"Loonshots:" Author of the #1 Book of the Year on 'The Invisible Axe'--Safi Bahcall


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My guest today is Safi Bahcall who is the author of Loonshots, The most recommended book of the year. It came out in 2019 and has already been translated into 18 languages. It's recommended by Bill Gates, Daniel Kahneman, Daniel Pink, Malcolm Gladwell, and Tim Ferriss and was selected as the best business book of the year by Amazon, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Financial Times, Forbes, Inc., Medium, and the Washington Post.

Safi is a physicist, a biotech entrepreneur, and a former public-company CEO. 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 on the future of national research.

Safi regularly speaks with leadership teams about applying the ideas in Loonshots and has presented at leading institutions around the world.

In our conversation we talk about his thoughts on the coronavirus, separating artists from soldiers in organizations, the role of incentives, and then at the end, he interviews me for a few minutes. I highly recommend his book Loonshots--The subchapter "The Invisible Axe" has, in my opinion, the single greatest page and a half of non-fiction writing, where he talks about the incentive structure of middle managers and why they are predisposed to reject innovative ideas.
Topics we talk about:

  • Corona Virus--optimism
  • Why he got into physics
  • Artists and soldiers--love both
  • Balancing risk and opportunity
  • Loonshot tactics for small groups
  • Stake vs. status
  • Think through incentives
  • Loonshots--the book

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LinkedIn-- Justin Hasard Lee
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This episode was edited by Trevor Cabler
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