bush's non-military leadership for the Office for Scientific Research and Development for the military, Bahcall has come to some actionable conclusions. He believes that, in a business, you need to separate the creative-types in the innovation departments from what he called the "soldiers" or people who run the rest of the business. Both are absolutely imperative to the success of the business, but if the two are working too closely together, "loonshots" can be strangled in their infancy. The same risk of failure is faced by leaders who try to micromanage "loonshots". Trust your people to do what they do best, whether that's development or running the business, so that you don't drive a business into the ground because you're too attached to your own pet project. Bahcall reminds us that structure is important but culture is as well. He makes a biological comparison to drive the point home: "Both genes and lifestyle matter. And so with teams and groups: both structure and culture matter. The aim of this book is not to replace the idea that certain patterns of behavior are helpful (celebrating victories, for example) and others are less so (screaming), but to complement it." pg 227 I can't say I completely understand what a "phase transition" is but Bahcall's storytelling manner of imparting information is easy to understand. His writing is reminiscent, in some ways, of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable but with more emphasis on structure and culture instead of probability. Readers who enjoyed one book, may like the other. Recommended for readers seeking more information about how to help businesses succeed, innovate and thrive.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Scott Wozniak

    This is a book on the ideas that get dismissed, then turn out to have huge impact. He approaches this like a physicist (which is his background), ordering the environment and structure of the organization and not like a psychologist (which is the overwhelmingly popular approach for authors on organizations these days), trying to motivate the people with the right values and relationships. His first big idea is that we can imagine the organization like water: in one circumstance the water is flui This is a book on the ideas that get dismissed, then turn out to have huge impact. He approaches this like a physicist (which is his background), ordering the environment and structure of the organization and not like a psychologist (which is the overwhelmingly popular approach for authors on organizations these days), trying to motivate the people with the right values and relationships. His first big idea is that we can imagine the organization like water: in one circumstance the water is fluid and in another rigid--same molecule both times. The best part of the book was naming four forces that shape behavior around innovation: perks of promotion (how much you get if you get to the next level), stake in the project winning (how much you get if the idea succeeds), return on politics (whether decisions based more on opinion or independent criteria), and project to skill fit (how good you are at the work of the project). You can increase the strength of one (e.g. give profit share on the project) and see behavior change. No speeches required. I loved the scientific, strategic approach to organizational structure. The reason the book doesn't have five stars, though, is that the supporting stories from science and business are way, way too long. We get way too much detail, like in the story about the PanAm Airlines investment in bigger planes every year (the point of the story), we also discuss the engine specs, the special deals made with the US military to build new runways in the Pacific and even get a story about an international treaty they helped broker with Taiwan. But for the book's point, we only needed to know they keep pushing for bigger planes each year. Honestly, in terms of page count, this is actually a book on the history of science and some of its leading inventors, with some comments on the theories behind their choices. The teaching comments are wonderful, but they are overwhelmed at times with over-thorough accounts of what happened. So, if you like history of science--or are willing to wade through that for the teaching points--then I recommend this book to leaders of organizations.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Matt Cannon

    This is probably one of the best books I’ve read of 2019 so far. It was full of so much practical insight and lessons about life, business and relationships. He covered people like Steve Jobs, Edwin Land (founder of Polaroid) and many other people from history. He talked about phased transitions - using traffic as an example. Smooth flow of cars to a crowded highway full of traffic. One small tap grows exponentially until it becomes a traffic jam. Small disruptions grow suddenly. A smooth flow v This is probably one of the best books I’ve read of 2019 so far. It was full of so much practical insight and lessons about life, business and relationships. He covered people like Steve Jobs, Edwin Land (founder of Polaroid) and many other people from history. He talked about phased transitions - using traffic as an example. Smooth flow of cars to a crowded highway full of traffic. One small tap grows exponentially until it becomes a traffic jam. Small disruptions grow suddenly. A smooth flow verse a jammed flow. Phantom jams. When density of cars reached a critical threshold, the traffic slowed from a smooth flow to a jammed state. 1. At the heart of every phased transition is a tug of war between two competing forces. 2. Phased transitions are triggered when small shifts in system properties cause the balance in those system forces to change. They are a mathematical certainty. He talked about Jane Austen and what he called the 2 forces tug. He said as people are paving their path and deciding what to do they often have a competition between entropy and bonding energy. He described them as follows: Modest fortunes Fame and fortune - entropy Settle down, Family - bonding energy He used a really good analogy for this. He described a giant egg carton with 144 sections 12 x 12 and it has marbles instead of eggs. He explained it being English’s inside a plexiglass type of housing and as you move it the marbles get close to the edge of falling out of their compartment. The more vigorous the shaking the marbles eventually all fall out which is an example of entropy. This can be called temperature the hotter the temperature, the tug of war between entropy - heat and bonding energy - cold. He talked about curing cancer and so many other interesting subjects. He discussed system vs outcome decision making and how many of the best ideas appear to have bad outcomes prior to them being successful and how it’s important to focus on the cultivation of a good system vs getting deceived by the outcomes alone. This is an excellent book that I will continue to ponder and likely read again.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Why this book: I listened to Tim Ferriss's interview with Safi Bahcall and liked him and what he said - it was excellent. Also this book was a pick of The Next Big Idea Club, to which I belong. Summary in 3 Sentences: The thesis of this book is that our society only makes progress when it adopts new ideas, which are almost always resisted by those with a strong vested interest in the status quo. He provides us many fascinating and surprising historical examples to support his thesis that an organ Why this book: I listened to Tim Ferriss's interview with Safi Bahcall and liked him and what he said - it was excellent. Also this book was a pick of The Next Big Idea Club, to which I belong. Summary in 3 Sentences: The thesis of this book is that our society only makes progress when it adopts new ideas, which are almost always resisted by those with a strong vested interest in the status quo. He provides us many fascinating and surprising historical examples to support his thesis that an organization much be structured to separate those supporting the franchise from those developing creative new ideas.  He also provides other practical steps for how an organization can cultivate break-through ideas to succeed, and minefields that must be avoided - not only by organizations, but also by the creative individuals themselves. My Impressions:  Fun and fascinating read.  Bahcall was trained as a physicist who then went into business. Bahcall grabs our interest with stories about how products we now take for granted, which have changed the world we live in, were often strongly resisted by those who found them unnecessary, superfluous or bound to fail.  Such things as radar in the military, movie ideas such as the James Bond series or Star Wars series, commercial jet travel, medical innovations like statin drugs.  In each case the innovator persisted against the nay-sayers and the conventional mindset to eventually succeed in changing the world we live in. Trained as a physicist and a very astute learner, Bahcall transitioned into business and soon realized that while organizational culture is important to a business success, organizational structure probably is more important when it comes to being creative and innovative. Loonshots begins by showing how organizational structure can naturally impede creative ideas - what many regard as "loonshots" -  ground breaking ideas that can change the world. To read the rest of my review, go to: https://bobsbeenreading.wordpress.com...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Mikulsky

    Interesting overall but a bit long and slow at some parts. After re-reading my highlights, I enjoyed the book even more. I loved the stories and history on Hollywood, Steve Jobs, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Facebook, Walmart, IKEA, and Pan Am. Love your artists and soldiers equally, and create separate and unique environments for each to thrive. Focus on the mutual exchange of ideas and feedback, achieving equilibrium between the two groups. You need radical innovation plus the franchise phase of ope Interesting overall but a bit long and slow at some parts. After re-reading my highlights, I enjoyed the book even more. I loved the stories and history on Hollywood, Steve Jobs, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Facebook, Walmart, IKEA, and Pan Am. Love your artists and soldiers equally, and create separate and unique environments for each to thrive. Focus on the mutual exchange of ideas and feedback, achieving equilibrium between the two groups. You need radical innovation plus the franchise phase of operational excellence. You can be creative and get things done efficiently. Investigate failure and keep asking WHY - “listen to the Suck with Curiosity. ” Like world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, apply a System rather than an Outcome Mindset. Come back to your true purpose; purpose feeds the spirit, and spirit is the engine that keeps us going. Maintain strong, supportive relationships. Manage your energy (since you cannot manage time) - always be mindful of how you spend your time. Coors Brewing Company developed a cold-activated beer can (mountain logo changes from white to blue when the can reaches the ideal drinking temperature). The perfect beer temperature according to Coors is 43-50 degrees. The 1990 Broadway play called Six Degrees of Separation evolved into “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” - 1.9M actors are linked to Kevin Bacon by 3 degrees of less. Having the wrong incentives in place promotes the wrong behaviors. For example, After the first Dead Sea Scrolls (ancient Jewish religious texts) were found in a desert cave near Israel, the local Bedouin shepherds would rip any scrolls found into tiny scraps (and get paid for each) since archaeologists offered to pay them for each new scrap they found.

  28. 5 out of 5

    H

    Very interesting theories and examples. One big takeaway is that to be innovative and successful you need two teams - one to focus on what’s tried and true (soldiers) and one to focus on the unexplored possibilities (explorers, aka R&D)- AND THOSE TEAMS NEED TO HAVE EQUILIBRIUM AND CONSTANTLY TALK TO EACH OTHER. The author probably doesn’t realize this, but I think this theory explains really well (in part) why the United States has been so successful as a country. Jonathan Haidt explains in Very interesting theories and examples. One big takeaway is that to be innovative and successful you need two teams - one to focus on what’s tried and true (soldiers) and one to focus on the unexplored possibilities (explorers, aka R&D)- AND THOSE TEAMS NEED TO HAVE EQUILIBRIUM AND CONSTANTLY TALK TO EACH OTHER. The author probably doesn’t realize this, but I think this theory explains really well (in part) why the United States has been so successful as a country. Jonathan Haidt explains in The Righteous Mind that politics is about morality, and conservatives tend to focus on tradition and authority (soldiers) while liberals are all about exploring new vistas so long as there’s no proven harm (R&D). There’s social science research on personality profiles backing this up, as conservatives tend to score higher on conscientiousness while liberals score higher on openness. As Haidt explains, we need both for the country to continue to function. The reason this is important is that Loonshots shows how dangerous increasing partisanship and living in bubbles is- if the different teams don’t talk to each other, the institution dies. Bahcall shows this is true with companies, but there’s no reason his theory should not apply to societies/nations. I’m almost done with the book, and so far I haven’t seen the author address this angle, which I think is an oversight.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jose Miguel Porto

    It is a challenge for an organization to be good at franchises (operations) and at loonshots (innovation). If in water, loonshots require a liquid state where they can dream and have flexibility. Operations and franchises might need a more solid state to obtain operational excellence. The challenge is to be at 0 Celsius (dynamic equilibrium), the point where water can be liquid and solid. The same happens with innovation in organizations. The loonshots and dreamers need to be separate from the o It is a challenge for an organization to be good at franchises (operations) and at loonshots (innovation). If in water, loonshots require a liquid state where they can dream and have flexibility. Operations and franchises might need a more solid state to obtain operational excellence. The challenge is to be at 0 Celsius (dynamic equilibrium), the point where water can be liquid and solid. The same happens with innovation in organizations. The loonshots and dreamers need to be separate from the operations (phase separation) but need to have continued communication with the operations team (dynamic equilibrium). The dreamers will create new products but the operations team will have to take those dreams to the market and vice versa. This is a great book that takes us through the complexities of creating innovation within organizations. How to create incentives within organizations to foster innovation while not affecting operational excellence? How do we ensure that the operations team do not reject innovations, which are fragile in nature? Backed up by interesting historical information and cases, Bahcall develops a framework to foster innovation through "phase separation" and "dynamic equilibrium".

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    This book takes some core concepts of innovation management and maps them into the language of physics. I believe in the power of great metaphors as they can simplify some complex concepts and make them memorable and relatable. I think Safi stumbled on a diamond in a rough and was able to polish this and evolve into a great book. His core theme was masterfully embroidered with a carefully-curated list of stories that span industries (drug discovery, aerospace, photography, etc.), institutions (g This book takes some core concepts of innovation management and maps them into the language of physics. I believe in the power of great metaphors as they can simplify some complex concepts and make them memorable and relatable. I think Safi stumbled on a diamond in a rough and was able to polish this and evolve into a great book. His core theme was masterfully embroidered with a carefully-curated list of stories that span industries (drug discovery, aerospace, photography, etc.), institutions (government agencies, corporations, research labs) and geographies that illustrate and illuminate his metaphor. Two powerful takeaways that I have incorporate into my personal toolkit of mental models were: 1) Loonshot nursery framework 2) Formula that ties incentives and organization design Another gem I discovered was the "Science Endless Frontier" report by Vannevar Bush: https://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/nsf50/vbus... I highly recommend this book as it's scores high on both entertainment and utility.

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