Maria Konnikova Explains Why We Fall For Cons

The new book by Maria Konnikova is about confidence artist. (Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

The new book by Maria Konnikova is about con artists. (Courtesy Penguin Random House)

The setup, the bait, the play and the sting — these are all elements of a con artist’s trick. But how do experts at deception steal money, fake an identity and get away with it all?

That’s the subject of Maria Konnikova’s new book, “The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It… Every Time.”

Maria Konnikova will be speaking at the Harvard Book Store Thursday evening.


Maria Konnikova, writer. She tweets @mkonnikova.


The New Yorker: How Stories Deceive

  • “What kind of person do you need to be to make up a history of human sex trafficking? For one thing, you need to have an intimate grasp of the workings of human psychology — you have to understand that this story, above any other, will elude scrutiny even when the facts that justify it are sparse.”

The Boston Globe: In ‘The Confidence Game,’ Are We Conning Ourselves?

  • “First, we’re all potential marks. Second, crime interests us not because it deviates from human nature, but because it is a distillation of human nature.”

The New York Times: Review: In ‘The Confidence Game’ By Maria Konnikova, The Siren Call Of The Swindler

  • “In this oversaturated marketplace of seductive data, I have always counted on Ms. Konnikova, a contributing writer for The New Yorker, to be a reliable guide. Her journalism hums with intelligence, wit and good judgment; I implicitly trust that she’ll spin through the latest research and tell us which papers float to the top of the centrifuge and which sink to the sludgy bottom.”

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