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Duped: Compulsive Liars and How They Can Deceive You

Abby Ellin

8 Reviews

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Popular psychology

In DUPED, New York Times journalist Abby Ellin explores those lured in and betrayed by compulsive liars.

'Abby Ellin's writing is everything her fiance pretended to be: witty, vulnerable, brave, smart, and honest.' -- Michael Finkel, author of THE STRANGER IN THE WOODS

While leading a double life would seem to be the exclusive domain of psychopaths and undercover agents, thousands of 'regular people' keep extraordinary secrets from those closest to them. Duped is an investigation of compulsive liars - and how they fool their loved ones - drawing on Abby Ellin's personal experience.

From the day Abby went on her first date with The Commander, she was caught up in a whirlwind. Within five months he'd proposed, and they'd moved in together. But there were red flags: strange stories of international espionage, involving Osama bin Laden and the Pentagon. Soon his stories began to unravel until she discovered, far later than she'd have liked, that he was a complete and utter fraud.

When Ellin wrote about her experience in Psychology Today, the responses were unlike anything she'd experienced as a journalist. Legions of people wrote in with similar stories, of otherwise sharp-witted and self-aware people being taken in by ludicrous scams. Why was it so hard to spot these outlandish stories? Why were so many of the perpetrators male, and so many of the victims female? Was there something universal at play here?

In DUPED, New York Times journalist Abby Ellin explores the secret lives of compulsive liars, and the tragedy of those who trust them - who have experienced severe, prolonged betrayal - and the terrible impact on their sense of reality and their ability to trust ever again. Studying the art and science of lying, talking to victims who've had their worlds turned upside down, and writing with great openness about her own mistakes, she lays the phenomenon bare. Ellin offers us a shocking and intimate look not only at the damage that the duplicitous cause, but the painful reaction of a society that is all too quick to blame the believer.

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Praise for Duped: Compulsive Liars and How They Can Deceive You

  • Abby Ellin has been Duped, and in this fascinating book, she reveals how and why ordinary people are often deceived by extraordinarily mendacious con artists. Ellin's personal story leads her to delve deep into research of why people lie and how they lie, and she discovers how common treachery can be. If you've ever been lied to, or told a lie, you will want to read this surprising, personal, and funny investigation of deception - Piper Kerman, #1 bestselling author of Orange is the New Black

  • Abby Ellin's writing is everything her fiance pretended to be: witty, vulnerable, brave, smart, and honest. - Michael Finkel, author of The Stranger in the Woods

  • I couldn't put it down!

  • - Gretchen Rubin, #1 bestselling author of The Happiness Project and The Four Tendencies

  • From the wildly entertaining opening chapter of Duped, Abby Ellin explores the why and how of great imposters, many of whom occupied important swaths of her life. Swerving from the deceitful, manipulative, pathological narcissists to the professional use of lie detectors, she makes researching dishonesty an entertaining and fascinating read - Jonna Hiestand Mendez, former CIA chief of disguise

  • I loved this book, and not just because of Abby Ellin's masterful storytelling. This is a book that can save lives. She paints an exquisite portrait of what life with a predator is like. No child should go to college without first reading this book - Joe Navarro, former FBI agent and bestselling author of Dangerous Personalities

  • Thrilling, weird, and funny, Duped reveals the psychology of gaslighting, the prevalence of gullibility, and the wisdom in paranoia. Abby Ellin is a shrewd chronicler of cons and a gracious friend to the duped. - Ada Calhoun, author of Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give

  • Candid and entertaining, Ellin's book offers insight into the socially and psychologically complex nature of deceit as well as the choices she made as a duped woman. Lively, provocative reading - Kirkus Reviews

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