When to Rob a Bank
by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
William Morrow, 2015

Levitt and Dubner should be familiar to you, at least in passing, as the authors of Freakonomics. They have had a few followup books and this is technically one of them, but it is a special case, as it is comprised entirely of posts from their on-line economics blog.

This is a fairly pleasing book, but has no unified theme, most 'posts' are nothing too special, and it is rather dated. Perhaps the most accurate review that I can give it is to simply note that I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed it over the course of two years of light and intermittent browsing. It was, in essence, a bit of blog that I could read off-line.

The authors do not tend to write hefty blog posts, simply mentioning interesting thoughts and summarizing, briefly, interesting research they have come across. Unfortunately, they also are overly interested in their own adventures in making predictions; while it is interesting that they mentioned in passing a prediction that if Obama ran for the office of president he would win, in retrospect it is not interesting enough to read the whole blog post. The results of horse races and political surveys from six years ago were okay blog posts six years ago. Not so much any more.

That said, there are some interesting facts, including the titular data on robbing banks, and I don't feel that my time was wasted. Regardless, I would recommend just sticking with the actual blog, and not bothering with the book.


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