I just discovered Iceberg Slim. I'm going to read about him voraciously for the next hour. He has grabbed my attention with phrases such as:
"You can't learn con by memorizing words. Every mark and every play of any con game is different. You have to memorize the elements of con." A sucker wants formulas he can memorize and plug into situations. He has no flow because he is so rigid in his mind. The hustler has flow because he plays for the overall game, knows the elements, can improvise and make angles where no one else sees them.
All this inspired by a post over at the Robert Greene Blog.