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Why you need to buy the 'Think Like a Freak' book by July Fourth

Add "Think Like a Freak" to your July Fourth must-have book list.
Add "Think Like a Freak" to your July Fourth must-have book list.
Courtesy of Harper Collins and William Morrow publishing

Admittedly, thinking like a freak sounds like the last thing any sane or normal person would want to do. But after seeing the New York Times rank "Think Like a Freak" as number five on their hardcover nonfiction bestseller list on July 1, it becomes imperative to learn why this book is such a hit. And thank goodness this Examiner made the effort, as the William Morrow book was undeniably a fun read, and highly informative. And it is out just in time for the best book-reading vacation time of the year: July Fourth.

Laura Shin over at Forbes agrees, recently writing that there are "6 surprising ways thinking like a freak can help you succeed," if you need a boost. But there's likely a lot more than six ways listed in this third book by authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Or at least this Examiner has found more than that.

Shin points out the obvious ways (be willing to say you don't know, ignore boundaries, think like a child, incentivize people but don't manipulate them, get your garden to weed itself, and when facing a tough decision just flip a coin). These are all basic foundational mindsets promoted in the book, which are explained more in-depth in the text, so you can know what Levitt and Dubner mean about "getting your garden to weed itself," since they aren't talking about the lawn.

But wait, there is a whole gold mine full of great ideas expressed within the 211 pages of this brainchild book. So don't limit yourself by the six Shin points out; learn them all.

With July Fourth just around the corner, who wouldn't like to know how to win big bucks from entering and winning a top hot dog eating contest simply by thinking like a freak? That secret's in the book (just turn to page 52).

And if you are looking to solve any kind of problem while on your vacation, these guys have some great advice for you:

Before spending all your time and resources [attacking what you think is the problem], it's important to properly define the problem." After all, the problem may not be what you think it is, the book's authors say. And that would have you spinning your wheels to find an answer to a problem that isn't even the root cause of your problem.

Another reason you need this book before you take a trip this July Fourth is so you will learn how to have more fun, think smaller and not fear the obvious. But how do these two adult men teach you to do that, you may be asking? By and large they do it with stories or parables, painting you word pictures that any child can read, but which really hit home with adults, like the magician story (page 101).

Once you read the story they share you can't help but do a mental head slap, groaning at the obvious solution to your problem, which was staring you in the face the whole time. Or you reflect on how much like Sherlock Holmes these two guys are, seeing what everyone else sees, but seeing more than everyone else, and in a different way. When all the while, we all could see what they do, if we would just think more like a child, forgetting our grown up world of cues and dos.

Intrigued? Check out the Freakonomics Radio podcast every Thursday and see what those who have already read Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner's "Think Like a Freak" book have to say. It's a book club with a twist, and you will enjoy every minute of it.