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Think Like a Freak
by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner


The two authors of Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics return for a third book, this time offering to help readers retrain their brain to “think like a Freak” - in other words, to apply critical thinking to every day life. Whether you need to fix a small problem in your day-to-day routine or initiate a global revolution, Levitt and Dubner have created a short list of steps to thinking like a Freak. Each step is accompanied by a story or two illustrating the point, introducing readers to a Japanese eating contest champion, a doctor who willingly drank a concoction laced with bacteria in order to give himself ulcers, paving the way to finding a cure, and how obviously fake scams like Nigerian e-mail campaigns make money for the scammers.

Some of the rules for Thinking Like a Freak include:

  • Put away your moral compass (so you can see the problem clearly)

  • Learn to say “I don't know”

  • Think like a child

  • Take a master class in incentives

  • Learn to persuade people who don't want to be persuaded

  • Learn to appreciate the upside of quitting

Some of these rules seem pretty obvious: if you never say 'I don't know', for example, and just pretend to know all the answers, you'll never learn and you'll miss important information. Other rules fly in the face of business culture: feeling free to quit flies in the face of American “stick it out” attitude. Some rules come with a caveat or two. 'Think like a child' does not mean 'act like a child'. But in each chapter, as each one of these rules is explored in detail, a new way of thinking and tackling problems emerges in such a way that anyone can apply it to their lives.

I'm not an economics person. I took both a macro and a micro class in college and barely made it through. The Freakonomics aren't at all like those economics textbooks, though; they are incredibly entertaining and interesting because the focus is not on number-crunching but on the stories behind the numbers. Reading about how Kobayashi figured out how to eat hot dogs more efficiently so that he could smash the world record for the most hot dogs eaten is fascinating, while learning about how the charity Smile Trains was able to smash through their fundraising goals through a campaign that promised to stop future mailings really changes how I would approach fundraising in the future.

This was the first Freakonomics book I read, and I enjoyed it so much that I immediately went out and got the two previous volumes, and I've been listening to the podcast every week. It's definitely worth checking out, whether you're new to Levitt & Dubner or a long time fan.


5 out of 5 stars


To read more about Think Like a Freak, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.





Peeking into the archives...today in:
2013: The Rathbones by Janice Clark
2012: Random Rant: E-Readers (Keep Them Away From Me!)
2011: The Borden Tragedy by Rick Geary
2010: Strange Maine by Michelle Souliere
2009: Totally Off-Topic: Steepster.com
2008: Bread & Chocolate by Philippa Gregory

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