Would You Risk The Box of Death


You are invited into a room. There are 10,000 boxes. One of them will kill you, the others contain $1,000. How many would you open?

Seems a simple question, but the more you think about it, the deeper it becomes. I don’t think there is a correct answer, so don’t be shy, leave your thoughts in the comments section.

  • http://johan.forngren.com/ Johan Forngren

    Open one and hire a guy to open the rest?

    Seriously, I would open 99, so I don’t break the 1% line. It seems rather secure.

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  • http://adsensetrack.blogspot.com Ad Tracker

    Although the odds are good, the payout is poor considering the risk.

    I’m afraid I would walk.

    If the boxes contained 10K I would think about it and probably still walk. If they contained 100K I would strongly consider opening a few and probably would.

    I know we do things every day with a higher risk of death than this example but to be able to pass on a risk that offers such poor reward and no down side for avoidance is an easy decision.

    As the potential for reward increases so does the willingness to accept risk. Human nature, I think.

    Just MHO :)

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  • Rich

    Not a single one – the risk isn’t worth it for me…

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  • http://www.thealtitude.info Thomas Gray

    I would go with Rich on this one. No ammount of £1000 boxes would (in my eye’s) be worth me loosing my life.

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  • Justin

    I wouldn’t be able to open any. The risk of immediate unavoidable death would be too much for me.

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  • Darko

    None. Man, I don’t wanna die because of 1000 bucks!

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  • Darko

    I don’t want to risk my life because of some pieces of 10 million dollar paper! No way!

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  • i’d do it

    I’d do it. My life is pretty pointless and uneventful. Can’t afford college. My job pays less than Wendy’s fast food restaurant. Should have stayed in the military maybe, only needed 12 more years to retire, but 2 deployments was enough for me. Can’t get a date, and feel crappy when the only person that ever replies to me on personal sites are fat girls that already have kids. I regret not killing myself 6 years ago when I first thought of it. That little bit of optimism was only enough to keep me alive wondering what will happen next, and not enough to magically know what to do next. I always have backup plans, because I already know my goals (as modest as they are, like having a family someday) don’t seem to be working out.

    Would the money fix my problems? Well it depends. I’d go to college, and finally get a degree. Perhaps then, I’d have a better than 3% ratio of getting a reply to my job applications and resume submissions. Perhaps being successful in this area will also boost my confidence, and help me to attract family minded women. Chris Rock said it best. Whatever happened to a girl falling in love with a [person] with a bus pass? Hell, my car and house are paid off, and I can’t even get a date. I’m not that ugly! I’m not needy, I spend all day alone and am completely self sufficient. I don’t know. It seems girls would rather post drunken photos on their profiles and take home random guys than get involved with one that’s actually serious.

    Then again, the box of death would fix all my problems, guaranteed. My brain would cease to function upon death, and I will be unable to think of things that bother me. Nothing would ever bother me again. Sounds enticing.

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  • http://fyrecard.com Phoenix

    Hehe :-)

    Yeah, man. Count me out too!

    What’s funny though (or sad really) is that people jump on interstate highways and hurl themselves at fearsome speeds,
    among thousands of tons of steel… to go and buy such things
    as cigarettes and alcohol.

    How about the box of embarrassment? Or the box of horrible pain!

    I would rather work hard than risk death…

    Good question though. It seems to have spawned some content.


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  • Andy

    I think I’d try and get some insider info from the guy who packed/positioned the boxes! Then I’d open all the boxes on the opposite side of the room and split the profits with him.

    Failing that, Johan’s point of probability is a good one, but it depends how much you need the money.

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  • http://www.jemjabella.co.uk Jem

    I know for a fact that I’m so unlucky that the first box I opened would be inevitable death, so I’d let someone else do it for me and then I’d watch.

    And I don’t really need the money anyway.

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  • http://www.webmaster-source.com redwall_hp

    I’d open all the boxes except the one marked “Do not open” that’s smoking and vibrating. :D

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  • http://www.spendamillion.com Paolo

    37 boxes. Enough to make it worthwhile.

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  • http://www.retireat21.com Michael Dunlop

    Ive always had the luck of the Irish on my side, id go for 500 box’s

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  • http://www,docjaksonsplace.com Doc Jakson

    This sort of reminds me of an old episode of either Twilight Zone or Outer Limits.

    In that piece a guy comes to your house with a black box..box has a single button..all you have to do is press the button and you get $100,000..that’s it..Oh, there is one more thing…when you press the button someone dies..someone unknown to you.

    Is there a catch?…yes…each box is programmed to kill one person and if you get a box, someone else gets a box programmed with your name..that person will either open it or not..that’s the chance you take.

    Would you open the box?

    all the best,

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  • http://YourFashionCareer.com Steven Henderson

    Go to MetalTurk (or whatever Amazon calls their chore agency) and advertize a job receiving local currency cash payments and paying them into a money transfer service for credit of your account.

    Recruit 100 agents so that at least 99% survive.

    Decide whether to be a good Equal Opportunity employer or else hire only social, religious, gender, ethnic or interest groups you despise.

    Pay a $500 fidelity bonus from each box and instruct your agents that there’s plenty more boxes waiting as soon as each payment is received safely by you. This should hopefully motivate them to actually pay in the money.

    Hire a secretary from Manpower (or similar) and brief to:

    a) Arrange with Fedex the pick-up and delivery to agents of unopened boxes.

    b) Check on payments received and arrange with Fedex for collection and delivery of replacement boxes.

    You should then clear the receiving account daily by transfer to your discreet offshore bank account that only you have access to.

    Call it a day at 5,000 boxes so there’s an even chance nobody gets killed making you rich.

    Buy the secretary a bang up lunch, a nice bunch of flowers, and bid your grateful farewell.

    Close the receiving account and disappear.

    Have I missed anything?

    The Devil

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  • http://deanhunt.com Dean Hunt

    Steven – Fantastic answer!

    I like your writing and thinking style.

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  • http://www.sukosaki.info sukosaki

    @ Steven

    excellent answer, I also enjoy your style of writing, well done!

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  • http://www.top-work-from-home.com Chris

    This is why I love reading your blog – this is a great question!

    My wife says “none because it would be a real bitch to open the wrong one”

    I would probably open 1 because I love money and would not be able to sleep at night nowing I turned down a chance at a free $1000 because of a 1/10,000 chance of death. I have a better chance of dying drving my car everyday and I don’t get paid to do that!

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  • http://www.chadwsmith.com/ Chad W Smith

    At least 250, maybe even 500. I mean the chances are so slim… 1 out of 10K, 1 out of 9,999, 1/9998, 1/9997, etc. Even the last box I’d open would only be a 1/9500 chance of death. Even if you make it 500/10000 That’s only a 5% chance of death. Or one out of 20. But I’d be “safer” after each box. Not safer than I was at the beginning, but safer than 1 out of 20. Because the previous outcome is no longer unknown. If I have to pick all 500 at first before I opened them, then it would be 1 out of 20. But since each revealed box would lessen the number to choose from that percentage would decrease. But half a million is a good payoff.

    Now, that’s a better question, if there 20 boxes, each with half a million, and one with death. Would you take *THAT* chance?

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