Which one are you?


“There are only two kinds of people in the whole wide world, hustles and suckers…[With suckers,] let their stupid brains stay asleep in their chump world. Keep your brain honed to razor sharpness in the secret world of con.” – Iceberg Slim

Iceberg Slim inspired a lot of people. Not only was he the reason why almost every rapper from Ice Cube to Ice-T put “ice” in their name, but his books inspired a legion of young hustlers in the same way that the movie Scarface inspired most of the dope dealers of the 80’s and 90’s.

Most people missed the bad endings and the tragic truths contained in Slim’s book like they did with Scarface, but I guess that’s how 85% of people look at life anyway, huh?

In fact, Slim wrote: “Chumps prefer a beautiful lie to an ugly truth.”

Robert Greene_48 Laws of Power

And as Robert Greene, author of “The 48 Laws of Power”, says about this quote in his online blog:

“The sucker wants to believe certain things about life and so projects these wishes on the real world, seeing what he wants to see, not what is. A hustler thrives on reality, ugly or unpleasant — finds his poetry in the real. He sees the whole table an plays it as it lays.”

Greene uses quotes from Iceberg Slim’s classic novel Pimp” – like the one above  – to illustrate some of the major qualities that separate true hustlers from marks and suckers. Here are (7) seven others:

1. “No point in getting upset about the unknown. Only suckers do that.” 

♠ A hustler has to deal with danger and risk. It’s part of the game. You cannot control it all, nor would you want to. Chaos, unknown factors are not something to be anxious about. They represent opportunities  for new angles, new hustles. The sucker cannot stand the unknown and so either fouls up by getting impatient and over anxious, or retreats to a false world of security and the known.

2. “Stop letting your mind leapfrog like a screwy sucker.” 

♠ A sucker’s mind moves all over the place , forgetting the order of things and making chaos where there is none. Hustlers have to stay cool and focus on the chain of events as they unfold, the various angles that are being played, with the possible reactions. A hustler never forgets where the 8 ball lies and how to get to it methodically.

3. “I don’t lag my bills like a sucker.”

♠ Suckers have the wrong relationship to money. They try to save pennies here and there, or grasp for the big kill that has all the odds stacked against it. Money brings out all their neuroses. A hustlers understands money. It is a tool for power, for con, and a resource for pleasure. And he always knows the odds.

4. “Don’t get foxed out of your bankroll. The con is made for everyone, you know.” 

♠ Anyone is susceptible to being conned. The wisest hustler can suddenly fall for the worst tramp and lose all of his money on her. The hustler is aware of his own weaknesses and openings to con. This awareness is his edge. A sucker thinks he knows it all and cannot be fooled. That is his fatal flaw.

5. “Never forget that a grifter’s word has to be like a gold bond to his associates.”♠ 

♠ Honor among thieves, in other words. Lower-level hustlers forget this and the importance of reputation. They get lost in the moment and screw the wrong person. Greed should never trump consideration for your credibility. If you don’t understand the subtleties of this, your are a sucker.

6. “I went to the phone to call the Goddess. I walked away from it. It was a sucker play to call her so soon.” 

♠ Impatience is the hallmark of the sucker, and it is never clearer than in matters of seduction. He can’t wait to call, spilling out his guts with a confessions  of love, or try to revel how  eager he is to impress and please. Emotion trumps strategy. Patience and time is the hustler’s creed. ” I play for time and see what happens,” says Elizabeth I, the great hustler Queen of England.

7. “You blew your top like a mark. You should have stayed cool and figured some con with me to separate that sonuvabitch from a few grand.”

♠ Anger is deadly and stupid. In a competitive and dangerous world, anger is a great temptation. But only a sucker gives into natural anger at the state of things by reacting with rants and outbursts. The hustler plays the bigger angle and gets revenge on the target by hitting him in his pocketbook, or his reputation. Anger is not repressed but properly channeled.


REMEMBER: Sucker or Hustler? Mark or Con? Victim or Survivor…better yet, Victim or Victorious? It’s up to you. The weak are often weak because they choose to stay asleep. It’s up to you to think differently .










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