Dubner and Levitt answer reader questions in this first installment of the “Think Like a Freak” Book Club.
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I was interesting as much as you wine and complain on this package, but how much you hate the bookstore actually worked out beautifully. Didn't you tell me how beautifully worked out so everywhere we win. People were agenda with me. They gave him presence. Thank you very much for coffee and thank you very much for the year in and out burger gift certificate that I use taken. There were played. bacon. Onstage with us, when we gave talks and poor dominant took the brunt of it. Everybody slapped you are. And let me do my things could have been better like us, you ve. Never! Thank you so much for coming to San Francisco. I know you don't like to Europe has a great piece of game theory, because you, you have no problem getting out there. You like to talk to people, you say it out now another room. You say you do only like to be married. Now. What would you they would be a highlight of the bookstore or low. Eight could be either anything.
the other day, a stranger old diamonds window, his car and yelled. At me, I love the tipping podcast It's bad! That's whom we gotta retiring strangers are rolling down their window and knowing what we owe that to me. Gotta be careful. from the w and my see. This is for economics, radio, the pine camp that explores the inside of everything. Here's your nose Stephen Governor. Steve Lever and I just got back from a bookstore for Think. Like a freak honestly, it was a blast. Yes long days, plot to travel but come on big auditoriums.
of people willing to sit and listen to what you have to say. Not bad. Most surprising thing was when we were asked the audience how many of them regularly listen to this podcast about ninety the hands when whether we were in York, California, the UK does amazing vote, did make me wonder if we didn't make this podcast. If our book tour would happen a much smaller auditoriums. So thanks for coming out, thanks for listening and thanks for sending in your questions for this first instalment of our think, like a freak, look like we're starting today of chapters one through three chapter, one is: what does it mean to think like a freak chapter, two is called the three hardest words in the english language, also known as I dont know, and how our reluctance to admit what we don't know keeps us from learning in chapter three is called
what's your problem in which we encourage readers to redefine the problem they are trying to solve and remember if your question makes it onto the show, we will send you your choice of an autograph copy of think, like a freak or a limited edition. Think like a freak teacher, so listen So let me, let's start with Andrea, Kate, Prairie from Fargo North Dakota, Andrea rights. You asserted the most portent idea in your new book was the underlying principle that to think like a freak, you must in fact think I heartily agree with you on the importance of thinking and wonder if you have any suggestions on how it seems to me that my brain defaults to auto pilot is there a way to reset my brains default position, let what he said Andrea. I want you to answer that. I think out. O pilot is
indeed the right default for the Moraine, because the word so complicated this too many things to do to try and really think your way around everything. What I would suggest- and we have tried to do it at certain moments when it seems like the marginal benefit of thinking, is high. She should see if she can switch her brain into thinking mode and then kicking the thinking when it really will be tea or advantage, and so, for instance, part of thinking. I think it's just finding the quiet time to do it, and so maybe a place to start would be when you see problems are questions that need think, might use thinking, file them away in your brain, and when you have quiet time, when you doing laundry or you're trying to IRAN, go baby to sleep or something like that, then take those moments to actually Go back and try to engage your brain and did do look the timing and see if anything good comes out. I mean good ideas hard to come by Dublin. I spend a lot of
I'm thinking we're lucky if we have one or two good ideas year. So so I think the expectations shouldn't be too high. Yeah, I would also say to Andrea that it's a great idea. She just work hard to spend time with people that are alive like you, whether it be now vocational, your age, wise or politically, religiously, geographically, whatever, because it's a maid. How simply doing that? Will change or broaden INA give you an angle on a problem that you wouldn't have considered otherwise and that in the morning the way that people can a group around group think unheard mentality. One reason it's hard to come up with a good solution to a problem, because you're just hearing This kind of silos, ECHO chamber of everybody else that you hang out with so few, can seek out people who look at things
really differently from you, whether you're an artist and you don't hang out with data people or politically left and don't talk to people on the right and etc. I think that's a way to get a leg up Levin Michael Carly, who is associate directly institutional research and reporting, something at current community College in Bakersfield California rates? To say this? I work as an educational researcher. How would we in hiring employees for our department find those? the humility to say when they dont know the answer to a question. A lot of time is wasted when employed plodded, along in ignorance, rather than admitting limitations, love it. You have some kind of good trick for employers to screen for that ability,
But the first thing that comes to mind is in the course of the interview. What most people do is make their way, there's a general sense and it came upon the bookstore through times from people said well. If I say I dont know, I will never get the job and your sympathetic to that issue. He I do think that, actually it probably true, if the people who were hurrying you are of the Mai, that you should never ever say I don't know, and they themselves never sat or no than sing out That was not a great idea before you get the job, no idea of the job. You have a little more time leeway to try and change people's views into to show people that you say I don't know, and then you go back to the date. Anything got the answer, and you come back a week later or an hour later or a month later and say. I now know that people will be impressed in and will come to, respect more, but you don't get that second chance don't get the weaker the month if you doing interview, but clearly, if you want to attract people who will say, I don't know
the interview processes are the right way to do it, or even before that in some sort of online application to ask the kinds of questions which will illicit different answers from people who are like recent figures and people who aren't. I mean the example we given the beginning of the chapter on our knows about children and their asked in a so called to study to respond to questions They simply can't answer, given the amount of heavenly unanswerable questions right exactly and so one could agent- asking completely unanswerable question in an interview in seeing how people respond hey. Let me ask you this. what about combining two two ideas. It we ve talked about the past unanswerable questions and the need to say I don't know and kind of this book, the desire to make predictions that any everything. What about that What about asking potential employees to make predictions which you could kill? Two birds
stone, you could see how willing may I do admit they dont know, and you could see how the. feel about this relatively impossible task. Generally of of predicting the future. I think that's a good idea. What's the question you right when you ask them to predict, I would say what what did interviewers gonna have for lunch that day cod is completely stupid and point loudly unanswerable and completely unanswerable, although you say well, you look like a pretty chubby fellow some gonna say: you're gonna have some pasta, but I think it's a dick end of reaction time would have to that question. Is so nonsensical that it's a signal to anyone who has common sense that you can't possibly expect a serious response to it, but I think that it will pick up on other things too, which is just common sense inability to understand how
Many works. If you asked some question about what do you think I revenues will be in the year. Whatever than is actually sounds like you could make predicts? Well, it's an invitation to fake it to, whereas this one is Ray, it's giving you the option to take the highroad now. The other thing in our view is always do out of this works. It are not would be to say so. Could you tell me about a time in year career in which you have been faced with a question to know the answer to an you simply said I dont know, and how did it turn out mean? That would be the more traditional way to do it maybe could do both. coming up on for economics, radio. What is the biggest reason that so many companies operate on gut instinct instead of using the data I would have thought this request started working with them
I never would have imagined that it is an item. And one question that is truly inspiring above me and Levin? you loved lens question. I think this is super. Smart and the interesting and important I think it's great one more thing. If you are not already a subscriber to for economic radio, you should be just sign up for free at Itunes and you'll, get the next episode in your sleep. Thanks to Pennsylvania, lottery, scratch, ass, pennsylvanians or scratching their way to fund, and we new games every month, big top rises and said Enchants drawings excitements, always in order so try Pennsylvania, lottery, scratch, offer your ticket to fund and get yours today. Keep on scratching
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yet I am Gillian Jacobs and I'm Deanna reasonable. We ve got a new podcast called if that worry politically taught to scientists, engineers NASA folks, just a bunch of really smart, curious people about cool stuff Gillian? I think most people know you from your work on love and community and must be no you as forensic scientists, Casey Heinz on Anti, I ass, though he were both actors for what most well, don't know is that we're both really curious. In passionate about stem. If we have a more diverse outlook in how we look at science and engineering and technology and map. Then what This is possible. I get giddy. When I get to speak to these people, get a chance tat back into my curiosity excitement. You know that I have. about all these topics so come on this journey with
as we learn from some of the poorest smartest people in their fields. If then, is out now just search, if slash than to find the show that, if slash then knows, exit: listen in stature, apple, the serious ex em up or wherever you get your PA casts from W and Y see. This is for economics, radio. Here's! Your host Stephen governor Welcome back to this first instalment of the things like a freak book club. Today we are taking your questions about chapters one through three Levitt, Mihail March Anko from Le Next Kansas, I believe, rights to say in your book. You use a metaphor of football player, meaning soccer player, who is faced with a tough decision that can have a lasting impact on his professional career. The
Kick so, incidentally, Levitt you caught World CUP fever, you are hours and hours? Now I did what's that, crazy game. Were HOLLAND beat on yeah, ok, so Micaiah goes on to say you write that humans are motivated by myriad things, chief among which is pride and reputation as you simply yet so elegantly. Thank you very much put it. None of us want to look stupid so this about the difference between acting in your own interest, verses in the public interest. Ashore ended now Mihail ass. Has there ever been a society that strongly believed in the greater good of the community in which punish those who went against the grain and acted to benefit themselves instead so. Let me I have to say my first thought was well. That sounds a little bit like the forms of the union by the sound was Mihail March Anko. This listener probably, is a little bit familiar. Where I mean it's interesting,
then he didn't bring it up. It also brings to mind for me a lot of religious communities, Siena Ultra Orthodox Jews, even in twenty first century America, and a lot of the Anna Baptist communities. Our mission brutal, often and mentally, but love it. I am really cursed enough. You know anything about this societies that and if you know, reward the communal, punish the individual goal. Seeking end they're nuts? I think you're right. I think that was one of the the the premises of it has been. Socialism was dead, put the collective above the individual, but the problem of those systems it's very hard to incentivize individuals when the benefits go to others if you think about it, corporations have a little bit of the same the same flavour than in many corporations. The financial incentives individuals are not that strong, so the difference in the profit that accrues to the company can be fifty times a hundred.
times my own private benefit of the actions taken in its hard to internalize reply mean maybe the ultimate aside, That has managed to succeed in putting the collective above. The individual are things like ants in Termite tried condemning that's exactly what happens in these colonies. It's because the ants don't have enough brain doing different but mean be sting and die because of it, but their programme to to act on behalf of the community. Since you brought us to corporations in corporate behavior, let's here's a related question from someone named Tracy Lumm, who writes Say and by the way, every person. So the minute you hear your name on this programme. That means that you were gonna, get some think like a freak swag. So you should be very happy about that, not just for the pride but for the avarice part of didn't mention Tracy, Lumm rights to say you re there. For the reasons that people ignored data in favour of gut instinct is tradition and resistance to change in an ever changing competitive, mostly capitalist. The common
I'm wondering how and why these types of innovations and individuals survive such really. What you talk now lead to some degree, which is that in companies corporations the boss has different set of incentives? Perhaps then, almost everybody else so tell us about that, in spending a lot of time in corporations consulting with them. Do you see a resistance to data generally and if so, you see it higher or lower down the ladder, and do you think that there is a split between the incentives for the people in the corner office in the people on the ground, so that two great question and I might Jones the premise. The premise of the question- is that these these old organizations that are resistant to data will survive,
or are surviving, but in fact there is surely not thriving, and what I see all the time is the incredible difficulty that companies in really people could companies are made of a people have in adapting to new situations, and it really it's a really amazing. If you look back at what the fifty biggest companies were in the world a hundred years ago, and a very few of them exist, meme people, other people look at this- I haven't looked at it yet, but the companies are very short lifespan. Relative to say, universities, the same universities that were the most every ranked a hundred years ago are still almost without exception. Maybe Stanford has gotten better in the US, but in general, universities, I'll stick around and company stone, and I think it's because these
Universe, environment doesn't change very much, but the corporate environment, what consumers want, what produces make changes a lot and it's hard for companies to keep up. What I really believe, though, is that the the importance of data and the value of data has gotten so much greater in the ability to experiments. The new wave of companies, companies like Amazon that do fragmentation are just gonna devastate the o way of doing things and the world is changing is not just because of data notches because experimentation, but there happens. Be a correlation between the kinds of companies that are new and innovative and their use of data, and it's absolutely transforming the landscape said. That being the case, let me just go back to trace his question. which you didn't quite get to meeting quite answer, which is why are ok,
Let's say: you're one of these non transformative, hyper traditional firms and your presumably not an idiot, and you see that firms it don't adapt will suffer and that part of a day thing is to let go. You know not relying asylum gut instinct that informed by tradition. Why is it so hard for leadership to change? That's really the question the traces asking yeah. I think the hardest thing a thing is: even if you have the desire which you may have to be data, driven that the eggs stinks systems. I never would have thought this before I started working with them. I never would have imagined that it is an. I t problem that simply cannot get the data you want and that the data are held in twenty seven different data sets that have different identified,
to simply say sometimes, when my little consulting from TGV comes in your company will spend something like three, your six person months, working with a company of of trying to just put together a data set to do a basic and now Studying many listeners would think wow. I would think that a big fancy company would be able to do this with the push him a button, but a red really is it's the I t support and the complete city in these big firms blows your mind about how hard it is to do the littlest, simple things
love. It lets end with them. One more question here, I think, is a nice ending, Glenn Hall rates to say I read the chapter about Kobayashi, that's Tucker Kobayashi and how he smashed the hot dog eating record. I noted your comment about how he didn't think about the previous world record of twenty five, or else he may have stopped at twenty, eight or thirty. Instead of making it to fifty, I wouldn't say, would have stopped at twenty to thirty would have he just wouldn't have been able to get so high if you'd, honoured that that barrier of twenty five so Glenn conduced re I've been thinking about this for quite some time. In regard to a person's chronological age in the United States, the retirement age has remained sixty five, in spite of the large increase in life expectancy. Does this set up an artificial barrier relating to a person's productive
if I am well into middle age, yet the idea of an end game at sixty five is never entered my mind. How much of the aging process is fishing, logical. How much is psychological due to culturally induced artificial factors such as the sixty five year old retirement age. I am currently engaged in an experiment trying to quote think myself younger and it seems to be working that took Glenn Hall. Right, so love it. I have to say I love this quit I'm. I love the idea of artificial barriers and ignoring them. I know you you: can it you're? Not so keen on that idea. Yourself? Are you I'm not his keen as you are, but I do loved lens question. I think this is super. Smart and really interesting and important, I think it's great and and its problem it's true I mean NAM He says is true that we set up these retirement ages decades ago, when people were much less healthy and lived
order and dumb, I don't know. I do think that it's easy when you're an adult to discuss cod and have the feeling, old and given afraid of everything's. I think a lot of things are under the control of people. Use it all the time. The thing that his question makes me think is that yet as you mentioned, longevity has increased so much. I think in the twentieth century life expectancy in the U S at birth doubled, which is just an astute, I mean betel, never happen again. I think it's safe to say that on average, again so to me, one of the really interesting the good can I interrupt you another. The thing it's not longevity, it's it's the state of your body at the time of year. Sixty five, I think we ve had at least is big of improvements in it. When you are sixty five in the old days and you had worked in some kind of horrible factory twelve hours a day, you are, lately broken, but now I think people at sixty five hours are a grave and a much
smaller share. The populations do in work that so physically. how exactly what unites us is to Carmody Emmy working, the farmer and who had died. I key I mean it was incredibly brutal work as you having grown up on a farm. So it's it's a into as much the increasing longevity as the state of the body and the quality of life. You can have a sixty five, but it's a different question of whether it is fine to stop working and to then do a hundred other things that you couldn't do when you work. That's that's me out of that either of us are saying. No retirement is bad. I think it's. What glinting, which is true, is that there's no reason that, if you'd love what you do on your work, that you couldn t do it my dad's, almost eighty and he still a practising doktor because he loves it needs not true what he do otherwise, and I think that's exactly the right attitude. My dad still runs three to five miles.
and his acts like he's young, and he is young if he seemed young doktor. I think Glenn get both a book and and assigned teacher who remember. We do. For em. For that kind of interpretation. I wouldn't give a grey answer. I mean you think, he's his questions better living into a gift, Ok, let it we they'll send Glenn a teacher and assign copy of think like a freak. Lazo send something too
Tracy Michael Mihail and Andrea, so keep an eye on your mailboxes people, and we will keep an eye on ours as well drop us align at radio at free economics, dot com, with your questions for the think, like a freak book club of next will be chapters bore through six. Those are like a bad die job. The truth is in the roots. Think, like a child and like giving candy to a baby original title, was it's the incentives stupid, send some questions and you'll hear that episode in two weeks and next week you will hear directly from Tuck Heru Kobayashi the hot dog eating champion, and you will learn more than you ever thought. You want to know about the sport of competitive, to integrate the court said that they took me to outer space and ass an alien sage. Given the man to stomachs
taking muscle, relax, sir, your doping. Did you take muscle reactors and her whole? Do you have to stomachs now who brought about Some limits are real and others are just in our mind. Fifty hot dogs and twelve minutes no problem its neck. Time and for economic, three reaganomics radio is produced by W and my c and d nor productions. Our staff includes David Herman, Gregg, resolves ski credit cards Hurray, Lamb, Susie, Luxembourg and Chris, spanning, if you are more for nah mix radio. You can subscribe to our Pont cast on Itunes or go to reaganomics dot com, real fine lots of radio, a blog, the books and more
Transcript generated on 2021-03-13.