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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, a compelling investigation into the minds, motives, and methods of con artists - and the people who fall for their cons over and over again.

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 listeners into the world of the con, examining the relationship between artist and victim. The Confidence Game not only asks 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.

©2016 Maria Konnikova (P)2016 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"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.... If you liked Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, you'll love this lucid and revelatory look into our oh-so-susceptible selves." (Erik Larson, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Dead Wake and best-selling author of Devil in the White City)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

The Confidence Game = major disappointment

I'm so happy Audible offers a "great listen every time guarantee" and that I can get my book credit refunded for The Confidence Game.  What a disappointment!  I was expecting something  useful and an at least some original ideas.  Instead I got a rehash of Cialdini's work, and a bunch of vignettes about people falling for cons.  They weren't at all helpful because she picked the most extreme examples that had no relevance to me (eg that idiot Professor that got fired from CH for drug smuggling for his internet 'girlfriend', people getting sucked into cults, and desperate people getting tricked by fortune tellers into giving them either the equity in their homes or their life savings).  It was a book that seemed to enjoy pointing out the obvious.  I'm surprised I kept going with it as long as I did (probably almost 3/4) because I kept expecting her to actually get to something useful.  Sadly that never happened.  This book is similar to about 15 dozen others that say roughly the same thing - and they do a better job with less crazy examples.  Not worth money or time.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thorough Book, Author Shouldn't Have Narrated

As much as this was a seriously interesting book, they should have hired a narrator.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Audio - yuk

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I could not even get through this because the audio reading was THAT bad. From what I have read prior to my purchase it seemed like such a wonderful read. I'll never know. . .

Would you ever listen to anything by Maria Konnikova again?

never

Would you be willing to try another one of Maria Konnikova’s performances?

no

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Um, can I have my money back, please?

Any additional comments?

Buy on paperback

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • IG
  • 01-20-16

Terrible narration

all the listeners who are not new to Audible know what a difference a good narration makes. The author of this book decided to read the book herself the narration is horrible. I barely got through about 30 minutes of not being able to focus on the story and decided to return it.

For those of you who decide to power through the narration, good luck!

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good narrative

Great narrative and explanation without having the degrade either the concept, science or the narrative.
None other than Maria kannikova could have read it as beautiful and impressive.

Great book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

Where does The Confidence Game rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The Confidence Game ranks fairly high

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Confidence Game?

When one of the "impostors" performed successful surgery using just a textbook

Which character – as performed by Maria Konnikova – was your favorite?

Frank DeMara (hope I'm spelling this right)

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not necessarily - it covered a lot of territory

Any additional comments?

I generally don't like author-narrators but Ms. Konnikova's (Dr. Konnikova's?) voice was perfect for this. I liked the general tone of the book - not making victims out to be idiots, but just human. As an almost-victim of a "con" I appreciated it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Decent story - HORRIBLE performance

How could the performance have been better?

The reader sounds like they have a head cold and have been chugging Nyquil all day. Slurring words and hanging Sssssses on everything. HORRIBLE.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

How Fun!!!

Many of the stories were new to me.

Maria reads her words well.

Love the Confidence Game!!!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this but...

Would you try another book from Maria Konnikova and/or Maria Konnikova?

Yes. I'm a big fan of her weekly segment on Mike Pesca's show The Gist. Even though this book didn't hold my interest, I'll give her another shot.

Would you be willing to try another book from Maria Konnikova? Why or why not?

Yes. I'm a big fan of her weekly segment on Mike Pesca's show The Gist. Even though this book didn't hold my interest, I'll give her another shot.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Maria Konnikova?

Not likely. I didn't think her delivery was bad, and don't agree with those who gave very unfavorable reviews of her performance, but there are certainly better readers out there. She would be well served to let somebody else narrate her next book.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No way to make a movie out of this book.

Any additional comments?

I really like Maria Konnikova on the Gist and thought I'd give her book a shot. It could have been improved by cutting out about 1/3 of the material. About 7.5 hours in I was wondering how much longer it could be. About 10 hours in, Ms. Konnikova covers the Sunken Cost Fallacy and at that point I thanked her for giving me an excuse to delete the book before it was finished. Sorry. I really wanted to like it but it was just too long...too many examples were provided that didn't seem fully relevant to the information about the Confidence Game being presented.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Armor for your natural instinct!

Maria Konnikova lays out the tools you need to go against your natural proclivity to believe that a deal will make you rich. The con uses human nature against the mark, if you can recognize it you won't be a victim!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful