Get a FREE Books of the Moment  sampler!
Check Out These
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
See the List

The Confidence Game

The Confidence Game by Maria Konnikova
Paperback
Jan 10, 2017 | 352 Pages
See All Formats (2) +
  • Paperback $17.00

    Jan 10, 2017 | 352 Pages

  • Ebook $13.99

    Jan 12, 2016 | 288 Pages

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Product Details

Praise

“Konnikova… is an insightful analyst of the dark art of the scam.”
New York Times Book Review
 
“An unnerving manual for conning and getting conned.”  
Washington Post

“[An] excellent study of Con Artists, stories & the human need to believe”
 –Neil Gaiman, via Twitter


“Melding pop social science and potted history, the science writer transcends the genre of Gladwell by drilling down into situations where our instincts lead us horribly astray — and right into the arms of swindlers. The surreal and often codependent relationship between grifter and griftee is disturbingly common, no matter how sophisticated its victims think they are, from Bernie Madoff’s worldly dupes to everyone who ever cheered Lance Armstrong.”
Vulture

“A brisk, engaging overview of the ways these skilled tricksters masterfully manipulate us to their own ends.”
Boston Globe
 
“Blending news accounts with first-person published narratives, public records, and original interviews, Konnikova dissects the techniques of some of the world’s most successful con artists. A page-turner, this book provides plenty of insight about them and about us, their targets.”
—Psychology Today

“A fascinating look at the psychology behind every hustle, from Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme to a three-card-monte game…Ms Konnikova tells of hucksters masquerading as doctors, royals or moguls, all armed with a gifted imagination, a silver tongue and an ability to size people up.”
-The Economist

 “Victims of cons, she argues, aren’t just the foolish and the ignorant. They’re often regular people who happen to be desperate or emotionally compromised by their circumstances.  For leaders, who largely pride themselves on being rational, strategic thinkers, the deception Konnikova’s research warns us about begins with that very emotion: pride….Leaders who get fooled are the ones who first manage to fool themselves.”
–Fast Company
 
“A thrilling psychological detective story investigating how con artists, the supreme masterminds of malevolent reality-manipulation, 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.”
–Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

“With meticulous research and a facility for storytelling, Konnikova makes this intriguing topic absolutely riveting.”
Kirkus, Starred review
 
“Told with vigor and enthusiasm, this study of the psychology of the con artist is riveting and cleverly told.” 
Publishers Weekly, Starred review

“In the Confidence Game, Konnikova plumbs the psychology and chemistry of why we all fall so readily for scams and cons—and why, thanks to the “Lake Wobegon Effect” and other forces, having fallen once, we’re even more susceptible the next time. It’s a startling and disconcerting read that should make you think twice every time a friend of a friend offers you the opportunity of a lifetime. But you won’t think twice. You’ll still succumb, because that’s how we’re all wired. And here’s the irony—the smarter you think you are, the more readily you’ll fall, which is why New Yorkers are some of the easiest marks. (Clients of Bernie Madoff, we’re talking about you.) If you liked Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, you’ll love this lucid and revelatory look into our oh-so-susceptible selves.”
—Erik Larson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake and bestselling author of Devil in the White City

“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, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Sense of Style.
 
“In this remarkable book, Maria Konnikova shows that human beings are hardwired to believe—often to our peril. And with a deft mix of stories and studies, she explores what that means for how we think and, ultimately, who we are. Deeply researched and elegantly written, The Confidence Game will widen your eyes and sharpen your mind.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human

“As an ambassador to AARP’s Fraud Watch Network which educates its members on protecting themselves from confidence games and scams, I found The Confidence Game an excellent resource. The best way to protect oneself from the confidence man is to understand the mind and motivation of the con man.”
—Frank W. Abagnale, subject of the movie, book, and Broadway musical Catch Me If You Can 
 
“I really love Maria Konnikova’s writing. In a world of pseudoscience—of extreme polemical thought—her calm rationality is comforting and smart. I appreciate and believe her.”
—Jon Ronson, author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

“Maria Konnikova has written 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, Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter and author of The Power of Habit
 
“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. 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, Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology, Yale University, and author of Just Babies. 
 
“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, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals

“Short of making cynicism your overriding philosophy, the surest safety might be to understand the workings of the con man as he understands you. Understand his psychology, his motivation, his tricks, and his games. Konnikova’s book promises to make life just a little bit harder for con artists everywhere.”
—The New Republic

“An unnerving manual for conning and getting conned.”
—The Washington Post

“Brilliant and enthralling. By plumbing the depths of real stories of swindlers and their victims, and by drawing on new research into the nature of deception, she does more than just show in riveting detail how these cons unfold; she also reveals their hidden psychological dimensions, and why we all may be perfect mark.”
—David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z

“In The Confidence Game, Maria Konnikova has created an enthralling read about con men. But it’s about so much more: trust, belief, and deception at their most basic and human levels. If you think you’re above becoming an unwitting player in the confidence game, you’ll think again by the end.”
—David Epstein, author of The Sports Gene
 
“The most thoughtful and thought-provoking book ever written on cons, and I’ve not only read most of them but I’ve also been conned. Marvelous and important.”
—Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, author of Why People Believe Weird Things and The Believing Brain

“Blending news accounts with first-person published narratives, public records, and original interviews, Konnikova dissects the techniques of some of the world’s most successful con artists. A page-turner, this book provides plenty of insight about them and about us, their targets.”
—Psychology Today


“A gripping examination of exactly why so many of us are such suckers for schemes that shut down our saner instincts.”—Vice
 
“One of the best science writers of our time examines the minds, motives, and methods of con artists—and the people who fall for their cons.”Forbes
 
“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 deep (and entertaining) dive into the world of con artists.”Time.com
 
“It turns out there’s a lot to be learned about human nature. And Konnikova…is an insightful analyst.”Economic Times

“An engaging read . . . A subtle yet powerful reminder that the con man isn’t solely a shadowy grifter but as ubiquitous and common as the little white lies we tell our friends and family.”Los Angeles Review of Books

“Melding pop social science and potted history, science writer Maria Konnikova transcends the Gladwell genre by drilling down into situations where our instincts lead us horribly astray—and into the arms of swindlers.”New York Magazine





From the Hardcover edition.

Looking for More Great Reads?
Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now
Back to Top