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Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain Paperback – July 7, 2015
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“Utterly captivating.” (Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times bestselling author of Blink, The Tipping Point, and David and Goliath)
“Over nine entertaining chapters [Levitt and Dubner] demonstrate how not to fall into hackneyed approaches to solving problems and concretely illustrate how to reframe questions.” (New York Daily News)
“Compelling and fun.” (New York Post)
“This book will change your life.” (Daily Express (London))
“Good ideas... expressed with panache.” (Financial Times)
“An interesting and thought-provoking read.” (The Horn)
“Their most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and teach us all to think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally --- to think, that is, like a Freak.” (Bookreporter.com)
From the Back Cover
Put away your moral compass. Learn to say "I don't know." Think like a child.
Take a master class in incentives. Appreciate the upside of quitting. . . . And more!
Think Like a Freak is Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner's most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and teach us all to think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally—to think, that is, like a Freak.
Levitt 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 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 Nigeria.
Never before have such iconoclastic thinkers been so revealing—and so much fun to read.
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Like many other people, after reading both of the Freakonomics books, I felt like I learned a ton, but I wasn't sure how it would apply directly to my life.
And that's okay. They weren't writing a self help book, and I read their work because I was genuinely curious in understanding how the world works.
But this book departs from their usual method of explaining how the world works and instead shows you how you can better live in the world.
And that's why I believe this is their best book yet.
Here's a little summary of what I learned:
1. In one chapter, the three hardest words in the english language, they talk about one of the main problems that plagues people today - the inability to say "I don't know." And they show you how it's a deadly combination because "cocky plus wrong" is a recipe for disaster. They then show you how to avoid making this mistake. They even give a word for word script you can use.
2. In another chapter, "WHat's your problem," they share the story of Kobayashi and how he became a professional hot dog - and food eater. They walked through his entire process and how he went on to eat 50 hot dogs when people thought eating 30 was impossible. And even though they're talking about hot dogs, you'll see how this can apply to everyone.
As an example, back when I started creating videos for Social Triggers TV, a friend of mine told me they were filming about 6 videos a day. And I thought, "Well, I'm new at this ther's no way ill get there." And I would film 3 videos a day. Eventually, as I got good, I got to the magic number - 6 videos in a day and I felt like I was on top of the world. Until I spoke to another friend who told me they do 15 or 20 videos in a day. I was SHOCKED. But I went back to the drawing board, refined my process, and eventually got up to 17 videos in a day.
I'm being vague here, mainly because I want you to read the book. But it's funny seeing how the same process I used to increase my video production was used by the hot dog champ as well.
3. And my favorite part of the book is when they talk about what they call "the once and done" technique. If you're a non-profit, you'll LOVE reading about this because you'll see how you can potentially increase donations a drastic amount by using this simple marketing tactic.
And that's it.
Great book and I suggest you buy it and read it.
Great book and an easy read. Provides the reader with a different way of thinking about the world. Rather than thinking like everyone else (or not thinking at all like everyone else), it helps you to realize that you need to look at things from a different perspective and recognize that things are not as obvious as they seem. So many people just accept what they hear from someone else and do not bother to question and prove it for themselves. Does a nice job of inspiring you to "think like a Freak" and gives some nice examples where what people had accepted as true were not even close. Also gives some helpful examples of how to create experiments to get the data needed to draw accurate conclusions.
Some of the reviewers of this book complained that the stories told and data on which conclusions were drawn did not site sources. Apparently these reviewers did not bother do go beyond the last chapter. The book includes all of the source and data citations at the back of the book.
Q: Who is it for? A: It is not for persons who have spent years reading about Epistemology (like the current writer) but for people who need something that is very light in tone and deliberately made to be very interesting.
Q: What are some of the sources that expand on the nature of some of the topics covered in this book? A: 1. Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way To Be Smart. Talks about only finding relationships between variables and not getting too caught up in cause and effects; 2. Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure. Talks about making failures survivable and how learning what *doesn't* work is just as important as learning what does work; 3. Various books by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. This book talks about the limits of what *can* actually be known.
Q: Do I recommend this book? A: Yes. Even for the full price (Kindle). And even for people who know most of all this information, it's good seeing the authors update said information with new and interesting examples and good prose.
The only problems that I have with the book are the length, just over 200 pages, and it rehashes a lot of stuff that they go over in other works. This book is easy enough that you can probably read in one or two sittings and it is very captivating throughout. I really enjoyed the anecdotes they use to bring across the point of the book that everyone can benefit by thinking differently about the world (i.e. think like a freak).
One of the main things that I liked is how they describe the way children ask questions and are so curious about everything. Children don't have a set worldview and are eager to learn by asking a lot of questions. Parents often dismiss these questions when it might be valuable to see the world through a child's eyes and challenge set it stone opinions or thoughts.
The writers also make a good point about how the three hardest words in the English language are "I don't know" and how it should be okay to say these words. By applying these words to our lives, we will first of all lie a lot less and more importantly be able to demonstrate a willingness to find out answers to questions we simply don't know.
As I stated before, I wish that this book was longer, but I really did enjoy all that was written and would recommend "Think like a Freak" for those interested in challenging their current worldview and seeking to approach life in a creative way.