Monday, March 28, 2016

Some of the best ideas in history - nearly all of them, in fact - sounded crazy at first

When to Rob a Bank...and 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intentioned Rants. Collection of blog posts that haha, you could have just read for free. Sucker!

It was fine. It was entertaining, as Freakonomics tends to be. They were upfront about the fact that you totally could have just read the blog posts for free on their site, so at least I didn't feel blindsided by that. They felt a little bad for it but justified by it by comparing it to bottled water.
So in the tradition of Poland Spring, Evian, and other hydro-geniuses, we've decided to bottle something that was freely available and charge you money for it.
They do point out they curated which posts they included to pick the best ones, arranged them in an order that made sense and did some editing. So not exactly what's on the blog. And honestly, while I listen to the podcast, I don't really read the blog so a good amount of the stuff here was new to me.

Some of the ideas are clever or at least interesting. There's a post titled "Planned Parenthood Gets Freaky"talks about a Philly Planned Parenthood strategy called "Pledge-a-Picket". This PP got a lot of protesters so the idea was people would pledge a certain amount per protester (minimum ten cents) that showed up. The PP would count and record the number and place a sign in full view of the protesters that let them know exactly how them showing up is benefitting the Planned Parenthood.

There's another post about using a different bus stop than normal, which in and of itself doesn't sound that interesting, but it does have the line
Having just gotten off the subway, the Point A passengers are already broken in spirit and can't muster the energy to improve their commute
which quite accurately describes public transportation commuting. I understand why those people don't want to walk another block over.

Because these are just blog posts, each chapter is short (which is how they can shove 131 of them in here) which can be a good thing if you just want to jump in and read a couple quickly. But I also found myself wishing they'd take some of these blog posts and expand them into longer chapters. I would really want them to dig into a topic when all of a sudden, the post is done and we're onto a different topic.

Gif rating:
Title quote from page 5

Dubner, Stephen and Steven Levitt. When to Rob a Bank...and 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intentioned Rants. William Morrow, 2015.