Simon Lovell's "How to Cheat at Everything: A Con Man Reveals the Secrets of the Esoteric Trade of Cheating, Scams and Hustles," is a veritable encyclopedia of cons, scams, tricks and rip-offs. [The section on sleight of hand] bogged down a little for me -- unlike, say, The Big Con, which tries to give a representative sample of the world's con-games, Lovell is bent on detailing all of them. But this is more than made up for by the charming, breezy anaecdotes about rip-off bar-bets, boiler-room operations, and so on. I picked this up as reference for stories -- con-jobs are great fiction fodder -- but found myself absorbing its message in pro-active self-defense. Reading this thing cover-to-cover can leave you feeling pretty damned paranoid.
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