Poker skills: Playing against the odds is a rational way to win

Success isn't about finding one great way to achieve something and sticking with it. It's about looking at all the possible options and computing success through analysis.

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Success isn't about finding one great way to achieve something and sticking with it. It's about looking at all the possible options and computing success through analysis. It works brilliantly in poker, and it works well in life, too.

How con artists manipulate your emotions in genius (and evil) ways

Psychologist and writer Maria Konnikova on how to out-smart a con artist.

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The Ben Franklin effect is an oddly simple phenomenon. It was first discussed, as one could guess, by the man himself in his autobiographical writings. Benjamin Franklin used it on legislators that he was at odds with, to make them be more kind to him.

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Why Our Hearts and Minds Are Easy Targets for Con Artists, Holy Men and Cult Leaders

Psychologist and writer Maria Konnikova looks at the mechanisms of human nature that have allowed con artists, religious authorities, and cult leaders to prevail for thousands of years.

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What is the difference between a cult and a religion? Perhaps not much. There are a lot of questions in this world, and people start asking at a young age. When a baby with a rattle bangs it on the table, it learns that the rattle makes noise. The baby is fascinated by cause and effect. That’s why they like to pull your hair and feel the tension in the strands. It’s why they are always throwing things from their high chairs.

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A con artist sold the Eiffel Tower, twice — by listening

We tend to think con artists are smooth talkers and persuasive sellers, but listening is their most important quality, says Maria Konnikova, who has written a new book on con artistry.

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We tend to think con artists are smooth talkers and persuasive sellers, but listening is their most essential quality, says Maria Konnikova, who has written a new book on con artistry. Here she discusses the case of Victor Lustig, a Frenchman who sold the Eiffel Tower twice for scrap metal to two different buyers. Too embarrassed at being taken in, the buyers never reported Lustig.

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