Review: Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain

Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain
Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain by Steven D. Levitt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book does nothing to cure my sickness: footnote-itis. Behind the two-hundred pages of text are another couple of hundred benign-sounding “underlying research citations and other background information”, which the authors encourage me to use. Thanks Mr. Levitt. Thanks Mr. Dubner. I needed an extra day to write this review because I spent most of one night watching lectures from Yale Professor Dan Kahan talking about the Cultural Cognition Project. Only one-hundred-ninety-nine more footnotes to go.

According to the authors, “the first two books were rarely prescriptive”. They told stories with data. This book couples that with useful takeaways for everyday life. Again, not helping my sickness, authors. This interesting analysis tells me “just because you’re at the office is no reason to stop thinking”. This book teaches me how to redefine the problem by: thinking small, not big; not being afraid of the obvious; and, having fun. I had a lot of fun with this book.

This book starts out by telling me that the highest percentage of winning goals are right down the middle, that stuffing someone else’s poop up my butt can cure me, and that a bank can make me rich by playing lottery with my money. Something like that. Oh, and keep worrying, because the winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize proves it’s bacterial, not worry that causes ulcers.

The whole idea here is to re-think the obvious perception. Much of what we’ve learned in DRIVE, OUTLIERS, ESSENTIALISM, and especially THINKING, FAST AND SLOW is replicated here in the authors’ unique and witty voice. They take what other people may overlook and spin it around, just like their previous works, if not better. So pour yourself that $1.65 bottle of wine (because it tastes the same as a $150 bottle), sit back, and enjoy this awesome book.

Anything that sparks my brain into extra gear is a winner, even if my footnote-itis remains uncured.

Thanks to William Morrow and HarperCollins for sending me this book to review.

Bonus: here’s Stephen D. on reddit, answering questions about the book:
http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/25dpj5/i_am_stephen_dubner_coauthor_of_freakonomics_ask/

Here’s the Amazon page, with the other awesome reviews: Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain

Enjoy!

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