He received his BA summa cum laude from Harvard and his PhD in physics from Stanford, where he worked with Lenny Susskind in particle physics (the science of the small) and the Nobel laureate Bob Laughlin in condensed matter physics (the science of the many). He was a Miller Fellow in physics at UC Berkeley (the school of the many). After working for three years as a consultant for McKinsey, Safi 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 President Obama’s council of science advisors (PCAST) on the future of national research. Loonshots, Safi’s first book, has been translated into 18 languages; recommended by Bill Gates, three Nobel laureates, Adam Grant, Malcolm Gladwell, and Tim Ferriss; and selected as a best business book of the year by Amazon, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Forbes, Inc., Newsweek, Strategy + Business, Tech Crunch, and the Washington Post. It was the #1 most recommended book of the year in Bloomberg’s annual survey of CEOs and entrepreneurs. Safi advises CEOs and leadership teams on strategy and innovation, and has delivered keynote presentations at industry conferences, investor events, leadership retreats, medical meetings, and leading academic institutions around the world (more here). He lives with his wife, two children, and roughly 37 Gerald + Piggie books in Cambridge, MA.
* Instant Wall Street Journal bestseller * Translated into 18 languages * #1 Most Recommended Book of the year (Bloomberg annual survey of CEOs and entrepreneurs) * An 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. Safi 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 The Imitation Game got wrong about World War II, 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
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