Do you Think Like A Freak?

Think-Like-A-Freak-Steven-Levitt-Stephen-DubnerIn the world of Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s book Think Like A Freak, they pose some great examples of why you might want to think like a freak.

This book came to me from the inspiration of listening to their podcast titled Freakonomics (listen to by clicking here). When I’m driving to a campus, military installation, organization, or an event to conduct a training or present a session, listening to Freakonomics (and a few other great podcasts) makes the drive seem much shorter and regularly gets me thinking in new ways.

The book Think Like A Freak is written to get us thinking – for you to question what you have been taught to think AND how you’ve been taught to think. Think Like a Freak is filled with lots of great concepts and discussions.  My favorite takeaways from listening to this audio book were:

  • Admit you don’t know. Doing so leads to much more room for learning and success.
  • Quit. Yes, be willing to quit. As I looked back through my life, I can see times where my choice to quit was the right choice. Sadly, too often we taught “Quitters never win and Winners never quit” which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Knowing what and/or when to quit can make a huge difference in one’s life.
  • Plan for Failure. Instead of only asking what it will take for a project to fail, ask yourself and those you work with, “If this project would be determined to be a complete failure 6 months after we completed it, what would have had to have happened?”  Then reverse engineer to insure those possibilities are eliminated. Now, you have a much more sound approach to your project.
  • Think like a child. Question. Ask, “Why?” and do it frequently. Consider that maybe you are asking the wrong question – the question everyone else asks and not the question everyone is forgetting to ask. One of my favorite sections is how they show this concept through a world champion hot dog eater.

If you choose to listen to the Audio Book instead of reading the book, the authors, Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner, are the actual narrators and they do a great job. They are engaging throughout.

If you’ve read or listened to Think Like A Freak, please share your thoughts in the COMMENTS section below.


What do you do when a book shares a lesson or strategy you strongly disagree with?

I just finished listening to the best-seller book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie via While not typically considered controversial, the title of the book can provoke varying responses in people.

Do you want to “win” friends? Most people say, “I do not want to win friends. I do want to build wonderful friendships.” Other people may wonder, “Does ‘Influence People’ actually mean you are going to learn how manipulate others?

When I first heard of the book two decades ago, I had similar reactions and questions. Then, I stop and ask myself, “Why am I creating unnecessary drama over a title or certain lessons in a book?” Unfortunately if someone wants to, a person can take the lessons from many books labeled as classics and misuse the concepts. If we never read a book that has aspects we don’t like, we’d miss the opportunity to question and grow from differing outlooks.

I try to find the golden nuggets in each book I read (assuming the book is well-written and I can at least enjoy the reading process). If the current lesson I’m reading in a book doesn’t fit my personal beliefs and/or approach, I stop and ask myself, “Why does this disagree with me? Am I being close-minded or is there a valid logic to why this specific lesson or message isn’t sitting well with me?

For example: in How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale shares how to use competition to motivate employees. While in the past I may agreed with that approach, my viewpoint has changed over the years. Competition can often lead to people continuously comparing themselves to the “other” team instead of focusing on the joy of their work. Long-term, competition can turn into a “us vs them” mentality.

By asking myself, “Do I believe competition is a good strategy for motivating my team?” I was able to have this discovery for myself. The result of reading that section of the book was a reinforcement in the belief that I want each member of The DATE SAFE Project excelling and thriving for the love of their own growth and discovery – for the individual to receive deep fulfillment from their efforts in helping spread our mission.

Sometimes we need disruption to help ourselves grow. Other times, your inner self is sending you an uncomfortable message because it wants you to avoid using a certain approach that is incongruent with your authentic self. The key is being open to that discovery and then making the choice that sits best with you