TO A REMARKABLE MAN....

Nelson Mandela

Detecting the Scam

 

READ CHAPTERS 1-3

Read Preface
and Chapters 1-3

 

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Obama, Osama and Trump — And Nelson Mandela's Ghost

(May 7, 2011)



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THE DUCK SCHOOL

The Duck School is the school of common sense. It is my invention, but not really. It is the oldest and largest school in the world—a school as old as time itself. It is the school of common sense. Its teachings couldn't be easier to understand—or more difficult to follow. It is the scammers’ kryptonite.

Mastering the rules of the The Duck School is also a critical component to developing superior negotiating skills—as is overcoming the 10 obstacles to following those rules.

Incidentally, these teachings and obstacles apply not just to scams or to complex negotiations, but also to our everyday personal relationships...

The Rules of the Duck School

 

RULE #1: We must trust ourselves...

If something thing looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have to trust ourselves that what we are looking at might just be a duck.

RULE #2: Forget the messenger...

Kennet LayIf someone tells us the duck is a swan, it won’t matter how rich, well-educated or respected that someone might be. Forget the messenger. Until we are offered a convincing explanation as to why what we are looking at is a swan, it will remain a duck.

RULE #3: Demand the explanation...

MadoffIf we’re really not sure what we’re looking at, that explanation becomes even more important. And if that explanation is not offered, we must demand it. And if they tell us the explanation is confidential and they can’t share it with us, just walk away.

RULE #4: Repitition changes nothing...

Irishman or duckIf someone repeats a dozen times that the duck is a swan, it won’t turn the duck into a swan.

RULE #5: Beware of the need for speed...

If we are asked to act quickly to identify the duck as a swan, we have to ask why there is a sudden need for speed.

RULE #6: Smell the smell...

smellIf something does not smell quite right about the duck or the person selling it, we should take a moment to breathe deeply and smell the smell. As we breathe deeply and smell the smell, we have to trust ourselves to recognize any unusual odors.

RULE #7: Beware of reputation-by-association...

If someone tells us the duck is a swan and that we can trust him because, in another context completely, others have trusted his judgment, this won’t turn this particular duck into a swan.

RULE #8: Why us?

As we think about the enormous return we are being offered by the proposed deal, we have to ask why we were so fortunate to have been singled out for this wonderful opportunity. Why us?

RULE #9: Has the messenger invested?

If we are leaning towards buying the swan the messenger is selling, why not ask if he has bought too?

The Obstacles to applying the Rules

 

  • #1
  • #2
  • #3
  • #4
  • #5
  • #6
  • #7
  • #8
  • #9
  • #10

#1: We see only what we want to see...

We often tend to see only what we want to see—and we sometimes won’t even look for what we don’t want to see…

 

#2: We can't see or hear what isn't there.

We sometimes can’t see what isn't there and what isn’t said—and we often don’t even try…

 

#3:We focus only on ourselves...

We often tend to focus only on ourselves and not on the other side or on anything that doesn't appear directly related to us.  We allow our ego and hubris to get in the way…

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#4:We have trouble freeing ourselves of our assumptions...

We often tend to view the world solely through the lens of our own assumptions. We often find it difficult to free ourselves of those assumptions —assuming we even want to…

 

#5: We embrace those simple explanations...

We are often too eager to embrace simple explanations without questioning some basic assumptions of those explanations— particularly when those simple explanations confirm what we want to believe…

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#6: Our deference to hubris and high office.

We sometimes allow the hubris and high office of others to sway us and cloud our judgment—as if they know better than us that the duck is a swan. They don’t…

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#7: Our optimism and trust...

We are all naturally optimistic, but our optimism sometimes turns into blind optimism and trust. This is because we sometimes want to believe something so badly…

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our myopia

Because we often focus so intently on the short-term and on instant gratification, we sometimes can’t see the long-term consequences of our actions and decisions...

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#9: That peer pressure...

We will sometimes find ourselves having to balance our personal interests against the interests of a larger group we may represent. In those cases, we have to do the right thing and consider putting the interests of others ahead of our own interests. In those cases, we will have to withstand the peer pressure of those more interested in themselves and whoa re against you doing the right thing.

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#10: Misery loves company...

We always feel better if someone else has done what we anyway want to do. And when more than one person has done it, we feel even better. We are then tempted to rely on whatever due diligence they have done, without doing our own...

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Duck

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