THE LONG CON

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“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
George Orwell

THE LONG CON

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Inventing Anna

Don’t Miss This Exciting Series on Netflix
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Inventing Anna Showrunner Shonda Rhimes

Why She Never Wanted to Meet the Real Anna Delvey

By Beatrice Verhoeven — The Hollywood Reporter

Shonda Rhimes is one of the most prolific producers, writers and showrunners in Hollywood, one who can count shows like Grey’s AnatomyScandalHow to Get Away With Murder and Bridgerton among her credits. But recently, she dabbled in her first limited series, Netflix’s Inventing Anna, now nominated for three Emmys, including best limited series.

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The Confidence Game

Why we fall for it every time

By Maria Konnikova

Think you can’t get conned? Think again . . .

A compelling investigation into the minds, motives, and methods of con artists—and the people who fall for their cons over and over again.

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

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Theory of Mind

what chess and drug dealers can teach you about manipulation

By Jonny Thomson — BigThink

Theory of mind is the ability we all have to see things from another’s point of view. It’s essential in all our interactions.

Thinking ahead is one hallmark of intelligence. Without it, we’re simply slaves to our instincts and reflexes. The role of forward thinking when dealing with others is addressed in a recent study out of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. It shows just how far ahead we think when we interact with — and manipulate — other people.

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How Manipulators & Sociopaths Trick People

into doing anything they want

By Donna Andersen — Your Tango

You, too, may have been convinced to comply with outrageous demands, doing things that you knew were wrong.

But why?

The answer lies in the essence of our humanity — the power of our minds and social instincts.

Our realities are strongly influenced by our minds. How we perceive the world, the possibilities we envision, and what we experience can all be created by what we believe.

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They Wanted Something for Nothing

The Many Cons of The Yellow Kid

By Dean Jobb — CrimeReads

He was America’s “greatest con man,” self-proclaimed and widely celebrated. But what was the real story of Joseph Weil?

Joseph Weil — most people knew him only by his nickname, the “Yellow Kid” — looked like a wealthy, respectable citizen. The mustache of his neatly trimmed, reddish beard turned up slightly at each end, mimicking the mischievous smile below. The reporters who covered Chicago’s busy criminal courts were always glad to see him, and over drinks he regaled them with stories of his latest confidence tricks.

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The Believing Brain

From ghosts and gods to politics and conspiracies

By Michael Shermer

How we construct beliefs and reinforce them as truths.

In this work synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist, historian of science, and the world’s best-known skeptic Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world.

Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. 

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Why Facts Don’t Change Minds

cognitive biases and brain biology

By Keith M. Bellizzi – The Conversation

Our worldview forms during childhood as a result of our socialization within a particular cultural context. Our views get reinforced over time by the social groups we keep, the media we consume, and even the way in which our brains are wired. Challenging our worldviews with facts can feel like an attack on our personal identities and can often result in hardening our positions. Researchers assess how we can open our minds and explore facts that may go against our personal worldviews.

People form opinions based on emotions, such as fear, contempt and anger, rather than relying on facts. New facts often do not change people’s minds.

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The Third Man Factor

Surviving the Impossible

By John Geiger

An extraordinary account of how people at the very edge of death often sense an unseen presence beside them who encourages them to make one final effort to survive.

This incorporeal being offers a feeling of hope, protection, and guidance, and leaves the person convinced he or she is not alone. There is a name for this phenomenon: it’s called the Third Man Factor.

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“If you heave an egg out of a Pullman car window anywhere in the United States you are likely to hit a fundamentalist.”
— H.L. Mencken,1927

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Malcolm Nance on the Danger of Conspiracy Theories

By Isaac Chotiner — The New Yorker

The former naval intelligence officer Malcolm Nance discusses his fears about the Trump Presidency and whether he believes Trump and members of his circle are foreign agents.

“You are watching a strategic plan that’s being executed by Russia. None of this is piecemeal; none of this is small-time—it is a long ball game.”

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“Today, science reporting in the American press is freer of humbug and misinformation than ever before in history.”
— Martin Gardner, 1952

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Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science

The curious theories of modern pseudoscientists

By Martin Gardner

This witty and engaging book examines the various fads, fallacies, strange cults, and curious panaceas which at one time or another have masqueraded as science. Not just a collection of anecdotes but a fair, reasoned appraisal of eccentric theory, it is unique in recognizing the scientific, philosophic, and sociological-psychological implications of the wave of pseudoscientific theories which periodically besets the world.

Here you will find discussions of hollow-earth fanatics like Symmes; Velikovsky and wandering planets; Hörbiger, Bellamy, and the theory of multiple moons; Charles Fort and the Fortean Society; dowsing and the other strange methods for finding water, ores, and oil. Also covered are such topics as naturopathy, iridiagnosis, zone therapy, food fads; Wilhelm Reich and orgone sex energy; L. Ron Hubbard and Dianetics; A. Korzybski and General Semantics. A new examination of Bridey Murphy is included in this edition, along with a new section on bibliographic reference material.

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Why Some People Are More Prone to Believing Conspiracy Theories

a neuroscientist explains it

By Francesca Benson — IFLSCIENCE!

Recently, droves of people have hurled themselves headfirst into the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. While some of the more outlandish theories make for a fun read, many take them completely seriously, declaring that they see a sinister underbelly to everyday life.

Neuroscientist Shannon Odell explains why in this video from Inverse.

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Conspiracy Theories Are a Mental Health Crisis

The complex relationship between mental health, conspiracy theories, and disinformation that no one’s talking about. 

By Rebecca Ruiz — Mashable

Every day, people who spend time online face a deluge of conspiracy theories, misinformation, and disinformation. Plenty of them move along, clicking past outlandish or false content that’s designed to lure them in. Some, however, become ensnared for reasons experts don’t fully understand. People quickly slip into dark corners of the internet and find a community of believers, or even zealots, who swear they’ve discovered hidden truths and forbidden knowledge.

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The True Believer

thoughts on the nature of mass movements

By Eric Hoffer

“Its theme is political fanaticism, with which it deals severely and brilliantly.” — The New Yorker

A stevedore on the San Francisco docks in the 1940s, Eric Hoffer wrote philosophical treatises in his spare time while living in the railroad yards. The True Believer—the first and most famous of his books—was made into a bestseller when President Eisenhower cited it during one of the earliest television press conferences.

Called a “brilliant and original inquiry” and “a genuine contribution to our social thought” by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., this landmark in the field of social psychology is completely relevant and essential for understanding the world today as it delivers a visionary, highly provocative look into the mind of the fanatic and a penetrating study of how an individual becomes one.

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Moonwalking with Einstein

The art and science of remembering everything

By Joshua Foer

The blockbuster phenomenon that charts an amazing journey of the mind while revolutionizing our concept of memory.

Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer’s yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top “mental athletes.” He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist’s trade to transform our understanding of human memory. From the United States Memory Championship to deep within the author’s own mind, this is an electrifying work of journalism that reminds us that, in every way that matters:

We are the sum of our memories.

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Reading Transforms Us

By Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D. — Psychology Today

How books can help us develop our key emotional and cognitive skills.

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Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling

By Scott Myers

Your Protagonist, must resonate with a reader.

What that boils down to is creating a sense of empathy on the part of the reader.

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