This is a summary review of Loonshots containing key details about the book.
What is Loonshots About?
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. Mountains of print have been written about culture. This book identifies the small shifts in structure that control this transition, the same way that temperature controls the change from water to ice.
Who is the author of Loonshots?
Safi R. Bahcall is an American physicist, technologist, business executive, and author. His published work focused on superconductivity, random matrix theory, the quantum hall effect, and particle astrophysics.
What are good quotes from Loonshots?
“The key is to take a larger project or goal and break it down into smaller problems to be solved, constraining the scope of work to solving a key problem, and then another key problem. This strategy, of breaking a project down into discrete, relatively small problems to be resolved, is what Bing Gordon, a cofounder and the former chief creative officer of the video game company Electronic Arts, calls smallifying. Now a partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, Gordon has deep experience leading and working with software development teams. He’s also currently on the board of directors of Amazon and Zynga. At Electronic Arts, Gordon found that when software teams worked on longer-term projects, they were inefficient and took unnecessary paths. However, when job tasks were broken down into particular problems to be solved, which were manageable and could be tackled within one or two weeks, developers were more creative and effective.”
“What is the purpose of education? Is it to impart knowledge and facts or is it to nurture curiosity, effortful problem solving, and the capacity for lifelong learning? Educational historians have repeatedly shown that today’s schools were designed during the first half of the twentieth century to meet the demands of the industrial era, not an innovative knowledge economy. “Very few schools teach students how to create knowledge,” says Professor Keith Sawyer of Washington University, a leading education and innovation researcher. “Instead, students are taught that knowledge is static and complete, and they become experts at consuming knowledge rather than producing knowledge.” This is unacceptable. Change”
“the emphasis on linear systems, top-down control, relentless efficiency and eradicating failure left little room for creative discovery and trial and error.”
“You have to catch people making mistakes and make it so that it’s cool. You have to make it undesirable to play it safe.”
“Design is a methodology for applying critical and creative thinking to understand, visualize, and describe complex, ill-structured problems and develop approaches to solve them.”
“Two fundamental advantages of the little bets approach are highlighted in the research of Professor Saras Sarasvathy: that it enables us to focus on what we can afford to lose rather than make assumptions about how much we can expect to gain, and that it facilitates the development of means as we progress with an idea. Sarasvathy points to the value of what she calls the affordable loss principle. Seasoned entrepreneurs, she emphasizes, will tend to determine in advance what they are willing to lose, rather than calculating expected gains.”
“As education and creativity researcher and author Sir Ken Robinson puts it, “We are educating people out of their creativity.” Another major factor is that, for years, organizational management has been developing methods for increasing productivity and minimizing risk and errors that tend to stifle creative experimentation.”
“You can sit down and spend hours crafting some joke that you think is perfect, but a lot of the time, that’s just a waste of time,” Ruby explains.”
“Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin didn’t set out to create one of the fastest-growing startup companies in history; they didn’t even start out seeking to revolutionize the way we search for information on the web. Their first goal, as collaborators on the Stanford Digital Library Project, was to solve a much smaller problem: how to prioritize library searches online.”
“Unlike most CEOs, when trying something new, Jeff Bezos and his senior team (known as the S Team) don’t try to develop elaborate financial projections or return on investment calculations. “You can’t put into a spreadsheet how people are going to behave around a new product,” Bezos will say.”
“All I really wanted to do was solve an immediate problem,”
“Chris Rock, the Google founders, and Jeff Bezos and his team are examples of people who approach problems in a nonlinear manner using little bets, what University of Chicago economist David Galenson has dubbed “experimental innovators.”
- Print length: 368 Pages
- Genre: Business, Nonfiction, Leadership
What are the chapters in Loonshots?
Chapter 1: How Loonshots Won a War
Chapter 2: The Surpirisng Fragility of the Loonshot
Chapter 3: The Two Types of Loonshots: Trippe vs. Crandall
Chapter 4: Edwin Land and the Moses Trap
Chapter 5: Escaping the Moses Trap
Chapter 6: Phase Transition, I: Marriage, Forest Fires and Terrorists
Chapter 7: Phase Transitions, II: The Magic Number
Chapter 8: The Fourth Rule
Chapter 9: Why the World Speaks English
What do critics say?
Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: "Loonshots crystallizes crucial lessons about innovation and collaboration more exquisitely than any book I've read. Beyond that, it's an absolute page-turner, packed with scintillating stories of world-changing ideas." — David Epstein, #1 NYT bestselling author of Range and The Sports Gene
* The summary points above have been concluded from the book and other public sources. The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways
Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.