book hack

The Confidence Game

Maria Konnikova

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

In The Confidence Game, New Yorker columnist and professional poker player Maria Konnikova pulls together the stories of infamous swindlers and their victims and takes us through the psychological principles of deception - revealing why no one is immune to the wiles of a grifter.

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The Confidence Game

The Confidence Game

by Maria Konnikova

Overview

The most skilled con artists and their scams go undetected. When we lose, we chalk it up to bad luck. And in cases when we realize we've been suckered, the embarrassment stops us from pursuing any recourse.

Maria Konnikova is a Harvard University Alum and earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University. A regular contributor to the New Yorker, Konnikova is also the author of three New York Times best-selling books on popular psychology and the host of The Grift - a podcast about con artists.

In this book, Konnikova explores the psychological principles of each stage of the con. The Confidence Game investigates the most notorious cons in recent history, from P.T. Barnum to Bernie Madoff, and how we can train ourselves to be less vulnerable.

Favorite quote

The confidence game—the con—is an exercise in soft skills. Trust, sympathy, persuasion. The true con artist doesn't force us to do anything; he makes us complicit in our own undoing. He doesn't steal. We give. He doesn't have to threaten us. We supply the story ourselves.

- Maria Konnikova

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