Safi writes about: Business, Science

Safi Bahcall is a second-generation physicist and the founder of Synta Pharmaceuticals (now Madrigal Pharmaceuticals), a biotechnology company that develops new drugs for cancer. He was CEO for 13 years and led its IPO.

His first book, Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries, is a new way of thinking about group behavior that challenges our assumptions about how to nurture radical breakthroughs. Drawing on the science of phase transitions, Loonshots shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them and identifies the small shifts in structure that control this transition.

Bahcall now regularly speaks with senior leadership teams in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors about implementing the ideas in Loonshots and has presented at industry conferences, investor events, medical meetings, and leading academic institutions around the world.

The big ideas, the ones that change the course of science or business or history . . . are usually dismissed for years or decades, their champions written off as crazy.


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