The authors of Feakonomics and SuperFreakonomics have come out with another book to possibly retrain your brain. Their stories and analysis can help you think a bit more productively, more creatively, and more rationally. Another entertaining book from Levitt and Dubner!
If you have an opinion that something is right or wrong, your moral compass will prevent you from seeing the situation any differently. If you already have decided what you are going to do about a problem, you are no longer open to seeing the problem clearly.
Be willing to say, "I don't know." Hardest three words for people to say, but it is important to discard the previous protocols if you do not know whether they are truly providing what you can understand for an answer. A multinational company ran ads every Sunday and still does, even though an intern in Pittsburgh forgot to run the ads one summer and there was NO CHANGE in sales. However no executives are willing to NOT put the ads out every Sunday because the belief is that they work, even though they do not. Until you can admit that you do not know, you cannot learn what you need to know.
Have the courage to ignore limits. They use the example of someone who breaks hot dog eating contest records. Instead of asking how do I eat more hot dogs, Kobi asked how he could eat hot dogs more easily. (Take the dog out of the bun and break each into parts...makes them faster to eat.) Financials, time, resources, expectations, social acceptability are limits often imposed that might not be actual limits, but perceived ones.
Think small and think like a child. Ask stupid questions. Kids are curious and relatively unbiased. They don't rule out possibilities that are unsophisticated or seem unlikely.
Incentivize people, but do not manipulate them. Smile Train ran a "once and done" campaign that was successful beyond wildest predictions. Find the root of the problem because attacking the symptoms rarely fixes the underlying issue. Zappos offered $2,000 for people to quit their positions after their initial training. Employees who opted for the money were not interested in Zappo more than the money, so it would weed out those who were not going to be employees that were the right fit. Sometimes we hold onto employees longer than we should! Waste of time and resources and often create a negative atmosphere at work. Bite the bullet!
When facing a tough decision, flip a coin. Learn to appreciate the upside of quitting. You cannot solve tomorrow's problem if you aren't willing to abandon today's dud.
Free yourself from preconceived answers and look at possibilities with an open mind is the message. There are repeated examples from previous work and less emphasis on the economics as before. However, it does answer the question as to why that email about the Nigerian government having a great deal for you financially is still making the rounds in and out of our email. Worth the read for that alone!