Codes of the Underworld


How do criminals (notoriously an untrustworthy population) convince other criminals to trust them?

Why do real-life criminals adopt language and symbols from gangster movies?

Why is violence more common in prisons with a high inmate turnover?

Absolutely fascinating throughout, and relevant even for those not considering a career switch to the underworld. One key theme: expanding the idea of communication beyond language to include actions, particularly “honest signals,” that is, actions which are relatively cheap for an honest communicator to send and expensive for a dishonest communicator.

Highly recommended: Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate, by Diego Gambetta