Friday, October 9, 2015

Not so freaky thoughts from Stephen Dubner

Dan Schawbel (contributor to Forbes Magazine) recently spoke to Stephen Dubner, co-author of both Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics. Freakonomics is one of The New York Times bestsellers and has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide, in more than 35 languages. In his interview, Dubner talks about ways that entrepreneurs can make better business decisions, habits they need to break, and why pursuing your passion is so important. The following is a summation:
  1. Say “I don’t know” more often. Too many people in business – act like they know everything. Get rid of your ego and open yourself up to learning something new. 
  2. “Once you know what you don’t know, you can start gathering feedback.” Run experiments to discover and investigate what you don’t know. These don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Real randomized experimentation is one of the most basic, useful tools in solving problems. 
  3. Spend time thinking. Really thinking. You may believe you already spend a lot of time thinking, but, in fact, many of our ideas are just rehashed thoughts given to us. 
  4. Question conventional wisdom and figure out what your own biases are. “Even the smartest people among us have strong biases—in fact, the very smartest people are likely to be even more biased. That’s not a crime, but when you’re trying to solve a problem, you need to figure out where your biases lie and how to work around them.” 
  5. Don’t be afraid to quit. “Don’t fall for the 'sunk-cost' fallacy: once you’ve put a lot of time, money, energy, etc., into a project, it may seem counterproductive to stop. But that’s not necessarily the case. Instead, consider the opportunity cost: every hour, dollar, or brain cell that you’re putting into Project A is one less that you could be putting into Project B...Failing fast and failing well is greatly undervalued.” 
  6. Find something you love more than anything—and especially a pursuit that other people aren’t doing—you will run circles around the competition. Why? Because if you truly love what you’re doing, you’ll be thinking about it when you go to sleep, you’ll wake up with a head full of ideas, and you’ll be eager to experiment and fail and start over again until you solve the riddle. 

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