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

Maria Konnikova. Viking, $27.95 (330p) ISBN 978-0-52542741-4
Konnikova (Mastermind) opens a door to the fascinating world of truly brilliant con artists—not the quotidian hustlers, but the Madoffs of the world. She asks whether they are psychopaths, epic narcissists, or just regular Joes with extraordinary confidence and a skill for telling a good story. Konnikova provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of some of recent history’s smoothest talkers, covering the setups and executions of some of their extraordinary scams. From consumer fraud and online scams to complex, multiyear grifts and bald-faced lies, readers are reminded that these scams could happen to anyone and are far more common than is commonly realized—no one, after all, wants to admit to having been duped. As for why people fall for these cons, Konnikova shows that it’s because humans want to believe great stories and don’t necessarily recognize the fine line between a legitimate story and an illegitimate one. Told with vigor and enthusiasm, this study of the psychology of the con artist is riveting and cleverly told. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/26/2015
Release date: 01/12/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-698-17099-5
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-14-310987-7
Hardcover - 582 pages - 978-1-4104-8928-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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