Maria Konnikova

Welcome to my blog. I’ll do my best to update it regularly (or semi-regularly, at the least…) with news, writing updates, and other assorted thoughts. Read, enjoy, and please share your thoughts and comments. If you’re looking for psychology pieces at the New Yorker, you can find them here. If you’re looking for my old blog about literature and psychology, Literally Psyched, you can find it here.

Hour glass illustration

Is Trump a con artist?

March 15, 2016

I had a blast talking to Bill Maher about con artists, politics, and the question everyone’s been asking: is one of our presidential candidates an actual con artist? The full video is below, and available here. Also, be sure to check out the full show. My fellow New Yorker writer Jane Mayer starts off the evening with her fascinating new book on the Koch brothers, “Dark Money.”

And here’s the Overtime discussion!


  1. Hello Maria,

    Your appearance on Real Time was the first time that I had ever heard of you and it was quite a surprise. I looked over some of your additional writings and found someone who was quite intelligent and could ably explain their viewpoint, even if it was one that I might disagree with (which did not happen frequently).

    Because of your appearance on Real Time, I purchased both Mastermind and The Confidence Game. I am looking forward to delving into them but, looking to their author (and as a person well-versed in the Sherlock Holmes mental processes myself), which book is the best to read first?

    Thank you for your time and I look forward to more of your writings!


    Earl Burton

    • Thanks so much, Earl! I really appreciate it. As to what to read first, it honestly depends on what you’re in the mood for – they are quite different :). I hope you enjoy them! Yours, Maria

  2. Hossein says:

    Maria, thank you so much that you finally talk about it. After your early Tweet on this matter and I very limited knowledge about the US, I was like “Wow, is he really a con man, or …” because so many people from different backgrounds and ranking through his career has been behind him. issue.

    By the way, I was really furious at you, how can you write a 240 pages book and don’t talk about such thing when it comes to such an important example, therefor I was going to write a you a letter and ask, “why don’t you talk?”.

    PS. I just read around 30 pages till now, but I enjoyed it overall. [My first language is not English, somewhere close to turtle speed :-D]

  3. smb12321 says:

    Loved your interview (although Maher’s personal views burden the guest. I told my wife what you said and her reply, “Oh, that’s just common sense. Anyone could see he was a con man.” LOL

    I wish scientists would refrain from politics. Not only will it hurt funding if the candidate they attack wins but it’s extremely divisive. Note the difference between attitudes toward the space program 40-50 years ago and the contentious issue of climate change that is almost always presented with political overtones.

  4. Kevin Kind says:

    Trump is a symptom and not the cause. Fear mongering and ethnic, mainly skin-color, hatred always win because of biology and instincts and the media and politicians are forced to use these triggers.

    The problem so solve is the Stone Age human brain, especially the male brain. Look up the “pathogen stress hypothesis.”

  5. Joe says:

    This was a fun clip. I hope to see you do more TV. You’re smart and your smile is captivating and infectious.

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