The first thing that strikes you when you pick up Think Like a Freak is that the title couldn’t be more politically incorrect. Of course, it’s nothing new for the writer duo to rock the boat with provocative titles — Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner are the same people who wrote the bestselling Freakonomics. And before too long you move beyond the name to realise this is a classic motivational book with several fascinating aspects.The bookis a page-turner, which I finished reading in just a day. As you flip through the pages, it takes you on a journey of self-discovery that lasts long after you put the book down.
But first, what is a freak? The distinguishing characteristic of a freak: viewing the world in an unbiased manner. I was able to relate to the authors’ writings quite easily, as I believe my thought process is quite similar to theirs. The book advises one to think differently when stuck in a problematic situation. The idea of distinguishing oneself while being insulated from social pressure is fascinating.
One standout portion relates to questioning research by revising one’s way of thinking. For instance, the book illustrates how a study claims that 90% of married people are happy. However, thinking like a freak would turn that on its head and instead ask if it could be that 90% of happy people get married?
The most important lesson lies in Chapter Three, titled ‘What’s your problem?’. Understanding and rephrasing the problem is the way to find success and avenues for innovation.
There are two ways to look at everything in life and the same holds true for this book. I see it as an optimistic approach to trigger new thoughts. It was well written and was full of adventures.
Levitt and Dubner have given real-life examples of people who have followed the right line of thought, which resulted in positive outcomes for them. Reading about anecdotes such as Van Halen’s brown M&M rule for concerts, the mythology of King Solomon and the life of David Lee Roth was inspiring, as well as entertaining. In particular, I was inspired by a quote by Sir Isaac Newton, reproduced in the book: “To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. ‘Tis much better to do a little with certainty and leave the rest for others that come after than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing.”
Think Like a Freak is an incredible self-help book for those who are constrained by conventional thinking. I could connect to the book like a fellow traveller. The book taught me that every situation has endless possibilities.