The Confidence Game
(The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for it Every Time)
Maria Konnikova attempts to verse us in how to avoid and recognise Cons. You know, the Nigerian prince who needs your money, or the fortune teller that can help you turn your life around?
Most of us want to hope that we won’t fall for a Con. Who would get into a pyramid scheme? Hell, I was almost pulled into one as a kid, but it didn’t work in Australia because we don’t have $1 notes to post. The deal was that you post $1 to each person on the list, then you add your name to the bottom of the list. Then the more people you send it to, the more you make back. Now it costs a $1 to send the damn letter, so you wouldn’t even break even!
Anyway, the book does talk about how and why we fall for Cons. Particularly of note is that we all think that we’re safe, and that is what makes us more vulnerable. If you are in a fragile state (of any kind), then it is easier for you to fall for a Con. And if you’re like that, and you are sure you won’t fall for a Con, you almost certainly will!
What I was hoping for was a series of chapters that would have a Con in each one, then a discussion of how it worked. What I got instead was a reference to different Cons (and Con artists) in each chapter, mixed in with how the psychology worked. This made it a bit mixed up for my taste, and I couldn’t really get into it. Better organisation would bump this book up for my standards.
I wouldn’t suggest buying this book, unless you are going to donate it to a library after you are done with it. It’s not a reread, and it’s not compulsory reading. See if you can borrow a copy first. 3 stars.