The Confidence Game

How easy is it to manipulate people? Why to we repeatedly fall for frauds? Read D.L. Morrese’s latest review.

The Avery Slom Philosophical Laboratory

thecongameThe Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every TimebyMaria Konnikova

Why do we fall for frauds? Why are people susceptible to being tricked? How do con artists manipulate people into doing things that from an outside perspective look clearly irrational?

It all has to do with human psychology. Maria Konnikova (Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia) provides real life examples, from shell games to religious cults, that demonstrate how confidence artists exploit their marks by manipulating basic emotions. No one is immune. Anyone can be conned. Some people more easily than others—the highly credulous, the distraught, the desperate—but none of us is impervious. Our rationality runs only so deep. We are also creatures of belief and desire, and a skilled con artist can us these to gain advantage, and some measure of control, over us. There is no sure-fire, never-fail defense, at least not one…

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