Unleash your freak

 

Think Like A Freak

I bought Think Like A Freak many years ago, started reading it but stopped reading during chapter 1. Still not sure why I didn’t finish it though. The book has a decent rhythm and is filled with anecdotes which will keep you entertained and engaged. Think Like A Freak follows on from the bestselling Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics books further distilling the Levitt & Dubner doctrine and providing practical examples of unleashing your freakiness.

The book is about problem-solving, appreciating that not all problems can be solved and verbalising “I don’t know” is ok.

Other notable nuggets are:

  • Dump your moral compass
  • Think like a child, without a filter
  • Focus on the root cause of a problem, not the symptom
  • Search for the incentives, people care more about them than you realise
  • Find innovative ways to persuade those who don’t want to be persuaded
  • Embrace the upside of quitting

Levitt & Dubner have once again shifted the benchmark and although the book was written a few years ago, it is still relevant as a framework for addressing those niggly issues we all face.

Well worth a read.

 

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Zero to One

Although Peter Thiel’s book was first published in 2014, it is still engaging and relevant. 0-to-1.jpgThe book is concise and punchy, talking to all things startup and evolving your dream into a sustainable monopoly. Peter successfully argues that operating in a world of perfect competition where no economic profit can be made is sub-optimal, business owners should be fighting for and aiming for a monopoly.  He drops morsels of wisdom that is often overlooked when in a startup, one of them is how important it is to sort how you make sales, as small sales volumes require lots of marketing effort or a healthy dose of viral growth engines.

In his 14 chapters, Peter details his journey and learnings while navigating Paypal through the DotCom bubble of the 2000s and then going on to build other successful business.  Peter asks a number of daunting questions throughout the book, 2 of which had me thinking for a very long time:

  • What valuable company is nobody building?
  • What important truth do very few people agree with you on?

Zero to One is not a blueprint for success but notes from a successful entrepreneur and definitely worth a read

The Undercover Economist Strikes Back

Recently managed to finally complete reading The Undercover Economist Strikes Back by Tim Harford. An excellent read for those who have any mild interest in economics irrespective of how basic that interest or understanding is. Fortunately i’m able to interact daily with a number of the concepts Tim discusses making my reader journey really pleasurable. The rich history and insight Tim adds to economic ideas and theories have rekindled my inherent interest in the complex systems which economics tries to massage into theory. The story behind the MONIAC colloquially referred to as ‘The Phillips Machine’ was of particular interest and an example of Tim’s extraordinary storytelling ability.

The Question and Answer style of the narrative I initially found distracting but after page 20 it grew on me and is possibly the best format to engage readers who have little or no understanding of economics. The style puts the reader in the driver seat and diligently leads us on a journey of discovery. Although Tim is sometimes compared to my favourite author Malcolm Gladwell, I think the comparison does an injustice to both of them. Their styles are inherently unique and I clearly enjoy both of their works.

Tim’s focus on making economic theory real and practical ensured I was continually engage with the material which is written in a conversational style. Had I read the book during my last year of high school and even my first year at varisty my understanding of economics and how it permeates our lives would have been better entrenched and led to better exam and assignment results.

The book is a treat to read and has made it onto my advise others to read list.