Book Review: Think Like a Freak


"The modern world demands that we all think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally; that we think from a different angle, with a different set of muscles, with a different set of expectations; that we think with neither fear nor favor, with neither blind optimism nor sour skepticism. That we think like—ahem—a Freak."

Think Like a Freak is the 2014 book from Freakonomics bloggers and podcasters Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. This time around, they focus on capitalizing on their previous works and showing us all how to think a little differently.

I'm a big fan of the Freakonomics podcast, and I wanted to check out some of their writing so this recent work seemed like a great placed to jump in. I appreciated the idea of taking their perspective into action, since a lot of articles and books will simple present a viewpoint and then not give examples of how to put it into action, so I'm glad they took it the next step here.

Topics in the book include incentives, problem solving, metrics, and knowing when to step back when you don't know something. The authors showcase very different perspectives on conventional wisdom, which I think we can all use more of in our lives.

"Solving a problem is hard enough; it gets that much harder if you’ve decided beforehand it can’t be done."

The advice I gleamed after reading the book is be more curious, be less stubborn, and measure success. All of these can be easier said than done but it is crucial to simplifying our complicated world to do our best to do our best to live these values. We can't assume success, assume we know all the answers, and stop asking questions. We'll become stagnant in a world that will quickly leave us behind.

"...the stakes get higher when we routinely pretend to know more than we do."

I encourage you to check out all of the Freakonomics stuff out there. It is great stuff to get outside of the normal framework of how we look at our world. I know you'll get some valuable advice from their work.

Thanks for stopping by!

Book Review: The Good Creative


"Be bold and brave with your art. Venture courageously with it into the unknown." - Paul Jarvis

I discovered this book through a promotional effort by the author, Paul Jarvis, for his recently launched podcast, Invisible Office Hours that he does with fellow cool person Jason SurfrApp (AKA Jason Sadler). He was giving away digital copies of The Good Creative for those that listened to the podcast and gave honest reviews, good or bad. I was intrigued by the podcast through recommendations of some awesome folks on Twitter so I listened, left my (positive) review, and got the book to check out. I got to it after I finished some other reading projects, and I blew through it in a day. I say that as a good thing.

The book, which reads more like a collection of blog posts than a dense tome, is a straightforward, concise collection of 18 tips from Jarvis about how to find personal satisfaction with the content you create. Your definition of success and whatever you make is up to you. He just helps you get there.

The book came out recently in April, and one in a series of other books by Jarvis about working freelance and creating a life as a "good creative". I found this one to be very applicable to my work running this blog (and where I hope it will eventually go). The writing is authentic, light, engaging, and actionable. Some of my favorite tips were about not feeling like you're "selling out" if you get sponsors or get paid to do your work as well as his advice about being authentic and telling your story. Something cool and unique about the book too, there are some really neat illustrations in the book to go along with all the tips.

I highly recommend this book! You can get it as a digital copy, a physical book, or an audiobook all on Paul's website.

If you read it, let me know what you think!

Thanks for stopping by!