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.
Published by the fine fringe culture explorers at Daily Grail, the new essay anthology Spirits of Place features stories by the likes of Alan Moore, Maria J. Pérez Cuervo, Warren Ellis, Gazelle Amber Valentine, Iain Sinclair, Mark Pesce, and many other mutant thinkers riffing on how we connect with the locations we inhabit. You can […]
Anthropologist Emma Tarlo just published a new book, Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Hair, investigating the weird culture and business surrounding hair, from Jewish wig parlors to its use in Hindu temples to hair loss clinics. In an excerpt at Smithsonian, Tarlo tells of the hair trade, tracing the path from the growers to the […]
In this Scientific American video, Rubik’s Cube master Ian Scheffler, author of the new book Cracking the Cube, explains some of the math behind “speedcubing.” Scheduler’s book sounds fascinating even though the only way I could get my Rubik’s Cube solved is to hand it to my 10-year-old son’s friend Luc who was the first […]
The Boing Boing Store’s Gift Guide is full of ideas for pretty much anyone in your life like hipster ice cub trays, Xbox controllers, Halo Boards, and even diamond necklaces. As always, all products in the Boing Boing Store come at great discounts, too. Shop by price bucket starting at under $20. Under $20:Bloxx Jumbo Ice Trays […]
Unlike traditional lighters, the SaberLight features an electronic plasma beam that’s both rechargeable and butane-free. This sleek lighter is even approved by TSA, so you’ll never be stuck buying lighters you’ll just have to throw away partially used. For some people, like me, this is a pretty big game-changer. The SaberLight’s beam is actually both hotter and cleaner […]
Holiday shopping is in full swing, and the Striiv Touch is one of the best gift ideas I’ve landed on. Its simple design works for females and males, and its wide range of features makes it suitable for even the non-fitness enthusiasts in your life.Unlike traditional fitness trackers, the Striiv Touch also acts as a smartwatch. It […]