A former con man explains that con men are evil and can’t be trusted

A former con man explains that con men are evil and can't be trustedSimon Lovell, professional liar

Magician and former card shark Simon Lovell on con men:

"…you have to figure out someone’s wants and needs and convince them what you have will fill their emotional void." A con man is essentially a salesman – a remarkably good one – who excels at making people feel special and understood. A con man validates the victim’s desire to believe he has an edge on other people.

It requires avid study of psychology and body language. It’s an amazing paradox – a con man has incredible emotional insight, but without the burden of compassion. He must take an intense interest in other people, complete strangers, and work to understand them, yet remain detached and uninvested. That the plan is to cheat these people and ultimately confirm many of their fears cannot be of concern…

Con men tend to be excellent conversationalists. "Many men kissed the Blarney Stone," Mr Lovell likes to say, "a con man has swallowed it." A con man puts a victim at ease by telling a story that reveals his own rather similar anxieties, thereby forging a "mutual understanding" of sorts.

"Now you can prey on their emotions and do evil – because con men are evil, undeniably so," Mr Lovell says.

But think about this: can we trust Mr. Lovell?

How to Cheat at Everything – Over lunch with Simon Lovell, a fascinating former card shark, Allison Schrager learns all sorts of things about how swindlers operate…More intelligent life>>

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