Maria Konnikova

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The Confidence Game launches!

January 22, 2016

On January 12, “The Confidence Game” was launched into the world. I’ve been terrible about keeping this blog updated, but am trying something new: one mega-post (this one!) that summarizes all of the media about the book in one easy-to-read place. So rather than spam you all with each link individually, I will keep this master list updated as best I can. I hope you follow me along on this amazing tour!


Now a New York Times besteller
New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
Kirkus: Most Anticipated Books of 2016
Forbes: 16 Must-Read Business Books for 2016
New York Magazine: 7 Books You Need to Read This
The Psych Report: Best Psychology Books of 2016
Adam Grant: 10 New Books to Read in 2016
Abnormal Returns: #2 Most-Read Books of January
Heidi Grant Halvorson: Great New Books for 2016
Book Browse Editor’s Choice

The New York Times“Konnikova…is an insightful analyst of the dark art of ­the scam.”
The Washington Post“An unnerving manual for conning and getting conned.”
The Boston Globe: “A brisk, engaging overview of the ways these skilled tricksters masterfully manipulate us to their own ends.”
Brain Pickings:
“A thrilling psychological detective story…Konnikova’s intellectual rigor comes with a side of warm wit.”
The Economist“A fascinating look at the psychology behind every hustle, from Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme to a three-card-monte game.”
Sunday Times: “Exhilarating and intelligent.”
The Times: “Konnikova offers an entertaining addition with a book packed full of money-grabbing psychics, cult leaders and poker-faced mass murderers.”
Nature: “A mesmerizing glimpse into the trickster’s mind.”
Los Angeles Review of Books: “It’s hard to quantify the economics and cultural footprint of a lying society, let alone infer a rising tide of deceit and scamming despite the horror stories that grace cable news and social media. It’s this challenge that makes The Confidence Game such an engaging read: between studies and statistics, Konnikova threads her examination with rich narratives of historical swindles…The rogues gallery of schemers and liars conjured by Konnikova’s painstaking research isn’t just made up of colorful anecdotes, but is 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.”
The Financial Times: “Life would be impossible if we assumed that everyone was trying to rip us off. I recommend this book as a guide to those who might be trying to.”
New York Post: “How a thief like Tilly managed to con supposedly smart, sophisticated people out of their fortune is the topic of Maria Konnikova’s “The Confidence Game,” which explains that while each of us likely believes we are too smart to fall for such transparent shenanigans, the majority of us would be wrong.”
Forbes: “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.”
Maclean’s: “Disturbing, if entertaining, exploration…Konnikova’s tone throughout is witty, lucid”
The New Republic: 
“Konnikova’s book promises to make life just a little bit harder for con artists everywhere.”
New York Magazine: “Konnikova covers wide-ranging studies in social psychology and illustrates them with colorful stories about real-life con men and women in action.”
NYMag’s Vulture: “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 Village Voice:
“A full-scale dive into the workings of the mind.”
The Christian Science Monitor/BN Review: “
I can’t recall finding a book so entertaining and so unsettling at the same time…The fun is in the stories, and Konnikova tells them well, in an engaging, genial tone.”
Psychology Today:
“Konnikova is a gifted storyteller.  Her book contains a fascinating cast of characters…[and] a virtual primer of concepts in cognitive psychology.”
Psychology Today: “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.”
Vice: “A gripping examination of exactly why so many of us are such suckers for schemes that shut down our saner instincts.”
Kirkus (starred review): “With meticulous research and a facility for storytelling, Konnikova makes this intriguing topic absolutely riveting.” (Read the related cover feature here.)
Publisher’s Weekly (starred review):
“Told with vigor and enthusiasm, this study of the psychology of the con artist is riveting and cleverly told.”
Library Journal:
“A thorough and engaging investigation of the elements of a con and why such people still succeed no matter how invulnerable we think we are to them.”
Farnam Street
“An enjoyable read with tales of cons and con artists throughout history – a good reminder of our own fallibility in the face of a good huckster and the power of human misjudgment.” “A deep (and entertaining) dive into the world of con artists”
800ceo Read: “Konnikova is an engaging storyteller, beginning each chapter with a compelling con and breaking up the retelling with examples of smaller grifts and scientific findings. Like the best con and grifter movies, Konnikova’s book spans the globe and is often about the pursuit of the most valuable things: money, love, art, power.”
Art of Manliness:Jam-packed with fascinating psychological research about what makes for a good scam…a fun and entertaining read.”
Tyler Cowen’s “Marginal Revolution”: “Probably one of the most useful things you will learn…all year.
“Somewhat horrifying…completely fascinating.”
The Spectator (UK): “One is rewarded with fascinating stories of some fantastically elaborate cons. Cynics will revel in up-to-date psychological theories about the human mind which entirely discredit it as an independent, rational agency.”
The Scotsman: “Engrossing and intriguing…this is the kind of science book which can properly be called a page-turner.”
The Herald (UK): “An irresistibly fascinating account of the some of the most audacious cons.”
Book Browse“Fascinating…Konnikova mesmerizingly pulls back the curtain on the confidence game.”
Spike: “A quick and enjoyable read about con-artistry…combining colourful narratives with expert analysis.”
Jaz Freestyle Book Club: “Gripping…Konnikova, a frequent New Yorker contributor, has a gift for bringing out the drama, poignancy and (if you’re not the victim) the humor in the elaborate deceptions she describes…a well crafted and thoughtful book with a big potential dividend”

radio and podcast
Science FridayWho was the first Nigerian prince? Find out on Science Friday.
The TakeawayA discussion of the art of the con with host John Hockenberry.
Brian Lehrer: A con-conversation with the wonderful Brian Lehrer.
Press Play: A conversation with Madeleine Brand.
The Current: On CBC, with Anna Maria Tremonti.
Colin McEnroeFor the hour, with guests “Fast” Jack Farrell, and Anthony Amore, Director of Security at the Isabella Gardner Museum.
WBUR Radio Boston: A conversation about the art of the con.
BBC’s “Free Thinking”With host Matthew Sweet and fellow guests Gary Lachman (late of Blondie), Kevin Jackson, and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh.
Air Talk: With Larry Mantle on KPCC.
Think KERAAn hour with host Krys Boyd.
The Jefferson ExchangeAn hour with Oregon’s NPR.
South Shore Morning News: 95.9 WATD, with Lisa and Rob.

The Art of CharmAn hour with host Jordan Harbinger.
The Gist: Usually, I go on Slate’s Gist for a weekly game of “Is that BS?” This time, the wonderful Mike Pesca and I talked con artists.|
Gweek: A conversation with BoingBoing’s Mark Frauenfelder.
The Good Life Project: What do con artists, self-help gurus, and entrepreneurs have in common? Find out during this hour with the wonderful Jonathan Fields.
The Art of Manliness: What makes us fall for scams? A conversation with the mind behind the Art of Manliness.
Rationally Speaking: A conversation with Julia Galef.
The Guardian: A conversation with Nicola Davis for The Guardian’s science podcast.
Monocle: A conversation with Andrew Tuck and Robert Bound.
Lit Up: The lovely Angie Ledgerwood and I talk con artists, sleep, and writing.
ContentlyA conversation on the dark side of storytelling with Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas.
Inc. UncensoredA conversation with Inc.’s James Ledbetter and the Inc. team.
Little AtomsA conversation with Neil Denny.
Book Talk: A conversation with Doug Miles.
Learning Leader: A conversation with Ryan Hawk.
Writer FilesA conversation on writing with Kelton Reid.
Flash Forward: A conversation with the talented Rose Eveleth at BoingBoing.
Roger Dooley: How to be a white hat con artist.

The Agenda with Steve Paikin: From the world of magic to the con, what happens in our minds that makes us so susceptible?
The Street
A conversation with Gregg Greenberg.
Business InsiderIs Donald Trump a con artist?
The Jewish Channel’s “Up Close”: A conversation with Steven Weiss. 

online and in print
The AtlanticA conversation with the Atlantic’s Olga Khazan.
The GuardianA conversation with Angela Chen. A conversation with Matthew Hutson for “Science of Us.” A conversation with Rob Walker on financial fraud.
Salon: An interview with Teddy Wayne – and a group of fantastic writers.
Vice: A conversation with Elizabeth Nicholas.
The Globe and MailA conversation with Adriana Barton.
Four Questions for: An interview with Dan Pink.
Scientific American MINDa conversation with Jordana Cepelewicz.
Tech RepublicAn interview with Hope Reese on how technology breeds crime.
Refinery29: A conversation with Sarah Jacoby.
The Psych Report: A conversation with Evan Nesterak.
EverUp: A conversation with Michael Woodsmall.
BakadesuyoA conversation on spotting liars with Eric Barker.

The New Yorker
The New York Times
New Scientist
Science Friday
The Independent
BBC Future
The Atlantic Monthly: 
Not an excerpt, but a column I wrote on the future of fraud busting for the magazine.
Reader’s Digest

Austin KleonThe amazing Austin Kleon, on artists as con artists.
The Wall Street JournalTech columnist Christopher Mims on the technological implications of confidence schemes, based on The Confidence Game.
The New York Times: The lovely and talented Jessica Lahey wrote about how your children (and students) con you. I pitched in with some thoughts.
Fast Company: Shane Snow, on how to avoid letting others deceive you, based on The Confidence Game and his own wonderful book (which I was honored to blurb! Smart Cuts.
Bustle8 Bizarre Cons People Have Actually Pulled Off…all taken from The Confidence Game! Pair with Bustle’s feature on “8 Strange Facts about Con Artists,” also Confidence-Game-inspired.
The Pacific Standard: Jared Keller on Powerball as a long con, with a hat-tip to The Confidence Game.
Tech Insider:
Kevin Loria has written a series of pieces based on our conversation about The Confidence Game. On spotting a con artist, what motivates con artists, why we fall for con artists, and the Great Impostor.


At the Harvard Book Store

At the Harvard Book Store

In conversation with Brian Koppelman at The Strand

In conversation with Brian Koppelman at The Strand

Barnes&Noble Buzz

Barnes&Noble Buzz

Taping Brian Lehrer

Taping Brian Lehrer


  1. CLacroix says:

    Great read!
    Page 100. Lascaux cave paintings may date back as far as 1700 BCE, somebody buggered up your proof reading, should read 17,000 BCE.

  2. […] For a round-up of post-release media, including reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and more, please visit this post. […]

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  1. By Fool me once | Orbs News on February 13, 2016 at 1:38 am

    […] For a round-up of post-release media, including reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and more, please visit this post. […]

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