Book Review: Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Think Like a Freak by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Think Like a Freak: What it is about

From the publishers: “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.”

Think Like a Freak: What I thought

I haven’t read the two previous books by these authors, Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics. Apparently, they describe economic problems and clever ways to think about these and to find ways to solve them.

In this book, the authors take a different approach and explain to the reader how they, too, can think like a freak and solve problems that seem impossible. The book is full of stories of people who achieved something remarkable, and describes what their thinking process was to get to these achievements. Really, that’s all it is, a book full of anecdotes.

Unfortunately, the writers don’t give a handy list of ways to think like a freak (I will have to copy the list above and put it in my copy of the book). That’s a pity, because I like lists, and I would have liked to see something like the above in the book itself.

Other than that, the book inspires the reader to think in a different way. It may not always make you popular with others, but it may lead to the most amazing results.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (Good)

Number of pages: 268

First published: 2014

I got this: from the publishers, William Morrow, for review

Genre: non-fiction, economics, business

 

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

6 Responses to Book Review: Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

  1. bibliosue says:

    I have listened to the audio versions of the other Freakonomics books and really enjoyed them. They take seemingly boring topics (boring to me) and make them sound fascinating. I look forward to listening to this one too.

    • Leeswammes says:

      You must try this one, Suzanne, although you might recognize a few stories. At least, the authors do refer back to their other books.

  2. trish422 says:

    From what I hear the first two are much better; I haven’t read either so I have no personal opinion myself.

  3. I haven’t read their two previous books either, but have recently become a dedicated listener of the Freakonomics podcast. I think I will enjoy this book as well. Learning to think differently is sometimes important.

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