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Think Like a Freak: Secrets of the Rogue Economist Paperback – 18 Jun 2015
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Think Like a Freak is not a book about how to understand magic tricks. That's what Dubner and Levitt's first two books - Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics - were about. It's about the attitude we need to take towards the tricks and the problems that the world throws at us. Dubner and Levitt have a set of prescriptions about what that attitude comes down to, but at its root it comes down to putting yourself in the mind of the child, gazing upwards at the double lift: free yourself from expectations, be prepared for a really really simple explanation, and let your attention wander from time to time . . . Utterly captivating (Malcolm Gladwell (author of Blink))
About the Author
Steven D. Levitt, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, was awarded the John Bates Clark medal, given to the most influential American economist under the age of forty. He is also a founder of The Greatest Good, which applies Freakonomics-style thinking to business and philanthropy.
Stephen J. Dubner is an award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality. He quit his first career-as an almost-rock-star-to become a writer. He has worked for The New York Times and published three non-Freakonomics books. He lives with his family in New York City.
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The writing is clear and engaging and avoids off-putting professional jargon. The book is brief enough to attract a very casual reader with some interest in the subject. Recommended.
If you pick this up cheap it's worth the hour or two it'll take you to read, but if you've not read Freakonomics that is the book to go for.
However, if you've listened to a lot of their podcasts and additional material then there's isn't too much there's new here. The cases presented are things they've mentioned before. Nevertheless, that is not the focus of this book as the crux of it is the inspiration behind it. As such, it's still a fascinating read. Dubner has a fantastic writing style that has a real flow to it.
If you're a fan of all things freakanomics, it's a great addition to your library!
The Chapters are [with my summary in brackets]:
1) What Does It Mean to Think Like a Freak?
[You need data and you need to understand cause and effect]
2) The Three Hardest Words in the English Language
[I won't spoil it!]
3) What's Your Problem?
[How you define the problem drives the answer. Lean practitioners and six sigma belts - this will give you some "real" life examples to use]
4) Like a Bad Dye Job the Truth Is in the Roots
[Address the cause - not the symptoms]
5) Think Like a Child
[Ask the daft question - Why?]
6) Like Giving Candy to a Baby
[The Power of Incentives]
7) What Do King Solomon and Dave Lee Roth Have in Common?
[A clever test... with Game Theory]
8) How to Persuade People Who Don't Want to Be Persuaded
[The Science of Persuasion]
9) The Upside of Quitting
[If at first you don't succeed... try something easier instead! - Actually the danger of sunk costs.]
I really enjoyed the book - Highly recommended.
Another highlight of the book was the revelation regarding a chapter entitled 'Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance", which featured in their second book. Absolute genius! (But I won't give it away and spoil it.)
So, if you haven't read the first two books, check them out first, and then give this one a go. Well worth it.