Fooled by Hubris: Conning the Smart and Educated

An article in the Dec. 22 – Jan 4 issue of The Economist cites research by Tamara Frankel, a law professor with Boston University: “Ms Frankel studied hundreds of financial cons, looking for recurring patterns. One set that pops up time and time again describes the traits of the victims. They tend to be excessively trusting, ha…

  1. Nanda Panjandrum

    Indeed…Ricochetoisie excepted, of course.

  2. DocJay

    Excellent correlation.

  3. It reminds me of the program my granddaughter participated in where this theater group held ‘auditions’ and those ‘chosen’ (everyone who…) could pay to go to a camp for the especially talented. I delicately mentioned that I thought it was a scam, and luckily her parents realized it but thought it would be fun for her.  The school hosts and advertises it every year. I will add the company did remakes themselves (self-congratulations in the programs) of stories and plays which some years were simply horrible. How can you ruin Jack and the Bean Stalk? 

    I’m not against this sort of thing, but as you said it’s based on the semblance of talent, and exclusivity when it’s really not.

  4. R. Craigen

    Ever since I started as a professor at U. Lethbridge in 1991 I’ve regularly received invitations to have my name listed in various “Who’s who” publications.  Then you read the fine print.  It costs a bundle to get your name in.  Then you have to buy a volume for yourself — they’re insanely expensive.  And recommend several colleagues to receive the same “honour”.

    So transparent.

    And yet … every year thousands upon thousands of my colleagues shell out to this vanity scam.  And now my ex-students, entering the profession, occasionally send me breathless emails exclaiming that they’d been nominated for inclusion in the Who’s Who.  When I explain to them, I feel like the mean uncle telling the kids that Santa doesn’t really exist, so grow up.

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