Think like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to

Think like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain ❴Reading❵ ➷ Think like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain Author Steven D. Levitt – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk The New York Times bestselling Freakonomics changed the way we see the world, exposing the hidden side of just about everything Then came SuperFreakonomics, a documentary film, an award winning podcas The New York Times bestselling a Freak: Epub Ú Freakonomics changed the way we see the world, exposing the hidden side of just about everything Then came SuperFreakonomics, a documentary film, an award winning podcast, andNow, with Think Like a Freak, Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner have written their most revolutionary book yet With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they Think like PDF/EPUB ² take us inside their thought process and teach us all to think a bit productively, creatively, rationally to think, that is, like a FreakLevitt and Dubner offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems, whether your interest lies in minor lifehacks or major global reforms As always, no topic is off limits They range from business to philanthropy to sports like a Freak: ePUB ↠ to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain Along the way, you ll learn the secrets of a Japanese hot dog eating champion, the reason an Australian doctor swallowed a batch of dangerous bacteria, and why Nigerian e mail scammers make a point of saying they re from NigeriaSome of the steps toward thinking like a Freak First, put away your moral compass because it s hard to see a problem clearly if you ve already decided what to do about itLearn to say I don t know for until you can admit what you don t yet know, it s virtually impossible to learn what you need toThink like a child because you ll come up with better ideas and ask better questionsTake a master class in incentives because for better or worse, incentives rule our worldLearn to persuade people who don t want to be persuaded because being right is rarely enough to carry the dayLearn to appreciate the upside of quitting because you can t solve tomorrow s problem if you aren t willing to abandon today s dudLevitt and Dubner plainly see the world like no one else Now you can too Never before have such iconoclastic thinkers been so revealing and so much fun to read.


10 thoughts on “Think like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain

  1. Maria Maria says:

    Pretty great for non podcast listeners, but as someone who loves the Freakonomics podcast, most of this material has already been featured on there, and some of it in greater detail.


  2. Riku Sayuj Riku Sayuj says:

    Not Very FreakyA very ordinary effort Levitt Dubner tells us the recipe to Think Like a Freak Most of the ingredients are quite ordinary and almost all are trodden territory A wholly unnecessary book.1 That all the Big Problems of the world are too tough to solve for ordinary people like us and that we should nibble at the edges A bit about game theory and about how most problems arise due to private vs public conflicts and how we need learn to realign incentives to solve small proble Not Very FreakyA very ordinary effort Levitt Dubner tells us the recipe to Think Like a Freak Most of the ingredients are quite ordinary and almost all are trodden territory A wholly unnecessary book.1 That all the Big Problems of the world are too tough to solve for ordinary people like us and that we should nibble at the edges A bit about game theory and about how most problems arise due to private vs public conflicts and how we need learn to realign incentives to solve small problems Keep nudging the incentives and solving small incentive problems The very soul of Freakonomics.2 That we should learn to say I don t knowoften, especially the experts A few stories thrown in about how stupid people who try to predict the future are Also, don t bring your moral compass into your predictions decisions And always look for feedback if you want to keep improving.3 That we have to learn to ask the Right Question Reframe the question to get ahead Endlessly experiment to get the right feedback on the reframed problem The abortion crime story is repeated AGAIN 4 That we should Think like a Child Have fun Don t ignore the obvious Think small 5 That we should obsess over Incentives, Again Understand contexts Reframe contexts Use appropriate incentives NEVER mix your incentives 6 That we can win arguments How to win an Argument Don t pretend your argument is perfect Acknowledge their viewpoint and meh.7 That we might want to think of When to Quit Avoid the sunk cost fallacy BTW, this chapter is for us too We Levitt Dubner just might quit writing this stuff In short, nothing really exciting, nothing novel Nothing that fires the imagination I am not at all freaked out by the ideas stories presented here They can still spin a good yarn, but that gets old fast without the essential ingredient radical ideas.If indeed the freakish duo decides to call it quits, it would be a pity that this was added to their otherwise magnificent legacy


  3. ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣ ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣ says:

    Q Incentives are the cornerstone of modern life And understanding them or, often, deciphering them is the key to understanding a problem, and how it might be solved Knowing what to measure, and how to measure it, can make a complicated world less so There is nothing like the sheer power of numbers to scrub away layers of confusion and contradiction, especially with emotional, hot button topics The conventional wisdom is often wrong And a blithe acceptance of it can lead to sloppy, wastef Q Incentives are the cornerstone of modern life And understanding them or, often, deciphering them is the key to understanding a problem, and how it might be solved Knowing what to measure, and how to measure it, can make a complicated world less so There is nothing like the sheer power of numbers to scrub away layers of confusion and contradiction, especially with emotional, hot button topics The conventional wisdom is often wrong And a blithe acceptance of it can lead to sloppy, wasteful, or even dangerous outcomes Correlation does not equal causality When two things travel together, it is tempting to assume that one causes the other Married people, for instance, are demonstrably happier than single people does this mean that marriage causes happiness Not necessarily The data suggest that happy people arelikely to get married in the first place As one researcher memorably put it, If you re grumpy, who the hell wants to marry you c Q this isn t a self help book in the traditional sense We are probably not the kind of people you d typically want to ask for help and some of our advice tends to get people into trouble rather than out of it c Q Our thinking is inspired by what is known as the economic approach That doesn t mean focusing on the economy far from it The economic approach is both broader and simpler than that It relies on data, rather than hunch or ideology, to understand how the world works, to learn how incentives succeed or fail , how resources get allocated, and what sort of obstacles prevent people from getting those resources, whether they are concrete like food and transportation oraspirational like education and love There is nothing magical about this way of thinking It usually traffics in the obvious and places a huge premium on common sense So here s the bad news if you come to this book hoping for the equivalent of a magician spilling his secrets, you may be disappointed But there s good news too thinking like a Freak is simple enough that anyone can do it What s perplexing is that so few people do Why is that One reason is that it s easy to let your biases political, intellectual, or otherwise color your view of the world A growing body of research suggests that even the smartest people tend to seek out evidence that confirms what they already think, rather than new information that would give them arobust view of reality It s also tempting to run with a herd Another barrier to thinking like a Freak is that most people are too busy to rethink the way they think or to even spend much time thinking at all When was the last time you sat for an hour of pure, unadulterated thinking The absurdly talented George Bernard Shaw a world class writer and a founder of the London School of Economics noted this thought deficit many years ago Few people thinkthan two or three times a year, Shaw reportedly said I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week We too try to think once or twice a week though surely not as cleverly as Shaw and encourage you to do the same c Q This is not to say you should necessarily want to think like a Freak It presents some potential downsides You may find yourself way, way out of step with the prevailing winds You might occasionally say things that make other people squirmYou ll have to grow accustomed to people calling you a crank, or sputtering with indignation, or perhaps even getting up and walking out of the room We have some firsthand experience with this c Q The next time you run into a question that you can only pretend to answer, go ahead and say I don t know and then follow up, certainly, with but maybe I can find out And work as hard as you can to do that You may be surprised by how receptive people are to your confession, especially when you come through with the real answer a day or a week later But even if this goes poorly if your boss sneers at your ignorance or you can t figure out the answer no matter how hard you try there is another,strategic benefit to occasionally saying I don t know Let s say you ve already done that on a few occasions The next time you re in a real jam, facing an important question that you just can t answer, go ahead and make up something and everyone will believe you, because you re the guy who all those other times was crazy enough to admit you didn t know the answer After all, just because you re at the office is no reason to stop thinking c Q From what we ve seen personally, the best predictor of success among young economists and journalists is whether they absolutely love what they do If they approach their job like well, a job they aren t likely to thrive But if they ve somehow convinced themselves that running regressions or interviewing strangers is the funnest thing in the world, you know they have a shot c Q Show us a perfect solution and we ll show you our pet unicorn c


  4. Always Pouting Always Pouting says:

    I feel that a lot of self help or businesses type books now all follow the same formula and in the end talk about the same few ideas again and again Like there really isn t a need for a whole book on some of these ideas like thinking outside the box or being comfortable making mistakes I really only get something out of reading them if I m feeling lost unsure about what I m doing because they kind of help me ground myself or become motivated again Otherwise though it feels like a waste of tim I feel that a lot of self help or businesses type books now all follow the same formula and in the end talk about the same few ideas again and again Like there really isn t a need for a whole book on some of these ideas like thinking outside the box or being comfortable making mistakes I really only get something out of reading them if I m feeling lost unsure about what I m doing because they kind of help me ground myself or become motivated again Otherwise though it feels like a waste of time like how many anecdotes do I need to read about creative thinking honestly


  5. Jill Jill says:

    Levitt and Dubner s earlier two books, Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics were smashing successes because they came up with innovative insights to make sense of phenomena that were rather mysterious, such as an explanation for the drop in the crime rate over the last decade Hoping to find similar out of the box proposals, I was eager to try their third book, Think Like A Freak This book contains a few surprises, but overall it seems like a slap dash production intended to cash in on the succe Levitt and Dubner s earlier two books, Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics were smashing successes because they came up with innovative insights to make sense of phenomena that were rather mysterious, such as an explanation for the drop in the crime rate over the last decade Hoping to find similar out of the box proposals, I was eager to try their third book, Think Like A Freak This book contains a few surprises, but overall it seems like a slap dash production intended to cash in on the success of their previous enterprises As such, it is somewhat duller reading There are a few interesting analyses, like about the rationale for the popular email extortion scam based in Nigeria, or how a love of fun might be harnessed to encourage people to savemoney For the most part, however, the chapters read like filler material They include platitudinous management suggestions that make common sense but not compelling reading, such as in the chapter on How to Persuade People Who Don t Want to Be Persuaded, and revelations about phenomena ranging from the etiology of ulcers to the causes of obesity that made the rounds of popular magazines years ago Using the examples of King Solomon and rock singer David Lee Roth to provide examples of game theory may have been cute, but it felt like the authors were reaching for the lowest common denominator In fact, it seemedlike a chapter on the meta subject of How to Expand Your Potential Reading Audience.The last chapter of the book discusses when it is advisable to quit whatever is it you have been doing for too long Maybe the authors should take their own advice and call it a day Evaluation This book is mildly entertaining, but not up the standards set in the first two Gone are the economics of the earlier bookschallenging content has been replaced with bromidic bullet points and stories I read a long time ago in doctor s waiting room periodicals Rating 2.5 5


  6. Sam Quixote Sam Quixote says:

    If I changed the title to Think Outside the Box you d probably have a good idea of what to expect from this book and you d be right Granted I ve not read Stephen J Dubner and Steven D Levitt s other Freak books, Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, but I suspect they re justof what s contained in Think Like a Freak Hey, if it ain t broke, right Think Like a Freak essentially has one very broad thesis to approach any difficult situation problem from an unexpected angle to solve i If I changed the title to Think Outside the Box you d probably have a good idea of what to expect from this book and you d be right Granted I ve not read Stephen J Dubner and Steven D Levitt s other Freak books, Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, but I suspect they re justof what s contained in Think Like a Freak Hey, if it ain t broke, right Think Like a Freak essentially has one very broad thesis to approach any difficult situation problem from an unexpected angle to solve it excel at it It s not a new idea The writers relate stories to illustrate this, which I m surethan a few people have already heard How David Lee Roth, the lead singer of Van Halen, ensured the venues they played at adhered to their lengthy stage setup by putting a clause in their rider for no brown MM s if there were none when they got there it meant the promoter had read everything carefully if there were it meant the crew needed to do a thorough check of the equipment to make sure nobody would be hurt at the show Or the little Japanese fella who became a Coney Island hot dog eating champion by taking apart the hot dog separating the bun, dunking it in a glass of water, breaking up the hot dog, and eating everything this way Before that everyone used to eat them whole, limiting the amount they could competitively eat now everyone does it the new way It goes on like this with case after case being brought up of old thinking being usurped by those who came to a situation differently and changed everything Not that I m against this attitude in any way but it means Think Like a Freak is quite a shallow read It has one unremarkable mantra repetitively underlined throughout Trotting out case studies to prove the benefits of thinking like a freak or outside the box, or whatever, doesn t make this anyvalid or compelling Sure, there are nuances throughout They encourage people to think like a child, think about smaller portions of a problem rather than the problem as a whole in order to progress to a solution, saying I don t know is oftenuseful an answer than saying either yes or no, know when to quit, humans enjoy stories and use them to understand problems so do that whenever trying to explain things which they apply in this book But it feels so unsubstantial and obvious really nothing here stands out as unique or brilliant to recommend readers to pick it up Maybe Dubner Levitt were trying to parlay their Freakonomics brand into a kind of self help methodology but it doesn t work Think Like a Freak has a few interesting stories but it s all in service to a completely uninspired and smug thesis that felt like a lazy product than a book they cared about writing


  7. Jen Lawrence Jen Lawrence says:

    I loved this book No, scratch that I LOVED this book Authors Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner explore how the iconoclastic approach to data revealed in Freakonomics can improve the way we think As they write, This book steps out of the shadows and tries to offer some advice that may occasionally be useful, whether you are interested in minor lifehacks or major global reforms I have to admit that I became biased in favour of this book when I saw the early reference to Philip Tetlock, I loved this book No, scratch that I LOVED this book Authors Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner explore how the iconoclastic approach to data revealed in Freakonomics can improve the way we think As they write, This book steps out of the shadows and tries to offer some advice that may occasionally be useful, whether you are interested in minor lifehacks or major global reforms I have to admit that I became biased in favour of this book when I saw the early reference to Philip Tetlock, who I have loved ever since his piece, Why Foxes Are Better Forecasters Than Hedgehogs with apologies to the Publisher of this fine newspaper, of course But I will try to write an open minded review.Before researching this book, the authors naturally saw the world through the rational lenses of economics and statistics and were curious to find out why so many decisions seem illogical The books starts by reviewing the thinking process of a soccer player who is about to make a critical penalty kick in the championship game of the World Cup The authors turn to the data about penalty kicks to see where the player should direct the ball to maximize his chance of success They then look at where he is most likely to aim the ball While a penalty kick aimed at the centre of the goal is significantlylikely to succeed, only 17% of kicks are aimed there Why so few The authors realize that the decision cannot be made based on statistics alone as the rational side of the brain is forced to contend with the emotional side This is not, of course, new information Back in about 370 BC, Plato was writing about the tug between the intellect and the heart More recently, Jonathan Haidt wrote about the struggle between the rider the rational brain and the elephant the emotional brain in The Happiness Hypothesis What makes Think Like a Freak so good is that the authors breathe life into this oft explored slice of neuroscience through the art of storytelling, like the example about the soccer game True, kicking a ball dead centre towards the goalie is statisticallylikely to result in a goal But if the goalie does manage to stop the ball kicked right to him, the kicker looks like a bit of an idiot Why d you kick it righ to im the hooligans in the stands will shout As the authors write, Aiming towards the centre has a better chance of success, but aiming towards the corner is less risky to his own reputation And, as they go on to describe, humans and, in our experience, animals are ratherinterested in protecting our own reputation rather than promoting the collective good in spite of claiming otherwise Therefore, most goalies take the riskier corner kick that is less likely to be successful but has the tried my very best optics for the crowd.In order to think like a Freak, the authors say that we need to be aware of, and overcome, some of the general biases that mess with our ability to think well None of these ideas are original I discuss a number of these issues in my soon to be released book, Engage the Fox but the authors gift resides in their ability to tell a memorable story Instead of boring the reader silly with talk of confirmation biases and herd mentality and the gap between revealed and declared preferences, they walk us through memorable examples such as how the Smile Train charity raises funds by not asking for money, why Zappos offers new employees 2000 to quit, and why rocker David Lee Roth insists on a candy bowl containing no brown MMs.This book will appeal to the business reader our favourite line is just because you are at the office is no reason to stop thinking and any reader interested in improving the way they think Levitt and Dubner are not afraid to make bold suggestions such as why one should regularly say I don t know and the benefits of being a quitter They describe why it s good to act like a kid as there is no correlation between appearing to be serious and actually being good at what you do In fact, an argument can be made that the opposite is true Phew That observation alone is worth the price of the book The authors find wisdom in the most interesting places, such as studying why kids are better at seeing through magic tricks than adults by seeing things from a literally new angle, you can sometimes gain an edge in solving a problem One of the most powerful sections in the book covers the art of persuading someone to change his or her mind The authors are not optimistic As hard as it is to think creatively about problems and come up with solutions it is even harder to persuade people who do not wish to be persuaded They dissect a 1 billion anti drug campaign that not only did not turn people off drugs, but possibly made drug use appearappealing They then outline the most useful strategies for getting others to change their opinions hint don t start campaigning with the so called smartest guys in the room, but not for the reason you think In keeping with their Freak perspective, they show how pointing out the flaws in your own arguments is one of the most effective ways to convince people you are right.Not surprisingly, the authors find that the most effective way to change someone s mind is to tell them a compelling story And this is, of course, the heart of the book s success All three of the books in the Freakonomics series sing because memorable stories illustrate potent theories At the end of this book, the authors, firmly embracing the idea that it s OK to quit, threaten that this is their last book in this series I hope that this is not, in fact, the case The authors succeed in bringing thinking to life which, as a fox like thinker, is something I take quite seriously Hopefully the early success of this book will convince the authors to dowork in the field


  8. Montzalee Wittmann Montzalee Wittmann says:

    Think Like a Freak by Steven D Levitt, Stephen J Dubner is a book I wish had been around or I had thought like a freak thirty years ago We used to call it thinking outside the box but I like their phrase much better Excellent book to try to retrain my brain, not that it is trained now I think everyone should read this, especially young people.


  9. Brian Clegg Brian Clegg says:

    I loved Freakonomics and its sequel, so was expectingof the same here, but Think Like a Freak is a very different book and suffers by comparison The thing that absolutely blew everyone away with the earlier books was the absolute string of superb eye opening stories, taking a sideways look at a problem using statistics and psychology it wasn t really economics, but it worked as a title Perhaps the definitive example was the idea that crime rates had fallen as a result of increased avai I loved Freakonomics and its sequel, so was expectingof the same here, but Think Like a Freak is a very different book and suffers by comparison The thing that absolutely blew everyone away with the earlier books was the absolute string of superb eye opening stories, taking a sideways look at a problem using statistics and psychology it wasn t really economics, but it worked as a title Perhaps the definitive example was the idea that crime rates had fallen as a result of increased availability of abortions some years earlier In this book, though, the Freakonomics authors set out to teach us their methodology and, by comparison it s a bit dull.What we get is often ittlethan a collection of management consultancy platitudes like thinking small is powerful and it s good to quit , because in the end the special thing about the Freakonomics approach was not the basic tools, which are two a penny, but the way the authors employed them Occasionally we do get a great little story I particularly love the exploration of how to do better in football penalty shootouts but there just aren t enough of them, specifically not enough really surprising, Wow stories like the ones that fill the previous books The authors really should have taken their own advice when they say the most powerful form of persuasion they know is to use stories We needgreat stories, guys I would also pick up on another point they made When talking about the benefits of quitting where appropriate they say Should we take our own advice and think about quitting After three Freakonomics books, can we possibly haveto say and will anyone care The answer is yes, and no Yes , quit doing this kind of book but no don t give up and write us another Freakonomics if you can, as we will be ready to lap upof those mind bending ideas


  10. Zachary Schwartz Zachary Schwartz says:

    Fun fun fun fun fun This was my favorite of the franchise Like its predecessors, it is filled with amusing stories which usually highlight some economic or behavioral principle such as sunk cost, cobra effect, etc Unlike its predecessors, this book has an underlying structure of a how to book I feel that this gives the book acoherent flow The writing is accessible to anyone, lighthearted in tone, entertaining, and it moves very fast If you listen to the podcast, many of the st Fun fun fun fun fun This was my favorite of the franchise Like its predecessors, it is filled with amusing stories which usually highlight some economic or behavioral principle such as sunk cost, cobra effect, etc Unlike its predecessors, this book has an underlying structure of a how to book I feel that this gives the book acoherent flow The writing is accessible to anyone, lighthearted in tone, entertaining, and it moves very fast If you listen to the podcast, many of the stories will already be familiar to you This didn t bother me at all as I enjoyed reading them nowthan listening to them the first time I try to reserve 5 star ratings for books that either make me see the world differently, provide a deep emotionally experience, or make me laugh really hard Because this book did neither, I give it a 4 , but I highly recommend it to everyone Did you ever wonder why Nigerian email scammers ALWAYS advertise that they are from Nigeria Read the book to find out


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