Review: Think Like a Freak

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Book Review

Think Like a Freak

By Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Many people are stuck with the solutions that others have created. That doesn’t mean the solutions are the best. They have just been done before. In Think Like a Freak, the authors help change the way we see the world through fascinating stories and unique analysis. The book helps us look at new ways to solve problems. It encourages us to be open minded and explore new ways of thinking.

For example, in one story about Van Halen (the rock and roll band), the truth was revealed about brown M&M’s. Well, not the M&M’s themselves, but the importance that David Lee Roth (Van Halen’s frontman) placed on them.

You see, many venues weren’t up to par with the technical demands of the mega-performances that Van Halen did. Thus, at the end of the contract with the venue, Davide Lee Roth placed a VERY LONG rider outlining the band’s needs, such as enough physical space, load-bearing capacity and so on. He even asked for M&M’s (but no brown ones).

He used the request for no brown M&M’s as a barometer. If when arriving at the venue, there were brown M&M’s, Roth knew that the contract hadn’t been read and that other problems may arise. They then knew to verify that the other specifications were met so that everyone would be safe. He would then trash the dressing room to hide his real reason for the “no brown M&M’s” rule.

He anticipated the problem and developed a unique solution that only took moments to verify its effectiveness. This was about thinking simply, a basic tenant of Think Like a Freak.

Golden Nugget: “Why do so few people think like a freak?
– It’s easy to let your bias color your view of the world.
– It’s tempting to run with the herd.
– Most people are too busy to rethink the way they think.”
(p. 10)