Stephen Dubner

Stephen Dubner, co-author of best selling book Freakonomics, has addressed students from the London School of Economics about his latest book, When To Rob A Bank, in London.

Speaking to assembled students, he said bank robbers in the UK go home with only $15,000 on average, and get caught after only three robberies. It is therefore a very poor career choice from a risk/reward perspective, he said.

And while most bank robberies occur in the afternoon, they are statistically more likely to be successful if conducted in the morning, Dubner added.

His latest work was inspired by a woman from Iowa who worked for her fathers bank, where she embezzled $2m before a mental breakdown forced her to confess her crime. After serving her prison sentence she advised the FBI on how to catch bank robbers.

The overriding theme of the lecture was have the courage to follow your dreams. Dubner advised anyone who isnt happy in their job to quit. He said Freakonomics Radio sponsors a fourth tier Sunday-league football club in the UK, DunCow, for £1000 per year, simply because a fifteen years old boy had the gumption to ask. “I had to admire a boy who found me so randomly and was bold enough to give it a shot,” he said. “If you want to accomplish something, give it a shot.”

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But Dubner admitted he does not think Freakonomics had changed the world, adding it was never intended to. “Many times the research we do, such as proving that a persons name has absolutely no impact on how well they do in life, is simply ignored by people,” he said. But, he added, “one way Freakonomics has changed the world is that it’s paved the way for other books like it and encouraged more people into economics.”

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