My guest on the podcast today is Safi Bahcall – physicist, biotech CEO, entrepreneur, tennis aficionado, and author of the outstanding book, Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries.

Safi’s love of learning came early – both parents were scientists, and he quickly realized that he loved pushing himself to learn new things. The discomfort of leaping to a new learning curve.

“But the theme or the strand that ran through everything was just a love of, of learning and kind of challenging myself and kind of joy of being uncomfortable, a joy of not knowing and then having the feeling that you’re about to embark on a rapid learning.”

After several sharp right turns in his career, Safi was appointed to President Obama’s Council of Science Advisors – tasked with the rest of the committee on figuring out what the next 50 years of national research should look like to make sure important new technologies that advance national interests in the United States are on the radar of scientists doing research.

As he went back through history, he quickly saw that the big ideas that really changed the course of science, business or history rarely dazzled everybody with their brilliance. They were usually dismissed or written off as crazy but went on to change the world. And as he kept digging, he found the structure and patterns in those ideas and started finding those patterns in story after story.

Join us as we discuss Safi’s journey and extremely interesting book. You can listen to the episode in the player above, or download and enjoy it on iTunes. If you’re so inclined, please leave us a review!

Takeaways from this episode:

  • There are always competing forces in our lives – Learning to lead with the head and with the heart. Reaching the mastery at the top of a learning curve, and instead of feeling the triumph of reaching the top, feeling the pull of that competing force – how can I jump to the bottom of a new curve and learn something new?
  • In a very complex system, like our work environment, if we will change by even one degree (like shifting incentives) what seemed like loonshots, will have a real shot.

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