The art of the con operates on the simple premise that there’s a sucker born every minute. A successful conman can charm all four legs of a horse by simply telling people what they want to hear. If you enjoy the guilty pleasure of reading the true life stories of grafters and their ilk, then get your paws on The Ten Greatest Conmen written by a couple of Englishmen by the name of Roger Cook and Tim Tate whom—according to their bio—have spent at least thirty years exposing crooks, cons and villains.
These are the fascinating true stories of men with extremely wonky moral compasses.
Take for instance the story of a Frenchman who tried to sell the Eifel Tower for scrap metal, then there’s the semi-literate ex-car salesman who made a mint convincing people that he was an agent of the British secret service. My personal favorite is about the guy who sold to none other than press titan Rupert Murdoch, a pair of shoes supposedly last worn by Jimmy Hoffa.
Did you ever take one of the many ‘lose weight’ supplements that invade the airwaves these days? Remember TRIMit? How about Bai Lin Tea? That’s the story of a chap hailing from Australia’s Gold Coast who made a fortune out of the gullibility and insecurity of people from Australia, England and America. Incredibly this scumbag celebrated his 40th birthday at 10 Downing Street.
From offshore banking buccaneers to real estate salesmen selling land that only exist in their imagination, these are fascinating stories. But the thing that boggles the mind though is the fact that some of these guys kept getting away with it simply because, for some bizarre reason, most governments see a con as a ‘lesser crime’ or because the victims of these conmen were too ashamed to admit that they’ve got taken.
I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while now, finished it in one sitting, and although the book is a good read, I got to say that it leans heavily on British slant, some slang—not too much, some inside jokes and whatnot. Overall the stories feel a bit dated as most took place in a pre-internet era, and they tend to be a bit convoluted especially the ones dealing with the banking industry, then again I’m not banker so…
My take -away? There’s a sucker born every minute indeed.
I’m not a book reviewer nor am I hoping to become one. I’m only reviewing books that I choose to read so don’t ask me to review your book I DON’T DO THAT, sorry.