ideas

Safi Bahcall received his BA summa cum laude in physics from Harvard and his PhD from Stanford. After working for three years as a consultant for McKinsey, he co-founded a biotechnology company developing new drugs for cancer. He led its IPO and served as its CEO for 13 years. 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 (PCAST) on the future of national research.

In "Loonshots," Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behavior that challenges everything we thought we knew about nurturing radical breakthroughs.

Haystack Book Talks brings writers into conversation on a wide range of topics to celebrate ideas and discourse. Tucked away in the beautiful wooded hills of Northwestern Connecticut, Norfolk provides an intimate setting for the festival. Literary conversations are scheduled for October 13 and 14 in downtown Norfolk, CT.

We are joined by Haystack Book Talks founder Stephen Melville; Eliza Little, a member of the Haystack Book Talks executive committee and a post doctoral fellow at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station; and Dawn Whalen, executive director of The Norfolk Foundation.

Niall Ferguson is one of the world's most renowned historians. He is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. His many awards include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010), the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012) and the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism (2013).

In his new book, "The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook," Ferguson points out that though the 21st century has been hailed as the Age of Networks, networks have always been with us.

Throughout history, hierarchies housed in high towers have claimed to rule, but often real power has resided in the networks in the town square below. For it is networks that tend to innovate. And it is through networks that revolutionary ideas can contagiously spread. 

  In The Geography of Genius, acclaimed travel writer Eric Weiner sets out to examine the connection between our surroundings and our most innovative ideas. He explores the history of places, like Vienna of 1900, Renaissance Florence, ancient Athens, Song Dynasty Hangzhou, and Silicon Valley, to show how certain urban settings are conducive to ingenuity. 

Eric Weiner is a former NPR correspondent and the author of the New York Times bestseller The Geography of Bliss and the critically acclaimed Man Seeks God.