Author(s): Maria Konnikova
The con artist: from Bernie Madoff to Clark Rockefeller to Lance Armstrong. How do they get away with it? And what keeps us falling for them, over and over again? In The Confidence Game, Maria Konnikova investigates the psychological principles that underlie each stage of the swindle, from the put-up all the way to the fix, and how we can train ourselves to spot a story that isn't all it seems.
A fascinating look at the psychology behind every hustle * Economist * 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 Remarkable ... The Confidence Game will widen your eyes and sharpen your mind -- DANIEL H. PINK In a world of pseudoscience, Maria Konnikova's calm rationality is comforting and smart -- JON RONSON If you liked Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, you'll love this lucid and revelatory look into our oh-so-susceptible selves -- ERIK LARSON * author of The Devil in the White City * Fascinating stories of some fantastically elaborate cons * Spectator * One of the best science writers of our time * Forbes * There's a lot to be learned about human nature from the con's enduring success. And Konnikova is an insightful analyst of the dark art of -the scam. Konnikova has learned at least one thing from the con artists she studied: Always leave your marks wanting more * New York Times * Maria Konnikova breaks down the psychology of schemes, scams, tricks and frauds across the centuries in The Confidence Game an unnerving manual for conning and getting conned ... fortunately, the cons are usually entertaining and the studies revealing * Washington Post * A gripping examination of exactly why so many of us are such suckers for schemes that shut down our saner instincts * Vice * 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 thrilling psychological detective story investigating how con artists 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 ... a tapestry of riveting real-life con artist profiles interwoven with decades of psychology experiments. What makes the book especially pleasurable is that Konnikova's intellectual rigor comes with a side of warm wit ... thoroughly fascinating * Brainpickings * An engaging read: between studies and statistics, Konnikova threads her examination with rich narratives of historical swindles * Los Angeles Review of Books * 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 * 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 * author of Give and Take and Originals * 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. The Confidence Game is a masterful exploration of human psychology - Konnikova uses the art of the con to explore some striking claims about kindness and cruelty, memory and reputation, the power of stories, and the very nature of the self. 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 * author of Just Babies * Gripping ... Konnikova has a gift for bringing out the drama, poignancy and (if you're not the victim) the humor in the elaborate deceptions she describes * Jacksonville.com * Exceptional ... a brisk, engaging overview of the ways these skilled tricksters masterfully manipulate us to their own ends * Boston Globe * Fantastical ... a quick and enjoyable read about con-artistry * Spiked * Irresistably fascinating * Sunday Herald *
Maria Konnikova was born in Moscow and grew up in the United States. Her first book, Mastermind, was a New York Times bestseller. She is a contributing writer for The New Yorker, where she writes a regular column with a focus on psychology and culture, and her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Scientific American MIND and The Smithsonian, among numerous other publications.