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Think Like a Freak

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I found Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics entertaining but had mediocre expectations for this book, expecting it to be gimmicky. I was pleasantly surprised, however.

The premise is simple: the authors Levitt and Dubner want to help us learn to think more productively, creatively, and rationally, and are going to use their formidable skills as storytellers and analysts to make us smarter thinkers. And I think it delivers nicely on this promise.

What I particularly liked about this book is it has immediate practical value. Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics were interesting, but I didn’t walk away with any particular tool or “to-do” steps to improve my life. Well, Think Like a Freak is different. It doesn’t just give insights into the quirky and complex nature of the world–it shows you how to better make your way in it.

Some people might criticize the book’s lessons as simplistic and “un-shocking”–lessons that can be boiled down to aphorisms like “admit what you don’t know,” “ask the right questions,” “use stories to convince naysayers,” and so forth–I think they’re well told and, in most cases, with interesting twists that hadn’t occurred to me previously.

Yes, this book is a little pop-philosophic and some of the anecdotes are a little underwhelming (the “revelations” are a bit obvious), but it’s an easy, fun read that will likely turn on (or up) a few light bulbs  upstairs.

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