Sunday, June 14, 2015

When to Rob a Bank - The Freakopedia - Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

... and 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants from the Freakonomics Guys. 
As co-authors Levitt and Dubner explain at the start of this brilliant collection, that, a decade ago, and in concurrency with their publication of the ground breaking Freakonomics, they decided to start a blog with the same name.   It was a baby that grew and demanded feeding, and was nourished by new and wacky ideas.  A source of experimental conversations.  Wisdom, they argue, is on line like water.  Free, when you take it for granted and costly when you want it and pay to owning it.  Still it live, this web site.  This blog of Freakery.  And 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 had arms twisted and released a collected works The result is a hearty, enthusiastic, but random collection of posts, arranged around topics as varied as the benefits of terrorism, restoration of the draft (stupid concept), getting rid of pennies, that ogre 'obesity',  Internet poker, steroid use in the Tour de France (a major target that one), the pathetic D.C. gun ban efforts, and other things all from a distorted but quite plausible economic stand point.  i.e if there's money in it, then it could fly.  There's an assurance of an entertaining read for fans and newbies. 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 fan base. Oddly when checking their web site, the book doesn't feature high in the promo lists.  Still it's a marvel, and that's the long and short of it. 

Steven D. Levitt is an economist. Stephen J. Dubner is a writer. In 2005, they co-authored Freakonomics, a book about cheating teachers, bizarre baby names, and crack-selling mama’s boys. They figured it would sell about 80 copies. Instead, it has sold 5.5 million, in roughly 40 languages. In 2009, they followed up with SuperFreakonomics, with stories about drunk walking, the economics of prostitution, and how to stop global warming. (To date, SuperFreakonomics has sold 1.5 million copies.) In 2014, Dubner and Levitt published Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain, which made its debut at No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list. Their latest book, to be published in May 2015, is When to Rob a Bank: …And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants. It is a compilation of “greatest hits” from 10 years of blogging at Along the way, a lot of other stuff has happened too. An award-winning blog. A movie. Lectures. And a No. 1-ranked podcast, with more than 5 million monthly downloads. This is the place where all that stuff continues to happen. Welcome to

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