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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.
Steven D. Levitt, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, was awarded the John Bates Clark medal, given to the most influential American economist under forty. He is also a founder of The Greatest Good, which applies Freakonomics-style thinking to business and philanthropy.
Stephen J. Dubner is an award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality. He quit his first career—as an almost-rock-star—to become a writer. He has since taught English at Columbia, worked for The New York Times and published three non-Freakonomics books.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-04-06
- Reviewer: Staff
As coauthors Levitt and Dubner explain at the start of this delightful collection, a decade ago, concurrent with the publication of their book Freakonomics, they decided to start a blog with the same name. Eight thousand posts later, they're still writing, even though the blog generates no income and probably cannibalizes sales from their books. For the site's anniversary, they've finally bowed to reader demands to turn it into a book. The result is this energetic, charming assortment of posts, thematically arranged, on topics as varied as terrorism, restoration of the draft, getting rid of the penny, car-seat safety, obesity, the U.S. crackdown on Internet poker, steroid use in the Tour de France, the D.C. gun ban, and "No Gas Day." Lively, self-deprecating writing ensures an entertaining read for fans and new readers alike. It seems likely to prove the authors right in their gamble that even content available for free can be a viable product, especially with such a large, devoted fanbase. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME. (May)