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    Can 5GW Theory Benefit by Studying Con Men and Cons?

    I just caught up on the last few episodes of the TV show Lost which includes a confidence man (“Sawyer“) as of the characters.

    I wonder if 5GW Theory, which emphasizes manipulation, can be fleshed out some by knowledge of the history and techniques of con men and their games.

    Does anybody know of a good book / document / link that can server as an overview of the subject?

    (This post was cross-posted to Dreaming 5GW

    9 Responses

    1. Was goona comment over at D5GW but I’m having a typekey issue there.

      This topic, along with stage magic/illusion, has been one of the interests I have tried to explore and both are very frustrating to research. For the most part, the groups that practice those crafts are very insular and very secretive either because what they do is illegal, or if you know the ‘how’ they cease to be interesting. The closest I have come is “The Art of Deception” and “The Art of Intrusion”, both by Kevin Mitnick. Being a computer security guy you probably recognize the name. Most of the incidents described in the book deal with hacking and phishing but the principles of why people are likely to go along with the ‘con’ should still apply.

      As far as ‘social engineering’ goes it is all about getting people to do things and having them think it is their idea to do so in the first place. Very 5GW in my opinion.

    2. Yeah, I am familiar with Mitnick. I can’t bring myself to buy his books though.

      There were a few books on Amazon. I’ll see if I can get something through the library. My uncle is a retired Detective Inspector, maybe I’ll reach out him for some info or resources. We don’t have too much contact, so that is iffy.

    3. Social Engineering is 5GWish.

    4. I bought and read both his books. There were fantastic. I just went to his website – mitnicksecurity and read an article about Mitnick published in Playboy. That guy is scary!

    5. He is a con man at heart. I think he is still conning – even if he isn’t computer hacking anymore.

    6. Nice find.

      Speaking of, I found an example of 5GWish / stage magic / warfare c/o the History channel in the WW2 career of magician Jasper Maskelyne.


      It seems very obvious to say that his efforts were focused on observation (5GWish) but what I think is more telling is how he designed many of his largest deceptions to take advantage of what the observer ‘expected’ to observe.

    7. That was pretty interesting read. His world was the physical dimensions. How would a magician work in the moral and mental dimension to do something analogous? There may be some 5GW nuggets in that type of though experiment.

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