Self-esteem is reliance on one’s power to think. It cannot be replaced by one’s
power to deceive. The self-confidence of a scientist and the self-confidence of
a con man are not interchangeable states, and do not come from the same
psychological universe. The success of a man who deals with reality augments
his self-confidence. The success of a con man augments his panic.
The intellectual con man has only one defense against panic: the momentary
relief he finds by succeeding at further and further frauds.