THINK LIKE A FREAK

Today’s lecture atmosphere was a relaxed one, while our colleague Andrija talked about his impressions after reading the book ” Think like a freak” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.

This world-famous book shows how people generally deal with preconceived notions and prejudices. The book consists of various witty and interesting stories and Andrija’s favorite is the one about the final match in the World Cup. Here’s how the story goes:

It’s the final moments of the final match in FIFA World Cup. The match has come down to penalty kicks and the best players need to kick, and to kick well. The corners are always a good choice since the keeper is in agony while guessing which side you will kick, but the disadvantage is that you could go wide and miss the goal. Of course, you have another dilemma – which corner to kick to, left or right.

Boring statistics indicate that 57% of the time the keeper jumps to the left side in an attempt to catch the ball, as most of the players shoot with the right foot, which is considered stronger. To the right side, keeper jumps a 41% of the time. By using simple addition, one can see that 57% + 41% = 98%, which further implies how does keeper act in the remaining 2% of the time. The answer is also very simple – He stays in the center.

This means that shooting toward  the center would most likely be succesful. With this calculation, it is surprising that there are no more successful penalty kickes. It’s so simple – you shoot the center and gooooal. What’s the problem you’re probably wondering?

Well, besides the fact that a kick to the center is not exciting it is also stigmatized as unsportsmanlikely.  Some footballfans consider this kind of kicking not too spectacular, while others even go a step further by calling it a not fair play.

In addition, we can not exclude the chance that the keeper stays in the center and catch the ball, which will additionally undermine the reputation of a shooting player.

 At the end of this story, the authors conclude that being right is often meant to be unpopular and leave readers with the question: “Would you rather be an unpopular winner or a favorite loser?”

What would you choose guys?