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Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married
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Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Abby Ellin was shocked to learn that her fiancé was leading a secret life. But as she soon discovered, the world is full of people who aren't what they seem.

From Abby Ellin's first date with the Commander, she was caught up in a whirlwind. Within six months he'd proposed, and they'd moved in together. But soon, his exotic stories of international espionage began to unrave
Kindle Edition, 238 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by PublicAffairs
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3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  150 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
"He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second time and third time till at length it becomes habitual." - Thomas Jefferson

Abby Ellin was duped by a man called "The Commander". He told her that he was a doctor with a secret job, he worked for the government and could not give her details about what his job ensued. He went on secret missions and sent her back amazing photos of his time fighting espionage overseas. The only problem, he was not who he said he was,
Valerity (Val)
Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married

After the author, a writer who considers herself pretty savvy when it comes to people, finds that she’s been totally conned in her personal relationship, she decides to write a book about that experience and more. She tells what happened with “The Commander” as she called him, a doctor who was a Marine and took off all over doing deeds of good at a moment’s notice. All top secret and hush-hush, of course. She had a healthy sk
I was listening to this as everything about AJ Finn/Dan Mallory came to the surface and couldn't stop thinking "of course."

Ellin's story begins with being duped by a man called The Commander. He seemed too good to be true and, ultimately, he was. He played her, as well as numerous women before her, and that's where the book gets really great. Ellin digs into what makes some people choose to develop false identities and what it is that makes others believe it.

I admit to being someone who is ext
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Surprisingly captivating! This book had me turning the pages well after midnight and well after my eyes wanted to close. The author tells the stories of duplicitous individuals in a fascinating and engaging manner. I was hooked form page one. I appreciated the scientific anecdotes alongside the enthralling narratives. Five stars.
Marianne K
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Wow, a book about dupers, and liars, what's not to like!? A very interesting subject that the Liberal author could not resist using to make multiple digs at the current administration in D.C. I was willing to forgive the first time right at the beginning of the book, and then the second time a few pages later, but it wore thin after a while. If I'd wanted to read a political book skewering Donald Trump, then I would have sought one out. I really dislike it when authors do this. Why alienate one- ...more
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly fascinating. While author got duped, she writes about lying and deception and how we all can fall various ways. Excellent read!

Thanks to author,publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Abby Ellin explores the reality of the pathological liar in our society in all it's permutations. She was involved in 2010 with the Commander, a man who boasted of CIA links, covert missions, and links to famous people. As a woman who was married to a pathological liar, I could readily relate to her bewilderment at being duped - these liars are eminently persuasive.
The book is fascinating- exploring the concept on a personal, and then historical level.
3.5 stars. Really interesting look at lying liars who lie. It's crazy to think about the people around us who are living in a puddle of lies. I knew a woman in college who was a compulsive liar, but luckily I wasn't in close enough range to suffer from it. Ellin tells about her ex-fiance who told so many lies (about his job, his family, his relationships, his OTHER FIANCEE, etc) that it's not surprising that it unraveled. We like to tell ourselves we'd be smarter and less gullible, but that's no ...more
Tracy Caruso
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. If you’re interested in this subject matter, you’ll love it. You’ll learn some very interesting things. Ex: I didn’t know that gaslighting is illegal in England. I also learned about affinity fraud. This was a fascinating read. Author Abby is the type of person I want to be friends with.
Robyn Murphy
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This isn’t a memoir but rather a study of human nature, and I found it completely engrossing. Ellin, an engaging writer, is able to merge raw reflections and science into something I truly wanted to read.
Jennifer Mcgarey
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars I loved the narrator’s voice. Non-fiction - interesting topic.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book should be required high school reading. Well written - easy to read quickly. Great immersive read.
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
DNF at 53%
Nov 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: psychology
Author Abby Ellin starts off her book by telling the story of how she almost married a con man in the Navy. Apparently all her investigative journalism skills were in hibernation during the time she dated and was engaged to the man; since he told her story after story that made him sound like a superhero and a secret agent. Yes, she had doubts, doubts that were shouted out by "lonliness, desire, compromise, love, his Big Life and his upstandingness". Not trying to be overly suspicious here, but ...more
The Bookish Hooker
Abby Ellin has been duped. The man she loved and hoped to marry has been found to be a fraud...a lying, cheating fraud. And she's about to tell you all about it and the psychology behind these career liars and what makes them do what they do. The premise of the book is fascinating. I've seen stories like hers on shows like Dr. Phil and Dateline, but never knew the victim's side of the story so in depth. We look on these cases and think they could never happen to us, but the author shows us just ...more
Jill Blevins
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you are willing to trust people, enjoy seeing the good in everyone, and have been taken advantage of more than you care to admit, read this book immediately. It will open your eyes and save you a lifetime of harsh, expensive, gut wrenching pain and misery. I promise.

The first chapter is like a beautiful yet touching New Yorker story about a con artist and the methods he uses to inflict the author into becoming untrusting of her own usually strong judgment. It's a perfect story of how a strong
Steve Silberberg
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well written, well researched, compelling, engaging and funny. Duped is about (and written by) a woman who was engaged to a pathological liar who regularly told grandiose but still believable lies, not only as a cover for his indiscretions but also because prevarication defined him and masked his private psychological shortcomings. The book also delves into the dupeage of others and seeks deeper answers by researching lying, trust and unspoken social contracts. Although the book isn't meant to b ...more
Rhonda Lomazow
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Abby Ellin a sophisticated New Yorker an author an adult fell in love with a man she met on line .Known as The Commander a Beverly Hills dr who gave up His practice doing covert work for the government yes even medically examined osama Ben Ladin.What a man what a great guy but after their engagement all his stories began to unravel she had been duped .After leaving the relationship she begins to write about scammers hearing from people who had this happen to them.A fascinating shocking read high ...more
Jenny Martin
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book. The most enjoyable parts for me were the author's personal stories/ongoing narrative and the stories of others who got duped or duped people. I was less interested in the scientific information about why people got duped than the motivations of those who did the duping, but I'm sure many others would enjoy the "dupee" information equally or more than the "duper" info. All in all, a great book!
Feb 02, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5. I liked this book more than I thought I would. I had been expecting something more along the lines of scams a la Madoff (and he is discussed), but Ellin more details pathological liars, personality traits and explores interesting questions like non-consensual sex as sexual assault (since the consent was not informed consent), how victims are viewed and truth in our society.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book gave me perspective, I know not everyone is honest with you all the time, even I am not for sure. The author did a good job of narrating each chapter and linking it with her personal life so that we could trust her words. So far, an enjoyable read.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I really like the first part of the book, where she told her story. The rest I wanted to get through so I dedicated an afternoon and made it through with a bath and a power nap. These kinds of stories need to be told and I applaud her for telling hers.
Feb 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting and engaging, I found myself laughing outloud while being horrified at the acts of deception humans perpetrate against each other. While at times tedious, I thoroughly enjoyed the joyful misandry and fascinating psychology Ellin weaves through her story telling.
Linda Scott
Feb 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Pure garbage. I wanted to finish just be done with it, but had to give up less than half-way through. I don't like to be angry about how badly something is written. If you don't have anything to say, don't say anything.
Susan bly
Jan 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Don't buy this book

I found this book to be boring and a complete waste of time. Save your money and attention. Don't buy this book.

An entertaining book and well-written. The author mixes stories of various cons with research material from various sources/
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: dnf-2019
First part of this book was very interesting when she uncovered someone she was seeing as a liar. Then the book started to drag as far as I was concerned and I lost interest. DNF
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well at least I know why I like to believe all my patients now... great read
Marybeth Taranow
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
rated it liked it
Jan 22, 2019
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Abby Ellin is an American author and journalist. The author of two books, including Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married, she writes regularly for the New York Times, and has contributed to Time, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast, among other publications.

Ellin grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, and attended Brookline High School. She holds a BS in Communications f
“In plain English: people who lie to themselves make good liars. And good liars usually have more sex.” 0 likes
“Like Ingrid Bergman in the film Gaslight, whose husband has convinced her that she’s delusional when all along he’s set her up, the victims often lose faith in their ability to determine what’s real and what isn’t. (“Gaslight” has since become a psychological term, meaning to deliberately manipulate someone.) Being duped contaminates your entire sense of self.” 0 likes
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