Annals of Gullibility: Why We Get Duped and how to Avoid it

Front Cover
Praeger Publishers, 2009 - Psychology - 199 pages
4 Reviews

The first book to provide a comprehensive look at the problem of gullibility, this groundbreaking work covers how and why we are fooled in areas that range from religion, politics, science, and medicine, to personal finance and relationships. First laying the groundwork by showing gullibility at play in the writings of historic authors we all know, developmental psychologist Stephen Greenspan follows with chapters that describe social duping across the gamut of human conduct. From people who pour bucks into investment scams, to those who follow the faith of scientologists, believe in fortunetellers, or champion unfounded medicine akin to snake oil, we all know someone who has been duped. A lot of us have been duped ourselves, out of naive trust. It's not a matter of low intelligence that moves us to, without evidence, believe the words of politicians, salesmen, academics, lawyers, military figures, or cult leaders, among others. Greenspan shows us the four broad reasons we become drawn into gullible behavior, and he presents ways people can become less gullible.

Greenspan takes us into the vast realm of gullibility from the fictional Pied Piper to the historical Trojan Horse, then through modern-day military maneuvers, political untruths, police and criminal justice scams, and financial and love lies. While there have been earlier books focused on liars and manipulators of all sorts, this is the first to focus on the gullible who are their victims, and how the gullible can become less likely to be taken again.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Annals of Gullibility: Why We Get Duped and How to Avoid It

User Review  - James - Goodreads

Generally poorly written, The Journalist and the Murderer is a much more interesting book about deception. And Janet Malcolm has a very keen wit. Read full review

Review: Annals of Gullibility: Why We Get Duped and How to Avoid It

User Review  - Genevieve - Goodreads

I did think it was an interesting book, but I found that he didn't always get enough in the scholarship of some of the psych concepts he was discussing. There often were arguments that could be made ... Read full review


Gullibility in Literature and Folktales
Gullibility in Religion
Gullibility in War and Politics

8 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

STEPHEN GREENSPAN is a developmental psychologist, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado, and Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. In 2008, he received the Dybwad Award for Humanitarianism from the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. A specialist in developmental disablities with a particular interest in social competence and incompetence, Greenspan's interest in gullibility grew out of his advocacy for the innocence of a cognitively-impaired man wrongly convicted of murder.

Bibliographic information