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Sonderbooks Book Review of

Think Like a Freak

The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain

by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

read by Stephen J. Dubner


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Think Like a Freak

The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain

by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

read by Stephen J. Dubner

Review posted October 25, 2014.
HarperCollins, 2014. 5 ½ hours on 5 compact discs.
Starred Review

I reviewed Freakonomics back in 2005. It presented a different way of looking at problems than common “wisdom” suggests. In this book, Think Like a Freak, the authors not only show you problems they have solved, but they offer tips and suggestions for how you can solve problems the Freakonomics way.

As well as giving problem-solving tips, they also give you advice on persuading people who don’t want to be persuaded. One piece of advice is to tell stories. And this book abounds with stories and examples for every principle given. Even if you don’t take their advice, you’ll find the stories entertaining. But I’m guessing that you will also find them persuasive.

For example, to go with the tip of having gardens weed themselves, we’re told why Nigerian scammers are actually smart to mention Nigeria. It weeds out all but the very most gullible people.

In light of the principle that we should get rid of the idea that quitting is always bad, the authors tell about a huge experiment they ran, offering to make people’s decisions for them with a coin flip.

Those are just a few of the entertaining and informative examples, which are presented in an engaging way and may get you looking at the world differently. Unlike many authors, this one’s voice is as mellifluous as an actor’s. I found myself looking forward to my commute to hear more of what he had to say.