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Freak Thinking’s Childish Simplicity





The Observer published excerpts from the Freakonomics authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s new book ‘Think Like a Freak’ this week which includes the recommendations to be ‘unembarrassed by how much you don’t know’ and to ‘think like a child’. 


The book includes classic quotes from Einstein (‘everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler’) and playwright George Bernard Shaw (‘few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week’) to validate their stance, as well as other key consideration.


“If there is one mantra a freak lives by, it is this: people respond to incentives,” they suggest.


“Understanding the incentives of all the players in a given scenario is a fundamental step in solving any problem.” ( )


Understanding the incentives of a mystery tramp who told cops he was Beethoven when he was arrested in Baden in 1820, was central to resolving the situation, according to musical history portal Music-web.


Describing how the ‘tramp’ was arrested after concerned locals in the Austrian spa town spotted him staring suspiciously into houses, Music-Web recounted how cops took further action by calling their boss after their suspect continually demanded to be released from the cells because he was the famous composer.


“Mr. Commissioner, we have arrested somebody who gives us no peace,” the police reportedly told their chief.


He keeps on yelling that he is Beethoven; but he’s a ragamuffin, has an old coat and no hat . . .  nothing to identify him by.” ( )


After continuing to be being locked up for several more hours, Beethoven was subsequently released when the police commissioner took Herzog, the musical director of Wiener Neustadt, to the police station who confirmed his true identity.
















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