Stuff You Should Know: Living a Life of Crime


Whoever said crime doesn’t pay clearly never stole some shit and got away with it. Sometimes, crime totally pays. And if you break it down into dollars earned per hour, it’s usually not minimum wage money. Great work if you can find it, for sure, but finding the work and being good at it are two completely different things. You can’t just go to school for that kind of stuff. So where does a budding criminal turn to pick up the finer points of criminal activity? Christopher Lee Barish’s new book would be a good place to start.

book of bad

The aptly titled The Book of Bad: Stuff You Should Know Unless You’re a Pussy reads like a textbook full of lessons on all the immoral shit you’ve always wanted but never quite knew how to do. It covers everything from producing porn to acquiring a harem to embellishing a resumé. Not to mention a whole bunch of tips and pointers for becoming the felon you’ve always wanted to be (and getting away with it).

Here’s some stuff you should know about living a life of crime, as told by The Book of Bad.

1. Create an Alias

aliasAnyone who’s ever seen a crime movie (or listened to a Wu-Tang album) knows that using your real name is for suckers. But it’s not like you can just up and decide that people should call you “Bumpy Knuckles” from now on, right? Actually, yeah, you can. It’s called the “usage method” and it works pretty much how it sounds. Just pick a new name and start using it.

Granted, there’s more slightly more to it than that, but not much. In most states, the usage method is considered a legal means of changing your name. Legal as in good enough to get yourself a new drivers license, social security card and even a passport. After that, say hello to your new life, Hugh Jass!

2. Steal Stuff

thiefNow that you’ve got a sexy new criminal alias, there will likely be some temptation to just go out and start planning all sorts of complex cons and heists. Bad idea, just because you’ve got the name doesn’t mean you’ve got the steely nerves that are a trademark of all good criminals. Instead, maybe get your sea legs under you by starting small. Shoplifting is always a relatively safe bet. Even if you get caught, you’re not likely to get any serious time, at least not for a first offense anyway.

Barish lays out a few different shoplifting methods of varying complexity in his book. Our favorite is the simplest…just wait until nobody is looking, grab some stuff and flee the scene. It’s hard to top a classic like that.

3. Make Some Cash

cashAs fun and rewarding as boosting iPods from your local mom and pop electronics store may be, there comes a time when all you really want to do is shop like a normal person. But shopping like a normal person means you’ll probably have to get a real job and make real money like a normal person. Screw that noise. Instead, cut out the middleman that is gainful employment and cut straight to the part where you make some money. Like, literally make money. There was a time when making your own counterfeit currency required huge printing presses and elaborate tools. Those days are gone. Nowadays you can pull it off with a few readily available chemicals and a scanner/printer. It’s called the “Washing Washington” method and it’s a lot easier than the Federal Reserve hopes you realize. There are a few too many steps to list here, but it’s in the book.

If you’re pressed for time, you can always cut some corners. We mean that literally. One of the most common forms of counterfeiting is cutting the corners off of higher denomination bills and pasting them over the corners of $1 bills. Will it look like an actual $20 bill when you’re done? Not really. But is the ADD addled teen with sparkly vampires on the brain going to notice that the wrong President is on the front of the bill? Not likely.

4. Rob a Bank

heatWhipping up a batch of counterfeit cash is definitely a low stress way to get paid, but it’s sort of labor intensive, especially if you’re looking for a LOT of cash. In that case, robbing a bank might be your best and most insanely badass bet. If you’re a pro, set up an inside job. If befriending bank employees in the hopes that they’ll help you pull off a heist isn’t your bag, opt for the walk up job. Being that you’ve undoubtedly seen several big budget Hollywood films about the subject, you probably think you already know how to do it. But life isn’t like the movies. They normally leave out the mundane details that will probably lead to disaster should you ignore them. Along with unsettlingly detailed instructions for pulling off either method of bank robbery, Barish also points out some little things that you’re almost guaranteed not to think about ahead of time. For example:

  • Avoid drinking coffee or soda on the day of the job. You need calm nerves. Caffeine is not conducive to that at all.
  • If you must shoot your way out, never aim above the waist. Doing so will turn your assault charge into an attempted murder charge.
  • Don’t take any bags offered by the bank. They’re rigged.
  • Don’t hang around afterwards to say goodbye to your family and friends. Get the hell out of town (or the country) stat.

5. Hot-Wire a Car

hotwireUh-oh! Your getaway driver had a nervous breakdown and fled the scene of your robbery without you. Calling a cab or catching the bus is not advised, for obvious reasons. But you don’t just want to fucking walk home with a bag full of cash. If you managed to get away far enough on foot to find an unattended vehicle, hot-wire that shit. Again, don’t rely on your movie smarts and just start digging around underneath the steering column looking for wires and such. That’s a great way to get electrocuted and likely won’t work.

Actually, the real method of hot-wiring a car is a great way to get electrocuted also being that it involves going under the hood and attaching wires to the battery and solenoid switch. But at least it stands somewhat of a chance of working.

6. Evade Surveillance

surveillanceHey, look at that! You actually got away with it! At this point, it would be in your best interest to ensure that you continue to get away with it. If Google and Facebook have taught us anything, it’s that you can’t take a shit in the woods these days without someone knowing about it. If you’re involved in nefarious criminal activity, rest assured, at some point you will be under surveillance. Be on the lookout for unfamiliar cars loitering around your neighborhood. If you spot someone taking pictures of you, it’s not because they admire your bone structure. They suspect you’re up to no good. But the operative word there is suspect. If they could prove it, they wouldn’t be watching you, they’d be arresting you.

Keep the looky-loos at bay by keeping a tight schedule and don’t vary from it. Get up at the same time, brush your teeth at the same time and drive yourself to the office at the same time every day. What’s that? Criminals don’t have offices? Even better. Drive to one each day, park your car, go inside and then leave through a back entrance. Leave the car you drove there in where it is. Come back eight or so hours later, exit through the same door you came in and get in your car and go home. Now, it looks like going to work for eight hours a day is just part of your routine. Use those eight hours to do your dirt.

Oh, and check all your shit for recording or tracking devices. You’ll almost certainly find some.

7. Beat a Polygraph Test

polygraphYour crafty surveillance evasion techniques have the Feds at their wits end. They’ve decided to bring you in and try to elicit a confession from you. Being the smooth criminal that you are, you happily agree to take a polygraph test. Why? Because you know you can beat it. Those things don’t work by magic, they just track variations in your physiological response to certain questions. Some questions are designed to trip you up, but you can trick the machine by altering your breathing or clenching your sphincter during certain questions. The old movie standby is to have a tack under your big toe and pressing down on it during the “control” questions. But people who administer polygraph tests have seen those movies too. They’ll likely ask you to remove your shoes. So have a backup plan going in and most importantly STAY CALM. With a little practice and forehand knowledge of what you’re in for, they’re polygraph scheme will backfire when the machine clears you of any wrongdoing.

8. Escape from Prison

prisonOr, maybe it won’t and you’ll end up in prison. A buzz kill for sure, but nothing you can’t overcome. Prisons wouldn’t have guard towers and warning sirens if people didn’t sometimes get out. There are a lot of tricks you can employ to pull it off, but the easiest and most reliable is to get in good with a guard. Use your chiseled abs and overwhelming charisma to seduce a guard if you can. A lady guard, ideally, but don’t hesitate to identify the closet homosexual in the bunch either. If you’re lacking in the art of seduction, try to provide them some sort of good or service to gain their trust. It may take awhile, but if they dig you enough, there’s an excellent chance they’ll help you formulate an escape plan at some point. If not, you can always get physical. Identify any and all chinks in the prison armor. Slowly and methodically work on exploiting them to dig that proverbial tunnel to freedom.

9. Assume a New Identity

catchYou’re out! Great job! But now what? That alias you created back when you kicked off your career in criminality isn’t much good to you now. It’s the name you committed all your crimes under and, even less awesomely, it’s almost certainly tied to your real identity in some way. This would be a good time to assume someone’s identity. That old reliable method of taking on the life of someone who was born the same year you were and died shortly thereafter still works in some states. Once you identify your mark, forge a new birth certificate (helpful hint: you can use tea to make it look appropriately weathered and aged) and use it to get a new set of documents for yourself.

10. Find a New Career

goodfellasNow that you’ve gotten away and become someone else, this might be a good time to find a legit line of work. Ha! Just joking, take up a career in smuggling or join the mafia instead. Yep, Barish has advice for how to do both of those things also.

Interested in learning more—way more—about taking up a life of crime (and scoring free food, counting cards at blackjack, cheating at poker, siphoning gas and countless other awesome if not completely moral activites)? Check out more information about The Book of Bad: Stuff You Should Know Unless You’re a Pussy, including where to buy it, by clicking here.