Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. It's not about cultivating a fake identity, but tapping into the strength of a personality that might reside dormant within you. But the con man is more than that. "But of course you have a grudging admiration for them because they're really, really good at what they do. A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con [Knopf, $26.95]. Con men have advanced the nation credit against its own future legitimacy. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. This con artist understood a truth entrepreneurs would do well to learn -- … In its most common form, the swindler convinced his mark that he was the lucky recipient of insider information on the stock exchange. Today is National Voter Registration Day! And Ponzi still lives among us; since Bernie Madoff's expose, the Securities and Exchange Commission has prosecuted over 200 people for ponzi schemes. He advertised himself as a schoolteacher and collected advance subscriptions for his memoir--which he never delivered. They are its logical extension. In a recent Unreasonable Institute post, she argues that "such tricksters actually have quite a bit to teach entrepreneurs today about hustle, salesmanship, and the art of a pitch" before laying out five specific skills that legitimate businesspeople could helpfully lift from con artists. Part of HuffPost Entertainment. The most notorious swindler of the American colonies was Tom Bell, an imposter who passed as a gentleman in order to gain entry into wealthy homes, borrow money from his new friends, and then make off with their valuables, including the clothes needed for his next imposture. Bucket shops arose to sate the appetite. And, Maria Konnikova reminds us, con artists… Unfortunately, when they try to claim their winnings, they find out that the only winner was the con artist. 3. The name 'con artist' really does capture it. As much as we may loathe the behavior of the expert flimflam man, we also have to admire his grasp of human psychology and skills of persuasion -- skills it's possible to use for far more admirable ends, according to author Alexa Clay. Con artists take this approach to extremes, but putting on a metaphorical mask (to a lesser extent) is a great technique for any entrepreneur beset by a lack of confidence. He is the bad-boy cousin of the self-made men, and a direct descendent of mythic anti-heroes like cowboys or noir detectives, who exploit the ragged edges of the modern world. It doesn't take much to detect the legacy of these confidence men in today's economic landscape. Forgeries greased the engine of trade. In a world where deceit often masquerades as faith and cynicism as philanthropy, that “something” just might be a con game. Whether you're in a writing rut, need an idea for a new medium, or are tired of making excuses about finding the best story idea, this list of 365 story ideas makes … Also, cash in on the social capital of your mentors, parties, organizations, or even university, to get a borrowed legitimacy bump. He would place ever-increasing orders for stocks on the assumption that he couldn't possibly lose. The con man is an innovator in the financial world, the one who susses out opportunities and opens up markets ahead of the slow-moving and hide-bound elite. An intricately designed piece of theater, the big con consisted of actors, extras, sets, costumes, and nine scripted acts. There, a clerk or farmer could place a side bet on the direction of a given stock without actually purchasing any shares. Creating a link between established enterprise and something new gives others a metaphorical bridge into your idea," advises Clay. Entrepreneurs should borrow a bit of this wisdom and understand that "a prototype is worth one thousand words.