The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time

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Penguin, Jan 12, 2016 - Psychology - 288 pages
"It’s a startling and disconcerting read that should make you think twice every time a friend of a friend offers you the opportunity of a lifetime.”
—Erik Larson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake and bestselling author of Devil in the White City

Think you can’t get conned? Think again. The New York Times bestselling author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes explains how to spot the con before they spot you.

“[An] excellent study of Con Artists, stories & the human need to believe” –Neil Gaiman, via Twitter


A compelling investigation into the minds, motives, and methods of con artists—and the people who fall for their cons over and over again.

While cheats and swindlers may be a dime a dozen, true conmen—the Bernie Madoffs, the Jim Bakkers, the Lance Armstrongs—are elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion and exploiters of trust. How do they do it? Why are they successful? And what keeps us falling for it, over and over again? These are the questions that journalist and psychologist Maria Konnikova tackles in her mesmerizing new book.
 
From multimillion-dollar Ponzi schemes to small-time frauds, Konnikova pulls together a selection of fascinating stories to demonstrate what all cons share in common, drawing on scientific, dramatic, and psychological perspectives. Insightful and gripping, the book brings readers into the world of the con, examining the relationship between artist and victim. The Confidence Game asks not only why we believe con artists, but also examines the very act of believing and how our sense of truth can be manipulated by those around us.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LynnB - LibraryThing

This book blends true stories of cons -- big and small -- with psychology and neuroscience to show what is going on in our brains when we are victims of scammers. It's hard to believe that I would ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - loraineo - LibraryThing

I guess we've all been conned a time or two! this book is very interesting with details of many con artist and those who've been conned. Sure kept me interested and lots to think about as to why so many of us are often caught up in scams. Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
CHAPTER
15
CHAPTER 2
53
CHAPTER 3
89
CHAPTER 4
129
THE TALE
169
CHAPTER 6
197
CHAPTER 7
227
CHAPTER 8
255
CHAPTER 9
281
CHAPTER 10
303
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
323
NOTES
327
INDEX
331
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

Maria Konnikova’s articles have appeared online and in print in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New York Times, Slate, the New Republic, the Paris Review, the Wall Street Journal, Salon, the Boston Globe, the Observer, the Scientific American MIND, WIRED, and the Scientific American, among numerous other publications. Maria blogs regularly for the New Yorker and formerly wrote the “Literally Psyched” column for the Scientific American and the popular psychology blog “Artful Choice” for Big Think. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where she studied psychology, creative writing, and government, and received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University.

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