When to Rob a Bank: ...And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants
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In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the landmark book Freakonomics comes this curated collection from the most readable economics blog in the universe. It’s the perfect solution for the millions of readers who love all things Freakonomics. Surprising and erudite, eloquent and witty, When to Rob a Bank demonstrates the brilliance that has made the Freakonomics guys an international sensation, with more than 7 million books sold in 40 languages, and 150 million downloads of their Freakonomics Radio podcast.
When Freakonomics was first published, the authors started a blog—and they’ve kept it up. The writing is more casual, more personal, even more outlandish than in their books. In When to Rob a Bank, they ask a host of typically off-center questions: Why don’t flight attendants get tipped? If you were a terrorist, how would you attack? And why does KFC always run out of fried chicken?
Over the past decade, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have published more than 8,000 blog posts on Freakonomics.com. Many of them, they freely admit, were rubbish. But now they’ve gone through and picked the best of the best. You’ll discover what people lie about, and why; the best way to cut gun deaths; why it might be time for a sex tax; and, yes, when to rob a bank. (Short answer: never; the ROI is terrible.) You’ll also learn a great deal about Levitt and Dubner’s own quirks and passions, from gambling and golf to backgammon and the abolition of the penny.
found that two chains, Costco and Sam’s Club, sold generics at prices far, far below the other chains. Even once you factor in the cost of buying a membership at Costco and Sam’s Club, the price differences were astounding. (Nor, apparently, do you need to be a member of either store to use their pharmacy, although membership does bring a further discount.) Here are the prices Wolf found at Houston stores for ninety tablets of generic Prozac: Walgreens: $117 Eckerd: $115 CVS: $115 Sam’s Club:
He was gone just long enough for a third dealership to e-mail me a price quote. This one was $1,500 lower than the current best offer from the dealership where I was sitting. He came back and said the best he could do would be to go $200 lower. I said, “That’s not going to work because another dealer just offered to beat that price by over $1,000.” I handed over my phone to show him the e-mail. He disparaged the other dealership for a while, and then he went and found the boss. The boss assured
attacks at once, and then following them up with more shortly thereafter. Third, unless terrorists always insist on suicide missions (which I can’t imagine they would), it would be optimal to hatch a plan in which your terrorists aren’t killed or caught in the act, if possible. Fourth, I think it makes sense to try to stop commerce, since a commerce breakdown gives people more free time to think about how scared they are. Fifth, if you really want to impose pain on the U.S., the act has to be
326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 What Do Blogs and Bottled Water Have in Common? �iStock.com/MrPlumo Ten years ago, as we were about to publish a book called Freakonomics, we decided to start a companion website. It was called, unimaginatively, Freakonomics.com. The site
“Zelinsky . . . has proposed”: See Aaron Zelinsky, “Put More Muscle in Baseball Drug Tests,” The Hartford Courant, December 18, 2007. 153 “HOW NOT TO CHEAT”: “within a few days, they were discovered”: See adanthar, “Beat: Absolute is *actually* rigged (serious) (read me),” September 15, 2007, twoplustwo.com. 155 “THE ABSOLUTE POKER CHEATING SCANDAL . . .”: “The Washington Post has followed up”: See Gilbert M. Gaul, “Cheating Scandals Raise New Questions About Honesty, Security of Internet