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Book Review: "Loonshots" by Safi Bahcall

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In “Loonshots,” Safi Bahcall aims to “show you how the science of phase transitions suggests a surprising new way of thinking about the world around us – about the mysteries of group behavior.”  Bahcall combines psychology, history, human behavior, and, surprisingly, physics, to explain “why good teams will kill great ideas, why the wisdom of crowds becomes the tyranny of crowds when the stakes are high, and why the answers to these questions can be found in a glass of water.” While the author achieves the stated purpose, I think the detailed histories weren’t entirely necessary to get his point across. The arguments of “Loonshots” are presented concisely in the prologue. The book continues in three distinct parts: Engineers of Serendipity, The Science of Sudden Change, and The Mother of All Loonshots. If you appreciate understanding the motivations behind decisions, “Loonshots” will be difficult to put down. The book is an easy read for non-scientists with funny subtext, illustrations