Friday, July 11, 2014

Think Like A Freak

I've always been a huge fan of the Freakonomics franchise. But what attracted me to the concept was the original research the authors conducted which had resulted in some remarkable findings. In this third installment of the series, Think Like A Freak, there is much less original research, and much more regurgitation of the work of other smart authors.

It's clear to me that the authors and I read the same books! This is because chapter after chapter of this new book was about concepts that were developed by other authors in other books I've read. Many of these are profiled on this page. However, if you haven't read these books, then Freakonomics provides a nice summary of how to improve your thinking, including wisdom such as: willingness to say you don't know and not taking conventional wisdom for granted.

For me, there was one chapter in particular that stood out. It describes how the authors used data and a bunch of tricks (including a big one which duped the media and society) to catch terrorists for the government. For that chapter alone, I think the book is worth the read.

This is a little off-topic but it bothers me how promotional these guys are with the book! If someone didn't buy the book after the first 100 tweets about it, are they really going to buy it after the 101st? Then again, these guys know what they are doing when it comes to working with data, so maybe there's something to it! Be prepared to see this write-up posted 101 times on Twitter!

While this is a luke-warm review, there is nothing lukewarm about my recommendation for the first installment in this series, the original Freakonomics. If you haven't read that one, I *highly*, *highly* recommend it.

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