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The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time by [Konnikova, Maria]
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The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Review

In this remarkable book, Maria Konnikova shows that human beings are hardwired to believe often to our peril. And with a deft mix of stories and studies, she explores what that means for how we think and, ultimately, who we are. Deeply researched and elegantly written, "The Confidence Game" will widen your eyes and sharpen your mind.
Daniel H. Pink, author of "Drive" and "To Sell Is Human
" Maria Konnikova has written a compelling, engrossing account of the world of the con. I stayed up far too late reading it. Beautifully written, and filled with stories and thought-provoking psychological research, "The Confidence Game" will teach you how confidence artists operate and how to outwit them. Charles Duhigg, author of "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business ""

Advance Praise for "The Confidence Game"
""
In the Confidence Game, Konnikova plumbs the psychology and chemistry of why we all fall so readily for scams and cons and why, thanks to the Lake Wobegon Effect and other forces, having fallen once, we re even more susceptible the next time. 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. But you won t think twice. You ll still succumb, because that s how we re all wired. And here s the irony the smarter you think you are, the more readily you ll fall, which is why New Yorkers are some of the easiest marks. (Clients of Bernie Madoff, we re talking about you.) If you liked Malcolm Gladwell s "Blink," you ll love this lucid and revelatory look into our oh-so-susceptible selves.
Erik Larson, #1 "New York Times" bestselling author of "Dead Wake "and bestselling author of "Devil in the White City
" The story of the con artist may be unmatched for combining human interest with insight into human nature, and star psychology writer Maria Konnikova explains their wiles to us with her characteristic clarity, flair, and depth.
Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of"How the Mind Works"and"The Sense of Style."
In this remarkable book, Maria Konnikova shows that human beings are hardwired to believe often to our peril. And with a deft mix of stories and studies, she explores what that means for how we think and, ultimately, who we are. Deeply researched and elegantly written, "The Confidence Game" will widen your eyes and sharpen your mind.
Daniel H. Pink, author of "Drive" and "To Sell Is Human"
As an ambassador to AARP s Fraud Watch Network which educates its members on protecting themselves from confidence games and scams, I found "The Confidence Game" an excellent resource. The best way to protect oneself from the confidence man is to understand the mind and motivation of the con man.
Frank W. Abagnale, subject of the movie, book, and Broadway musical "Catch Me If You Can"
I really love Maria Konnikova s writing. In a world of pseudoscience of extreme polemical thought her calm rationality is comforting and smart. I appreciate and believe her.
Jon Ronson, author of "So You've Been Publicly Shamed"
Maria Konnikova has written a compelling, engrossing account of the world of the con. I stayed up far too late reading it. Beautifully written, and filled with stories and thought-provoking psychological research, The Confidence Game will teach you how confidence artists operate and how to outwit them.
Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and author of "The Power of Habit"
What magic takes place when a smooth-talking stranger convinces you to part with everything you have? Maria Konnikova is a superb storyteller and her tales of conmen and their victims will blow your mind.This is a brilliant and often unsettling book, and it leaves me with mixed feelings I d like everyone to read it, but at the same time, it scares me to think of it falling into the wrong hands.
Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne RagenProfessor of Psychology, YaleUniversity, and author of"Just Babies."
An enthralling read about why we re all vulnerable to deception, by one of the truly gifted social science writers of our time. This book shook my confidence in my ability to detect fraud and then showed me how to improve my skills.
Adam Grant, Wharton professor and"New York Times"bestselling author of "Give and Take"and "Originals
" Short of making cynicism your overriding philosophy, the surest safety might be to understand the workings of the con man as he understands you. Understand his psychology, his motivation, his tricks, and his games. Konnikova s book promises to make life just a little bit harder for con artists everywhere. "
The New Republic
" Brilliant and enthralling. By plumbing the depths of real stories of swindlers and their victims, and by drawing on new research into the nature of deception, she does more than just show in riveting detail how these cons unfold; she also reveals their hidden psychological dimensions, and why we all may be perfect mark. "
" David Grann, author of"" "The Lost City of Z"
""
"In The Confidence Game, Maria Konnikova has created an enthralling read about con men. But it's about so much more: trust, belief, and deception at their most basic and human levels. If you think you're above becoming an unwitting player in the confidence game, you'll think again by the end."
David Epstein, author of "The Sports Gene"
The most thoughtful and thought-provoking book ever written on cons, and I ve not only read most of them but I ve also been conned. Marvelous and important.
Michael Shermer, publisher of "Skeptic" magazine, author of "Why People Believe Weird Things" and "The Believing Brain
" Blending news accounts with first-person published narratives, public records, and original interviews, Konnikova dissects the techniques of some of the world s most successful con artists. A page-turner, this book provides plenty of insight about them and about us, their targets. ""
Psychology Today"


""

Konnikova is an insightful analyst of the dark art of the scam.
" New York Times Book Review "
An unnerving manual for conning and getting conned.
" Washington Post"
""
Melding pop social science and potted history, the science writer transcends the genre of Gladwell by drilling down into situations where our instincts lead us horribly astray and right into the arms of swindlers. The surreal and often codependent relationship between grifter and griftee is disturbingly common, no matter how sophisticated its victims think they are, from Bernie Madoff s worldly dupes to everyone who ever cheered Lance Armstrong.
" "Vulture
Victims of cons, she argues, aren't just the foolish and the ignorant. They re often regular people who happen to be desperate or emotionally compromised by their circumstances. For leaders, who largely pride themselves on being rational, strategic thinkers, the deception Konnikova s research warns us about begins with that very emotion: pride .Leaders who get fooled are the ones who first manage to fool themselves. "
"--Fast Company"
""
" A thrilling psychological detective story investigating how con artists, the supreme masterminds of malevolent reality-manipulation, prey on our propensity for believing what we wish were true and how this illuminates the inner workings of trust and deception in our everyday lives.
--Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
With meticulous research and a facility for storytelling, Konnikova makes this intriguing topic absolutely riveting.
"Kirkus, " Starred review
Told with vigor and enthusiasm, this study of the psychology of the con artist is riveting and cleverly told.
"Publishers Weekly," Starred review
In the Confidence Game, Konnikova plumbs the psychology and chemistry of why we all fall so readily for scams and cons and why, thanks to the Lake Wobegon Effect and other forces, having fallen once, we re even more susceptible the next time. 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. But you won t think twice. You ll still succumb, because that s how we re all wired. And here s the irony the smarter you think you are, the more readily you ll fall, which is why New Yorkers are some of the easiest marks. (Clients of Bernie Madoff, we re talking about you.) If you liked Malcolm Gladwell s "Blink," you ll love this lucid and revelatory look into our oh-so-susceptible selves.
Erik Larson, #1 "New York Times" bestselling author of "Dead Wake "and bestselling author of "Devil in the White City
" The story of the con artist may be unmatched for combining human interest with insight into human nature, and star psychology writer Maria Konnikova explains their wiles to us with her characteristic clarity, flair, and depth.
Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of"How the Mind Works"and"The Sense of Style."
In this remarkable book, Maria Konnikova shows that human beings are hardwired to believe often to our peril. And with a deft mix of stories and studies, she explores what that means for how we think and, ultimately, who we are. Deeply researched and elegantly written, "The Confidence Game" will widen your eyes and sharpen your mind.
Daniel H. Pink, author of "Drive" and "To Sell Is Human"
As an ambassador to AARP s Fraud Watch Network which educates its members on protecting themselves from confidence games and scams, I found "The Confidence Game" an excellent resource. The best way to protect oneself from the confidence man is to understand the mind and motivation of the con man.
Frank W. Abagnale, subject of the movie, book, and Broadway musical "Catch Me If You Can"
I really love Maria Konnikova s writing. In a world of pseudoscience of extreme polemical thought her calm rationality is comforting and smart. I appreciate and believe her.
Jon Ronson, author of "So You've Been Publicly Shamed"
Maria Konnikova has written a compelling, engrossing account of the world of the con. I stayed up far too late reading it. Beautifully written, and filled with stories and thought-provoking psychological research, The Confidence Game will teach you how confidence artists operate and how to outwit them.
Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and author of "The Power of Habit"
What magic takes place when a smooth-talking stranger convinces you to part with everything you have? Maria Konnikova is a superb storyteller and her tales of conmen and their victims will blow your mind.This is a brilliant and often unsettling book, and it leaves me with mixed feelings I d like everyone to read it, but at the same time, it scares me to think of it falling into the wrong hands.
Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne RagenProfessor of Psychology, YaleUniversity, and author of"Just Babies."
An enthralling read about why we re all vulnerable to deception, by one of the truly gifted social science writers of our time. This book shook my confidence in my ability to detect fraud and then showed me how to improve my skills.
Adam Grant, Wharton professor and"New York Times"bestselling author of "Give and Take"and "Originals
" Short of making cynicism your overriding philosophy, the surest safety might be to understand the workings of the con man as he understands you. Understand his psychology, his motivation, his tricks, and his games. Konnikova s book promises to make life just a little bit harder for con artists everywhere. "
The New Republic
""An unnerving manual for conning and getting conned.""
" The Washington Post"
" Brilliant and enthralling. By plumbing the depths of real stories of swindlers and their victims, and by drawing on new research into the nature of deception, she does more than just show in riveting detail how these cons unfold; she also reveals their hidden psychological dimensions, and why we all may be perfect mark. "
" David Grann, author of"" "The Lost City of Z"
""
"In The Confidence Game, Maria Konnikova has created an enthralling read about con men. But it's about so much more: trust, belief, and deception at their most basic and human levels. If you think you're above becoming an unwitting player in the confidence game, you'll think again by the end."
David Epstein, author of "The Sports Gene"
The most thoughtful and thought-provoking book ever written on cons, and I ve not only read most of them but I ve also been conned. Marvelous and important.
Michael Shermer, publisher of "Skeptic" magazine, author of "Why People Believe Weird Things" and "The Believing Brain
" Blending news accounts with first-person published narratives, public records, and original interviews, Konnikova dissects the techniques of some of the world s most successful con artists. A page-turner, this book provides plenty of insight about them and about us, their targets. ""
Psychology Today"
" A gripping examination of exactly why so many of us are such suckers for schemes that shut down our saner instincts. " Vice "
"One of the best science writers of our time examines the minds, motives, and methods of con artists and the people who fall for their cons.""" "Forbes"
Konnikova covers wide-ranging studies in social psychology and illustrates them with colorful stories about real-life con men and women in action. "" "New York Magazine"
A deep (and entertaining) dive into the world of con artists. "" "Time.com"
It turns out there's a lot to be learned about human nature. And Konnikova is an insightful analyst. "" "Economic Times"
An engaging read . . . A subtle yet powerful reminder that the con man isn t solely a shadowy grifter but as ubiquitous and common as the little white lies we tell our friends and family. """ ""Los Angeles Review of Books"
Melding pop social science and potted history, science writer Maria Konnikova transcends the Gladwell genre by drilling down into situations where our instincts lead us horribly astray and into the arms of swindlers. """ ""New York Magazine"
"
""

Product Description

"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.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1121 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (Jan. 12 2016)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00WDP836S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #58,767 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting subject, choppy writing.

This book covers an intriguing topic - how do con artists do it?
The author, likely an academic, clearly have done a lot of research on this topic both from previously published work by others and from stories she gathered through her career.

I came across this book on a podcast that featured this author. At the end of the podcast I thought the discussion was interesting enough that I wanted to read the book. The book was okay. It elaborate on the main discussion featured on the podcast and the topic is generally interesting. BUT THE WRITING IS SO CHOPPY. The author would switch from telling a story to psychology analysis - which is fine, except the author's transition was not graceful and seamless - it was rather jagged. At points, the analysis was a bit too deep into the academic analysis gets quite repetitive. The writing is far from eloquent. I would expect a published author be more refined in her writing.

stories are interesting 8/10, analysis gets boring 4/10, writing is choppy and ruins the book 2/10
over all 4/10 would not recommend
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Format: Kindle Edition
According to Maria Konnikova, most of us have been conned at one point in our lives and don't even know it. Her new book The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It...Every Time provides an in-depth look at what personality traits con artists have in common and what their usual plan of attack is to lure us in. One of my favourite parts was the many real life examples of con artists and their victims that are used to illustrate the main point in each chapter. The author also emphasized throughout each story how easy it can be to look at a situation externally and say we would never fall for it, but it is a far different thing to be the one who is being emotionally manipulated at the time.
If you've completed an undergrad in Psychology, this book is refreshing in that it doesn't rely on all the standard research studies everyone learns in first year with a few others thrown in. There is a lot of modern research included, although at times I felt that a few too many studies were referenced to confirm the same facts. This made the chapters feel a bit long at times and made me put the book down more often than I might have otherwise.
There are a lot of definitions at the beginning of the book that are used throughout; make sure to pay attention or you may find yourself having to flip backwards to confirm what is being referred to. I will admit on my part this may have been because I spent a lot of time at the beginning of the book contemplating the people in my life who have those personality traits, and if I could ever see them turning into a con artist. My conclusion: I think some of them use some con techniques in their daily lives to convince those around them to do what they want, but they may not ever become what we would think of as your typical con artist.
Overall I would say it was a good read if you like pop psychology books, but keep in mind it has more research than "fluff" so it may not be the best read for a day at the beach.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Filled with stories of real-life villains and their victims, this book tries to explain the lure of confidence games. It's not just the persuasive pitches that rope us in, but our own need to make sense of the world and to believe our lives have meaning.

Konnikova tells us about people who fall for the same dastardly scheme again and again, and even the same perpetrator. She goes into the psychological reasons why con artists can be so compelling and irresistible. A great read!
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