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Thursday, March 10, 2016

CON MEN | Victor Lustig's Ten Con-mandments

"Count" Victor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower not just once, but twice. He told his victims in a hotel room that it was found to have structural and engineering defects and was going to be torn down to make room for other buildings and that he was commissioned to auction off the tower.

He was extremely talented, spoke five languages, could handle a pack of cards as deftly as any blackjack dealer or magician. He was described as the smoothest con man that ever lived.

The Smithsonian Magazine has printed Lustig's Ten Con-mandments:
1. Be a patient listener (it is this, not fast talking, that gets a con-man his coups).
2. Never look bored.
3. Wait for the other person to reveal any political opinions, then agree with them.
4. Let the other person reveal religious views, then have the same ones.
5. Hint at sex talk, but don’t follow it up unless the other fellow shows a strong interest.
6. Never discuss illness, unless some special concern is shown.
7. Never pry into a person’s personal circumstances (they’ll tell you all eventually).
8. Never boast. Just let your importance be quietly obvious.
9. Never be untidy.
10. Never get drunk.

Seems to me these are good principles for any discourse. I often wonder why con men get into their line of work. The ones I have known have had talents that are highly valued in the mainstream economy.

He was sent to Alcatraz in 1936 for 20 years and died in captivity in 1947.