Think Like a Freak

Think Like a Freak

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by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
     
 

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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 podcast, and more.

Now, with Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have written their most revolutionary book yet

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Overview

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 podcast, and more.

Now, 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 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.

Some 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 it.
  • Learn 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 to.
  • Think like a child—because you'll come up with better ideas and ask better questions.
  • Take a master class in incentives—because for better or worse, incentives rule our world.
  • Learn to persuade people who don't want to be persuaded—because being right is rarely enough to carry the day.
  • Learn to appreciate the upside of quitting—because you can't solve tomorrow's problem if you aren't willing to abandon today's dud.

Levitt 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
05/05/2014
The bestselling bards of gonzo economics return with this new compendium of nifty, if occasionally shallow contrarian mind-warps. This time University of Chicago economist Levitt and journalist Dubner clothe their Freakonmics schtick in flimsy self-help garb by instructing readers on how to "think like a Freak": ignore conventional wisdom; focus on data; test theories with experiments; don't confuse correlation with causality (married people may be happier, they note, because no one wants to marry a grump); most of all, attend to the devious workings of callow self-interest that rule all things (a principle that comically backfires when one of them uses candy bribes to toilet-train his daughter). Levitt and Dubner apply these nostrums to problems having little to do with economics, including competitive hot dog-eating, why Nigerian con artists advertise themselves as Nigerian con artists, and the game-theoretical ploys of King Solomon and David Lee Roth. Their arguments are lucid, catchy, and sometimes dubious; their brief for the efficacy of medieval trial-by-ordeal is no more convincing than their hackneyed attack on Britain's national health system. The result is brief, blithe, but ill-digested provocations that stimulate controversy, but are too sketchy to settle it. (May)
Financial Times
“Good ideas... expressed with panache.”
The Horn
“An interesting and thought-provoking read.”
New York Daily News
“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.”
Malcolm Gladwell
“Utterly captivating.”
New York Post
“Compelling and fun.”
Daily Express (London)
“This book will change your life.”
Bookreporter.com
“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.”
Library Journal
12/01/2013
Levitt and Dubner's Freakonomics sold five million copies. So the authors will likely do well with this book on thinking like a freak—that is, looking at the world in a different way to understand it better. With a one-day laydown on May 13 and a 500,000-copy first printing.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-04-16
Co-authors Levitt (Economics/Univ. of Chicago) and journalist Dubner (Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance, 2009, etc.) continue on their mission to get people to think in new ways in this lively book about decision and persuasion.Building on their first two books, the authors offer advice for dealing with "minor lifehacks or major global reforms." Most people, they argue, "seek out evidence that confirms what they already think, rather than new information that would give them a more robust view of reality." They urge openness to evidence that may seem obvious, counterintuitive or even childish. Children, they conclude, are much more likely than adults to focus on small, solvable problems rather than "intractable, hopelessly complex" issues. "Small questions are by their nature less often asked and investigated….They are virgin territory for true learning," they assert, and much more likely to inspire change. Nine fast-paced, story-filled chapters offer nuggets of useful advice: Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know." It's essential for learning. Reframe questions: "If you ask the wrong question, you are almost guaranteed to get the wrong answer." Stay alert to the real root cause of a problem; it may be far different from what people generally assume. Levitt and Dubner analyze the upsides and downsides of incentives and consider the insidious power of "herd thinking." Genial storytellers, the authors admit that much of their advice may seem like common sense (and, of course, they covered much of this territory already in their previous books), but they cite study after study—by psychologists, sociologists, educators and scientists—to show that sometimes common sense is severely underutilized.Upbeat and optimistic, Levitt and Dubner hope that by thinking "a bit differently, a bid harder, a bit more freely," readers will be able "to go out and right some wrong, to ease some burden."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062218407
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/12/2014
Edition description:
Audio CD
Pages:
5
Sales rank:
439,825
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 5.80(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

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.

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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Think Like a Freak 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here's the problem with this book: it's a re-hash of the popular Freakonomics podcast. Literally every chapter has been covered in a podcast. As such, it doesn't have the excitement of new material for long time fans. It's like your favorite band releasing a live album; sure, it's great, but it's not *new*. The writing is as crisp and clear as ever, and the stories are compelling, but if you're a regular podcast listener, you've heard them all before from your Uncles Steve.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good if u havent listened to their podcasts from which this material is culled. Also a short read c150 pgs the rest r notes. Good for true Freak fans must read if u dont get podcasts and dont know the material already. Hoping for a more traditional full length tome in the future tho. Btw thx to secret suoerheroes dub& lev you'll see why when u get to the british terrorists section
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this to be entertaining, witty, and just plain good overall. That said, the notes, index, and references ate up a good fourth of this roughly two hundred page book (I read the e-book version.) This was disappointing. Additionally, the topics had been previously discussed on the Freakonomics Podcast, which another reviewer noticed as well. Overall, this one fell short of my expectations for excellence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some examples were interesting but many economic concepts were either wrong or misidentified. All-in-all It was probably worth the time.
DaNookCA More than 1 year ago
I become a real freak whenever I read one of the Freakonomics books and this new addition is no different. I love their fresh perspective and insight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got hooked on freakonomics podcasts but this book gives me more. I really like the way they try to make you look at things differently. I will be going back and buying the earlier books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well done! I love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book to give you different ways to think, to learn and be open minded! Totally reccomend it!
ManoloMV More than 1 year ago
Must read for everyone
Anonymous 8 months ago
Plz friend me
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eirewolf More than 1 year ago
Very different view of the relationship of things and ideas. It's informative and thought provoking.
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pm42 More than 1 year ago
Interesting and informative stories.
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