Victor Lustig’s Ten Commandments for Con Men

con manVictor Lustig, the “man who sold the Eiffel Tower Twice,” offered a list of what he considered the ten commandments for con men:

  • Be a patient listener (it is this, not fast talking, that gets a con man his coups).
  • Never look bored.
  • Wait for the other person to reveal any political opinions, then agree with them.
  • Let the other person reveal religious views, then have the same ones.
  • Hint at sex talk, but don’t follow it up unless the other person shows a strong interest.
  • Never discuss illness, unless some special concern is shown.
  • Never pry into a person’s personal circumstances (they’ll tell you all eventually).
  • Never boast – just let your importance be quietly obvious.
  • Never be untidy.
  • Never get drunk.

Useful advice, regardless of whether you are swindling people.  It is particularly untrustworthy for someone to agree with your personal political or religious beliefs outright.  Think about it.  Most people would offer conviction or defense for their beliefs, a sign that they have thought about it for some time.  If someone simply agrees with you frequently on these matters, then perhaps this person’s motives are in question.

I happen to agree strongly with “never get drunk.”  Never will you see a man of character stumbling about, unable to speak properly after a few drinks.  Know your limits.

Always remember that someone trying to take advantage of you is unnecessarily agreeable.  Test them often.  Stare them straight in the eyes.  You know better.

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6 Comments


  1. Con-man: Confidence man

    So yea he knows exactly what he’s doing/ talking about if he sold the Eiffel tower twice lol.

    Another great post.

    Reply

    1. Thanks. I wonder…did the same idiot buy it twice?

      Reply

  2. Love this post,
    I’ve always been interested in con-men because of how they carry themselves.

    Reply

  3. A lesson in confidence is a lesson in confidence. Some people use it for good, others for evil. Learning to spot tricksters and swindlers by paying close attention to behavior will always give you a leg up on people.

    Thanks for the comment.

    Reply

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