Yellow Kid Weil: Autobiography of the greatest con man in American history

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17 Responses to “Yellow Kid Weil: Autobiography of the greatest con man in American history”

  1. Paul R says:

    “from the turn of the 19th century up to WWII”  You don’t see as many 140-year careers  these days. Today’s conpersons have gotten soft.

    • flosofl says:

      Pretty sure “turn of the 19th” is correct, indicating 1899->1900 (or 1900->1901 for pendants). 

      • Wordguy says:

        Wow, that’s an old necklace.

      • Andrew Forrest says:

        Pretty sure you’re wrong! Turn of the 20th C was 1901; turn of the 19th C was 1801.

        • flosofl says:

          Via Wikipedia it appears we are both wrong (and right).

          According to the Chicago Manual of Style, there is no common agreement about the phrase “turn of the ____th century.” For instance, if a statement describes an event as taking place “at the turn of the 18th century”, it could refer to a period around the year 1700 or one around the year 1800. As such, they recommend using only “turn of the century,” and only in a context that makes clear which transition is meant.

    • John Smith says:

      I like when people correct authors over minor, insignificant errors.

  2. paul beard says:

    Isn’t a lack of self-awareness a feature for con-men, rather than a bug? It’s all about projecting a false reality: why not start with yourself?

    • ackpht says:

      I think that’s true- to be a really fluent liar, you have to in some way believe in the lie yourself. Whatever lie/reality alert mechanism that would cause conflict in a “normal” brain is turned off so that the conflict cannot impair the delivery of the lie.

      And then some people believe that if they have an opportunity to cheat someone, they’d be foolish to pass it up, and any fault lies with the person dumb/conceited/greedy/dishonest enough to be cheated.

  3. Pavlo says:

    It is really a wash-wash. It’s full of good old con artists anecdotes, albeit Mr. Weil takes credit for all of them. Would be OK book if it were under 50 pages, instead he goes on repeating himself for 200 pages! It’s not comparable to Big Con, nor to The Man Who Sold Eiffel Tower.

  4. Brainspore says:

    The Yellow Kid operated in the gold age of the American con…

    Joke’s on you, Cory. It was just a “fool’s gold” age.

    • jimh says:

      Ain’t no golden age like the current one. I’m sure the Kid would have enjoyed hearing about fleecing millions of people at once, getting caught, and then having the Fed cool out the marks (and kick in an extra $700B).

  5. efergus3 says:

    Wait – “the greatest conman in American history”?  Wasn’t that George W.?

  6. GregS says:

    If he were alive today, we’d probably be referring to him as “Senator Weil”. 

  7. gilgar13 says:

    Great book, but why not read it for free at the online library here, http://www.archive.org/details/yellowkidweilaut00weil  instead of buying at Amazon?

    • Michael_J_Walsh says:

      Don’t like Amazon?  Want to support the folks who reprinted this?  Buy direct from the publisher … they earn more that way.

  8. Dave H says:

    They say there is a book that is given to all junior congressmen on how to conduct them selves in washington, now we know what book it is 

  9. pginna says:

    There’s good stuff on Yellow Kid Weil & what made him  a successful con in BOZO SAPIENS: Why to Err Is Human by Michael & Ellen Kaplan: http://www.bloomsburypress.com/books/catalog/bozo_sapiens_pb_911

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