I love books about pranks, scams, bar bets, and cons. Not because I want to cheat people, but because scams and cons are a fascinating way to look at human nature. Sucker bets reveal our natural tendencies to be gullible, greedy, sympathetic, friendly, and suspicious.
A few books in this genre that I especially like are The Big Con by David Maurer, Pranks by Re/Search, How to Play in Traffic by Penn & Teller, The Big Book of Stuntology by Sam Bartlett, and Tricks with Your Head: Hilarious Magic Tricks and Stunts to Disgust and Delight by Mac King and Mark Levy.
The Modern Con Man -- How to Get Something for Nothing, is another book in the same genre. Written by "America's last sideshow entertainer," Todd Robbins, this book is filled with cheap sucker bets that, if used will win you either free drinks or a punch in the nose.
You'll learn how to:
• Almost always win at the game of Nim (where you dump 20 matchsticks on the bar, and take turns with another player by removing one, two, or three matches from the pile in the hopes of leaving the other player with the last match, making you the winner)
• Tie a knot into a necktie by holding each end of the tie in one hand and not letting go.
• Hold a lit match upside down for 20 seconds without getting burned,.
• Beat a sucker with lots of seemingly can't-lose card and coin tricks.
My 10-year-old daughter loved all the tricks I showed her. Most of these short cons are delightful for both the prankster and the mark, unless they involve large wagers. Perform them at your own risk.
We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War is a new book by veteran Doug Bradley and Craig Werner, professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, about soldiers’ musical memories and the impact of James Brown, Eric Burdon, Country Joe McDonald, and other popular artists on the Vietnam […]
Pop Chart Lab was founded in 2010 by a book editor and a designer, with the modest goal of rendering all of human experience in chart form. Since then they’ve charted a wide array of cultural touchstones. A Visual Guide to Drink is Pop Chart Lab’s comprehensive volume of its most important topics in graphical […]
Hilarious and silly, A Book of Surrealist Games is a fantastic introduction to the surrealist mind-set. In addition to just being fun to peruse, this collection of written, visual and verbal games is great for exercising your mind, and staying creative. In addition to the games, this oddly organized book is packed with poems, illustrations […]
This minimalist multi-tool will see to it that instead of rocking a tool belt, you’ll carry just one. It’s shaped slightly like a key and weighs less than an ounce, so it plays nice with your keychain. The strong surgical-grade stainless steel blade will last, and is handy for everyday tasks like opening boxes and […]
The Code Black is our top-selling drone of all time—and for good reason. This powerful, palm-size drone is not only insanely fun to fly, but can capture some serious video footage from up above. With a flight time of about 10 minutes and an ultra-smooth ride, it’s a great introductory drone for anyone looking to […]
Don’t get handcuffed by Apple’s standard 3-foot Lightning cord (that you’ve most likely already lost), treat yourself to 10 feet of luxurious charging convenience. The Colossal is certified by Apple for its high-end quality, and designed to support full use of your phone while you power up. You can also get it in a 2-pack […]