I read the book, Freakonomics sometime in the beginning of this year, and it got me hooked to this way of thinking. The simplicity and the clarity brought in by the authors to explain real life incidents were fascinating. Unexpected insights on topics as varied as abortion related to crime rates and Sumo wrestling made this book a winner, leading to subsequent sequels.
Needless to say, I was looking forward to reading the remaining books by this author duo. I gave their third instalment, Think like a Freak priority over the second, SuperFreakonomics due to the catchier name, and also due to its recency.
The Author duo – one an Economist and the other, a Journalist form a wonderful combination to perfectly blend the bland with the interesting. They have made the word Freakonomics, which started off as a book, into a complete brand. There is a movie, the Podcast, the blog and the occasional consultancy they do on similar lines of thought.
The book delves into many interesting episodes, and continues from where it left off. The rational of the whole “why suicide bombers should get an insurance” , which is touched upon in their previous book is now explained in detail. The case where the link between the “Englishman tasting the sweat of the African slave” and the “high levels of heart disease in this community” is established very pictorially and convincingly.
The pitfall of this book is that it seems a little like self-help. It sometimes gets into preachy mode, provoking the non-intuitive minds a trick or two. The whole book gives a very instruction manual feel, which makes it very preachy.
The lessons that are offered are surely valuable but obvious. Common thoughts like, “Ask the right questions”, “Admit your shortcomings”, “Tell Stories to convince a strong opponent” are given as tools to think freakishly.
Also, as someone who frequently listens to their podcast, it very much seemed like a repetition of the same at many places.
Overall, this book does have some content, but on the whole it looks like a hurried affair to cash in on the previous success.