Think Like a Freak

I never understood economics in college- Eco 101 and 102.  Did not get any of it. Just like when I was handed an AP Macroeconomics textbook and was told to teach it to 12 grade AP kids (because for some reason it falls under social studies).  Nobody would even go there.  I won’t lie, the first couple of years I did not get it.  Really, I did not get it.  I didn’t even teach the graphs because I did not get them.  I finally found a great guy (I know I have told this story before) and now I get it.  I am obsessed with economics.  It is basically psychology.

So tonight’s blog is dedicated to all of you who are looking for good summer books to read and might go outside your comfort zone and read one of these “different books”.  You will love them.  They are so interesting.  I am going to recommend my favorites and give a few blurbs about each one to try and “hook you”.


My husband says he loves Naked Economics better than Freakonomics, but really liked the later two, Super Freakonomics and Think Like a Freak.


I will start with the trilogy:  Freakonomics (they made a movie), Super Freakeconomics, and most recently Think Like a Freak. I can honestly say I liked all of them very much for different reasons.  The first two were similar and the most recent just added to the brilliance!

Freakonomics:  Why do drug dealers still live with their mamas?  What do summo wrestlers and school teachers have in common?  What are the socioeconomic implications of naming your kids?  How has legalized abortion reduced crime? Interesting story- Chicago saw a huge rise in gang related shootings but in an odd place- the buttocks.  The gangs got smart and realized if they shot a rival person and shot below the torso it was just assault, if you shoot above the waist, with the vital organs, it becomes attempted murder.


Here is a relation between Super Freakonomics and Think Like a Freak. I don’t want to tell everything, but give you a taste so you will be interested in reading.  Super Freakonomics talked about how the authors helped the British government come up with an algorithm for spotting “potential terrorist” based on their banking patterns.  Basically they studied the 19 terrorists from 9/11 and found interesting banking facts.  These terrorist generally had a large sum of money deposited into an account.  They did not make normal withdraws like you and I do to pay bills.  They operated just below the level to not call attention to themselves.  But when you look back they all had abnormal patterns.  They didn’t withdraw money on Friday nights to go out to eat.  So in the book, they told about these strange patterns and how banks formed algorithms that could potentially identify a terrorists.   They said these men never took out life insurance policies from the banks because they knew with a suicide the families would probably not be paid.

Fast forward to Think Like a Freak:  A lot of people (rightfully so) were upset that these authors published all these facts that terrorists could read.  They could change their behaviors.  They took a lot of flack. People were mad….Why give terrorist the upper hand?

Haha…the joke was on them…In Think Like a Freak they addressed this issue and all of these angry readers.  Long story short, they did have an algorithm with the banks.  But banks don’t offer life insurance.  So apparently some of these terrorist who heard about the book (who were probably already on the watch list) went and tried to buy life insurance from the bank. Bottom line, banks don’t offer life insurance policies…you get the jist…they fell into the trap. The algorithm was set to look for people to change their behavior in this manner.


Finally, I love Malcolm Gladwell books. They are all good: Tipping Point, Outliers, and Blink.  In Outliers they talk about the abnormally high number of Canadian babies born in January.  Apparently hockey is so serious you have to get in at an early age.  If you are born in January, you are bigger, tougher at 6 and get tracked and often make the career into the big Hockey League.  If you unfortunately are born in December, you don’t have a chance.  You are behind (by mere weeks or months) and never get the attention that these January/February kids receive.  From the years 5-6 it is a 20% more growth.   


Bottom line, think outside the box, read outside the box.  These books are so interesting!





No comments: