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How to think like a 'freak'

Daily Ticker

Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, the team behind the popular "Freakonomics" series, want to change how you think. Dubner, the journalist, and Levitt, the economist, make several persuasive arguments for doing so in their new book Think Like a Freak.

"There are a lot of ways to approach problem solving better," says Dubner in the video above. "We're trying to get rid of your preconceptions, which is very hard to do."

First and foremost, what does it mean to think like a "freak?" Dubner and Levitt describe it this way: relying on data, rather than hunch or ideology, to arrive at a conclusion. Biases -- whether they're political, intellectual or economic -- are pushed aside. "Freaks" also eschew the status quo, choosing to run against the herd rather than with it. Adults can even look to their children for guidance.

"Children have a great curiosity about the world," says Dubner. They're "not afraid to share their wildest ideas" and "kids are relatively unbiased...they think small and don't fear the obvious."

But there are downsides to thinking like a freak, notes Levitt.

"You can make some enemies...we have been thrown out of meetings," he admitted, referring to a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron a few years ago (we'll have more about the exchange Thursday).

Levitt and Dubner assert that the ultimate goal of thinking like a freak is to figure out the truth -- using data and new information -- and not worry about the repercussions.

What are the "three hardest words" to say in the English language, according to Dubner and Levitt? Watch the video to find out!

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