Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain
by: William Morrow Paperbacks
Product rating: 4.1 with 804 reviews
Now in Paperback—the New York Times bestseller—and follow up to the revolutionary bestsellers Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics—with a new author Q&A.
With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner take us inside their thought process and teach us all how to think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally. In Think Like A Freak, they offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems, whether your interest lies in minor lifehacks or major global reforms. The topics range from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain. Along the way, you’ll learn the secrets of a Japanese hot-dog-eating champion, the reason an Australian doctor swallowed a batch of dangerous bacteria, and why Nigerian e-mail scammers make a point of saying they’re from Nigeria.
Levitt and Dubner plainly see the world like no one else. Now you can too. Never before have such iconoclastic thinkers been so revealing—and so much fun to read.
In one of the many wonderful moments in Think Like a Freak, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner ask the question: Who is easier to fool—kids or adults? The obvious answer, of course, is kids. The cliché is about taking candy from a baby, not a grown man. But instead of accepting conventional wisdom as fact, the two sit down with the magician Alex Stone—someone in the business of fooling people—and ask him what he thinks. And his answer? Adults.
Stone gave the example of the staple of magic tricks, the “double lift,” where two cards are presented as one. It’s how a magician can seemingly bury a card that you have selected at random and then miraculously retrieve it. Stone has done the double lift countless times in his career, and he says it is kids—overwhelmingly—who see through it. Why? The magician’s job is to present a series of cues—to guide the attention of his audience—and adults are really good at following cues and paying attention. Kids aren’t. Their gaze wanders. Adults have a set of expectations and assumptions about the way the world works, which makes them vulnerable to a profession that tries to exploit those expectations and assumptions. Kids don’t know enough to be exploited. Kids are more curious. They don’t overthink problems; they’re more likely to understand that the basis of the trick is something really, really simple. And most of all—and this is my favorite—kids are shorter than adults, so they quite literally see the trick from a different and more revealing angle.
Think Like a Freak is not a book about how to understand magic tricks. That’s what Dubner and Levitt’s first two books—Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics—were about. It’s about the attitude we need to take towards the tricks and the problems that the world throws at us. Dubner and Levitt have a set of prescriptions about what that attitude comes down to, but at its root it comes down to putting yourself in the mind of the child, gazing upwards at the double lift: free yourself from expectations, be prepared for a really really simple explanation, and let your attention wander from time to time.
The two briefly revisit their famous argument from their first book about the link between the surge in abortions in the 1970s and the fall in violent crime twenty years later. Their point is not to reargue that particular claim. It is to point out that we shouldn’t avoid arguments like that just because they leave us a bit squeamish. They also tell the story of the Australian doctor Barry Marshall, who overturned years of received wisdom when he proved that ulcers are caused by gastric bacteria, not spicy food and stress. That idea was more than heretical at first. It was absurd. It was the kind of random idea that only a child would have. But Dubner and Levitt’s point, in their utterly captivating new book, is that following your curiosity—even to the most heretical and absurd end—makes the world a better place. It is also a lot of fun.
Posted in Decision-Making & Problem Solving Tagged with: Author's, Brain, Freak, Freakonomics, Like, Offer, Retrain, Think, William Morrow Paperbacks, Your
Something to Think About: Some Unbelievably Basic Ideas About Nutrition
Product rating: 5.0 with 1 reviews
Have you ever thought that you were the only one to think there has to be another way to do this? Have you fallen victim to the commercialized products and medical recommendations even though you know this can’t be “it”? “Something to Think About” asks questions and provokes thoughts about Western culture and the continued ignorance in which we obey without questions. The book asks questions and provides thought-provoking articles that over thirty thousand people have already discovered online following NutritionLuke’s blogs.
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: About, AuthorHouse, Basic, Ideas, Nutrition, Some, Something, Think, Unbelievably
Applied Minds: How Engineers Think
by: W. W. Norton & Company
Product rating: 5.0 with 1 reviews
A journey inside the minds that build our world.
Dubai’s Burj Khalifa―the world’s tallest building―looks nothing like Microsoft’s Office Suite, and digital surround sound doesn’t work like a citywide telecommunication grid. Yet these engineering feats have much in common.
Applied Minds explores the unique visions and mental tools of engineers to reveal the enormous―and often understated―influence they wield in transforming problems into opportunities. The resulting account pairs the innovators of modern history―Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, Steve Jobs―with everything from ATMs and the ZIP code system to the disposable diaper.
An engineer himself, Guru Madhavan introduces a flexible intellectual tool kit called modular systems thinking as he explains the discipline’s penchant for seeing structure where there is none. The creations that result from this process express the engineer’s answers to the fundamental questions of design: usefulness, functionality, reliability, and user friendliness.
Through narratives and case studies spanning the brilliant history of engineering, Madhavan shows how the concepts of prototyping, efficiency, reliability, standards, optimization, and feedback are put to use in fields as diverse as transportation, retail, health care, and entertainment.
Equal parts personal, practical, and profound, Applied Minds charts a path to a future where we apply strategies borrowed from engineering to create useful and inspired solutions to our most pressing challenges.
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: Applied, Engineers, Minds, Think, W. W. Norton & Company
Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel
by: Henry Holt and Co.
Product rating: 4.7 with 18 reviews
I wanted to know what they were experiencing, and why to us they feel so compelling, and so-close. This time I allowed myself to ask them the question that for a scientist was forbidden fruit: Who are you?
Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina’s landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack’s personal tragedy, and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest.
Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals. Wise, passionate, and eye-opening at every turn, Beyond Words is ultimately a graceful examination of humanity’s place in the world.
Posted in Animal Behavior & Communication Tagged with: Animals, Beyond, Feel, Henry Holt and Co., Think, What, Words