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on 21 May 2016
A short, neat book which seems to be primarily an inspiration piece, but none the worse for that. Although it does have some "case studies" of actual research, all of which are interesting enough, the purpose of the book is to examine how one might bring economics - and robust stat-based psychology - into thinking about problems, and how to think about how to tackle those problems. Two examples will hopefully illuminate what I mean: firstly, the emphasis on re-framing the question to solve the actual problem, where most problems are actually examined through a framework which already presumes that certain types of solutions will be the ones adopted; secondly, a basic guide to incentives, which get you to think about how incentives actually work and how to think about using the incentives to achieve what you actually want them to, whilst avoiding secondary outcomes you don't. And to re-assure (?) you that any incentive system will be gamed to some degree. Hopefully this gives an indication of the sort of thing that the book is aimed at. Other reviewers have remarked that there is a slight "self-help" feel to the book, both in tone and aim - I'd agree with that.
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.
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on 9 June 2014
This is a very quick read. While better than the flawed Superfreakonomics it is very different from the original book. Fewer examples and interesting pieces, more a companion to the first book and covering much the same ground as their podcast.

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.
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on 11 March 2016
I'm a big fan of both Freakanomics and Super Freakanomics (and their podcast!). Think like a Freak is another great addition by Dubner and Levitt and explores their reasoning behind why they do the things they do. It provides for some very interesting insight into their process and how it takes real skill to simplify all the complex economics that they're known 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!
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on 3 August 2014
Another Super Book for the Freakonomics duo. If you subscribe to the Freakonomics podcasts then you will be familiar to many of the anecdotes told in the book. If you are a fan of the material, then this book is not a revelation but more a cheat sheet in good decision theory. The authors are promoters of data driven decisions. They apply economic theory and the scientific method to public policy (and other) decisions. In this book they introduce you to how you can do the same. If you have an influence on public policy decisions you need to read this book. You will read it on the plane (there and back!) There are 9 chapters each with its own message - well illustrated with real stories.

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.
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on 1 March 2016
Finally I know what I am - a Freak!! This book is, I think, the best in the series. Whilst I have enjoyed reading the first two books, this one drew all the threads together and helped me arrive at the obvious, I'm a Freak and I say it with great pride. In the past I have always put my success in business down to "always being in the wrong place at the right time" but now I know that I simply see a different answer to the totally obvious answer. Well done the lads!!
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on 7 December 2014
They obviously ran out of new material so retold the old stories under the guise of some very weak 'think like a freak' analysis. Like a cheap/lazy flashback episode of your favourite TV series. Just read the first 2 books and skip this one, there is nothing new here.
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on 16 June 2014
A really enjoyable read. Overall it doesn't quite reach the heights of the first Freakonomics book, but Chapter 6, which covered the topic of 'Incentives', made the biggest impression on me. I would go as far as to say it has altered my way of thinking, and allowed me to better understand the world around me. In order to understand a person's actions, you must figure out their motivations. To do this, you must apply the logic of incentives. Once you have figured out what the incentive is, the motivation becomes clear, and therefore the action makes sense. This can be applied equally to small, every day scenarios, or to world politics and religion. It seems so obvious that I wonder why I didn't realise it before. I guess I really am starting to "think like a freak"!
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.
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on 6 June 2014
Too short, interesting as previous books were. Unfortunately, feels lightweight compared with previous books. Personally I was disappointed. Contains a few real gems however and overall I enjoyed it!
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on 23 February 2015
Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics are more rooted in research than this book and are probably better than this book. However, this is an interesting read based on challenging the conventional wisdom and relies more on anecdotal evidence than statistically valid research.

Its not a 'heavyweight' book like Keynes and Smith's work but that makes it an easier (and more enjoyable?) read.
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on 21 January 2016
Equips you with tools on how you too, can start thinking out of the box. When you can't figure out the answers, probably means you're asking the wrong questions-I have applied this advice from Think Like A Freak in numerous areas of my life (such as weight loss!). Highly recommended
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