Think Like a Freak by Levitt & Dubner

How Do Freaks Think?

  • A big question this book tries to answer is how are you supposed to get everyone to pull in the same direction when they are all pulling primarily for themselves? While their first two books were rarely prescriptive, this book tries to offer some advice that may be useful, whether you are interested in small problems or global issues. The thinking is inspired by the economic approach. This approach relies on data, rather than a hunch or ideology to understand how the world works. There is no magic here, and anyone can do it. The reason most people don’t is that they seek out evidence to confirm what they already believe. It’s also tempting to run with the heard and it’s easy to feel like you are too busy to rethink the way you think.

The Three Hardest Words

  • Saying “I don’t know” seems to be difficult for many people. Many also use a combination of opinion, gut instinct, and their moral compass to claim to know things they don’t really know. To think like a freak you need to admit what you don’t know and believe that maybe you can find out. The best way to find out is often an experiment of some sort. Many don’t think they know how to run a randomized scientific experiment, but it isn’t that hard. Not everything lends itself to experimentation, but there are situations where experiments happen in a natural manner and you just have take note an analyze the data. People who give opinions for a living often make predictions that are no more likely to be correct than the results of a coin toss.
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