However, circus owner Jim Rose is on a mission to educate people about the tricks used by con sharks, hucksters and pimps to snag your money with a new book, Snake Oil (Bartleby Press).
Some of the chapters discuss the secrets behind offbeat circus stunts and surefire ways to win bar bets but Rose also wanted to explain the mind control techniques most popular with pimps.
He says theres a small section of humanity that is very, very cruel and he figures being aware of psychological manipulation can prevent you from being their prey.
Although Rose doesnt advocate using the grifting techniques for evil purposes, he says there can be important social benefits from, say, knowing how to win free drinks in bars.
As he puts it, bar bets help hone skills to take people down a path and, once you learn that, that path will end in gold.
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