Get a free audiobook

Loonshots

How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries
Written by: Safi Bahcall
Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

This program includes a prologue and introduction read by the author.

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 reveals 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 reveals 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 20th-century science was shaped by the search for fundamental laws, like quantum mechanics and gravity, the 21st 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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Safi Bahcall (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    27
  • 4 Stars
    14
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    28
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Physics as a substitute for a change management model

The case studies are excellent. Although some have been used in other business books.

The phase transitions and physics jargon is really just an analogy for a change management model. It actually doesn’t provide much insight into the issue or as much as using a sociological/psychological approach. For the most part phase transitions is really discussing resisters to change. Using an ice cube analogy at your next board meeting might fall flat, but it is fun to think about.

Looking at organization structure is interesting but how it intersects with culture would probably do more to explain loon shoots.

Read Culture Code instead.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Grounded Take On Dreaming Big

Fantastic overview of keeping innovation going by separating the two phases: loonshots and franchises, the artists and the soldiers, the creatives and the scales.

Worth listening to for anyone starting, growing or reviving an organization.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

the detail and thought process is excelllent

loved the learning the long true history of so called famous developers and how great success actually happened

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mimi Stahlberg
  • 2019-03-28

Inspiring storytelling for wide audiences

Captivating, rich story-telling with practical takeaways in essentially every paragraph. Whether you’re an innovator, businessman, scientist, thinker or simply just someone who enjoys inspiring stories with twists and underdogs hitting it out of the ballpark, this book is for you. The audiobook is easy to listen to - good selection of a voice actor for those of you that are picky about that.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • pd park
  • 2019-04-25

Not a fan of the narration style

The narrator’s voice keeps dropping at the end of every sentence to almost a whisper. Turning the volume up makes the louder part of every sentence too loud. I’ve listened to many audio books and never had this problem before.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew C
  • 2019-04-18

The first practical innovation book

The book that moved the academic innovation conversation from theory to practice. I admit I loved Clay Christensen's work on "disruptive innovation" as it was the best that was out there before, but this book absolutely crushes previous analysis of innovation.

I love the understanding of problems across domains, particularly phase transitions - water shifts from ice to liquid at a threshold of 0 degrees, similarly companies shift from fostering loonshots to politicking at an organizational size of roughly 150. However, there are levers or "control parameters" that can be used to change when phases transition, similarly to how we put salt on ice which reduces the temperature required for it to melt. Safi proposes a beautiful and actionable formula that captures these control parameters for organizations.

I love the definition of management which is so true: management is about facilitating the harmony between the creatives (one's involved in loonshots) and the soldiers (one's involved in franchise projects) which he calls being a gardener, versus being the individual that chooses which loonshots should be pursued or not (he identifies as the Moses trap). Safi also proposes a useful dichotomy of innovations, p-type which are technologically related, and s-type which are strategy and business model related. While both should be garnered, companies can develop a tendancy to only focus on p-types which have resulted in their demise. Finally, there are fantastic cases to explain all this including Pan Am airways, Bell labs, world war 2, steve jobs and Pixar, and many more.

Don't miss out on this one and refer it to a friend.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chad B Wickland
  • 2019-04-08

Excellent and brilliant

Gain the tools to bring great ideas to their full fruition by listening to this incredible book!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Salil Jha, Writer & Speaker
  • 2019-07-19

an average book

I bought it because of this book was mentioned on some of the top podcasts and Safi's background story sounded cool. The book is unnecessarily long and overall average storytelling. Unless you are from biotech background, you might even feel bored by too many lenghty biotech domain stories. For me personally, in the ocean of amazing books out there, I left it midway. Hence 3 stars.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Charles Cumiskey
  • 2019-04-12

A must read for leaders

This book has so many insights on why leaders and organizations fail or are successful. Understand why innovation dies in organizations and much more....

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tim
  • 2019-09-23

This book ought to change the world...

Bahcall beautifully synthesizes his perspective on innovation with richly described, often poignant stories of innovators. This approach never feels excessively historical, and provides a more memorable texture to the pragmatic lessons and principles he explores.

Moreover, as a researcher deeply rooted in the dynamical systems perspective that shapes much of Bahcall's view of innovation, the science in and behind the book is treated with the care and rigor needed to ensure this isn't just another successful entrepreneur repackaging their lucky break as a set of life lessons. Bahcall helps us to see how the objective principles of complex adaptive systems apply to innovation in social groups, but never makes overextended claims about what businesses must do in order to succeed.

I cannot recommend this book enough.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • joe
  • 2019-05-19

fun read, not for real life

while the ideas expressed in this book are fascinating and entertaining to say the least, they are not relevant to almost anyone reading this book and are really just a way for most people to think that if they would have ran 'x' company they would have been smarter about it.
there is no real practical application of this book to 99.9% of people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 21stCenturyCOL
  • 2019-04-28

Safi Bahcall nails it!

Safi (an academic turned biotech maverick) artfully tells how to find, nurture and even build teams to set conditions for Loonshots. He also show why some paddle too early for the right wave and others not hard enough to catch it. The science behind it is his best piece closely seconded by an insightful conclusion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • MD
  • 2019-03-31

A different perspective

I'm giving this book 5 starts because of the different perspectives the stories bring. However, some of the duties after too long and could have been shortened especially in the earlier parts of the book.

Over, it's a good read I'd say.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elimaes12
  • 2019-10-07

Loved it

Suberb mix between historical evidence and subsequent advice. Numerous examples of why loonshot nurturing is crucial.