The Confidence Game

Why We Fall for It ... Every Time (2016.1)


关于本书 About the book

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.

本书金句 Key insights

● Understanding someone well enough to spot a flaw or a weakness in them is exactly what a confidence trickster, or con artist, loves to do. In fact, it is what leads them to be successful in their pursuits.

● In truth, most people’s self-perception isn’t very accurate and con artists are keen to take advantage of this.

● Many people are naturally inclined to be optimistic about the future, and this makes them eager to buy into the con artist’s illusion of success.

● This is another human trait con artists can use. They know that even when people have an experience that contradicts their beliefs, they’ll still tend to hold on to those beliefs and ignore the experience.

● We’re extremely wary of gaining a reputation for being foolish. And this is another trait that con artists can take advantage of.