Lying the American Dream from Hollywood to Wall Street

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Pub Date 22 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 07 Jan 2022

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“Kerbeck’s juicy memoir tells riveting tales [with] the thrill of a spy novel. . . Kerbeck bares all of his wild business secrets within the world of corporate espionage” --Foreword Reviews

"Robert Kerbeck has mastered the art of social engineering, or what he calls 'rusing', and taken it to a whole new level."  —Frank Abagnale, author of Catch Me If You Can
B-list actor, A-list corporate spy

In the world of high finance, multibillion-dollar Wall Street banks greedily guard their secrets. Enter Robert Kerbeck, a working actor who made his real money lying on the phone, charming people into revealing their employers’ most valuable information. In this exhilarating memoir that will appeal to fans of The Wolf of Wall Street and Catch Me If You Can, unsuspecting receptionists, assistants, and bigshot executives all fall victim to “the Ruse.”

After college, Kerbeck rushed to New York to try to make it as an actor. But to support himself, he’d need a survival job, and before he knew it, while his pals were waiting tables, he began his apprenticeship as a corporate spy.
As his acting career started to take off, he found himself hobnobbing with Hollywood luminaries: drinking with Paul Newman, taking J.Lo to a Dodgers game, touring E.R. sets with George Clooney. He even worked with O.J. Simpson the week before he became America’s most notorious double murderer.
Before long, however, his once promising acting career slowed while the corporate espionage business took off. The ruse job was supposed to have been temporary, but Kerbeck became one of the world’s best practitioners of this deceptive—and illegal—trade. His income jumped from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars a year.
Until the inevitable crash…
Kerbeck shares the lies he told, the celebrities he screwed (and those who screwed him), the cons he ran, and the money he made—and lost—along the way.
“Kerbeck’s juicy memoir tells riveting tales [with] the thrill of a spy novel. . . Kerbeck bares all of his wild business secrets within the world of corporate espionage” --Foreword Reviews


Advance Praise

"Social engineering, or scamming, is something I did at an early age. Robert Kerbeck has mastered the art of social engineering, or what he calls 'rusing', and taken it to a whole new level. In a world of too much information, Kerbeck has used that to his great success."
— Frank Abagnale, author of Catch Me If You Can and Scam Me If You Can

“An irresistible portrait of actors and grifters in the work-a-day world of corporate espionage.”
— Jess Walter, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Beautiful Ruins

"Ruse is a Tale of Two Lives: Kerbeck's acting career and his fascinating life as a corporate con man/spy. If you like celeb gossip, you’ll go for the first, but I prefer the second since it exposes the very dark, greedy, narcissistic side of Wall Street and Big Business in general. Kerbeck out-cons the top con-artists -- sophisticated CEOs. And he does it over the phone. Wow! In my day I had to fly around the world!"
— John Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

"Kerbeck has a very compelling writing style and can pull off humor, too, which isn’t easy. I really enjoyed Ruse.”
— Bradley Hope, New York Times bestselling author of Billion Dollar Whale

"Ruse lives at a truly unique intersection of Hollywood meets Wall Street, and I found myself laughing with and rooting for Robert throughout this book. His personality leaps off the page — he’s a great storyteller and Ruse is a can’t miss best seller."
— Rob Golenberg, Executive Producer of the critically acclaimed Showtime series Your Honor

"In Ruse, Robert Kerbeck reveals himself to be a scoundrel, a raconteur, and a masterful storyteller. In the course of becoming an unlikely corporate intelligence spy, his various masks are so seamless that readers are swept along in his mythic transformation. Sometimes, memoirs become self-involved and forget to give readers a good story. Not here. What other book features a narrator attending a soiree at Paul Newman’s Manhattan apartment, and appearing in an O.J. Simpson exercise video? And that’s just for starters. This compelling page-turner is both insightful and an absolute hoot.”
— Sue William Silverman, author of How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences

"Robert Kerbeck’s memoir, Ruse, is a riveting tale of desire and deception in a world where lies are necessary currency and where con artists can end up convincing everyone, even themselves. Ruse offers a fascinating portrait of a life negotiated through a web of fabrications."
— Lee Martin, Pulitzer Prize Finalist and author of Gone the Hard Road

“I loved Ruse! What a crazy story, and believe me, I know crazy. Successful spies are great storytellers, and Robert Kerbeck ranks up there with the best of them."
— Valerie Plame, author of Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House

"A deliciously outrageous, you-can’t-make-this-shit-up caper. Kerbeck takes us on his unlikely transformation from almost-a-star actor to multi-millionaire corporate sleuth. As it turns out, you don’t need to climb the greasy rungs of the ladder to make a killing; all you need is a telephone and your wits.”
— Erik Edstrom, author of Un-American: A Soldier’s Reckoning of Our Longest War

"Social engineering, or scamming, is something I did at an early age. Robert Kerbeck has mastered the art of social engineering, or what he calls 'rusing', and taken it to a whole new level. In a...

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Featured Reviews

I found this book fascinating. It was stranger than fiction with the surprises it revealed. A biography of how the author got seduced into the world of lying to get inside information, for profit. As well as how it takes over his entire life at one point. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Robert Kerbeck, and the publisher.

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An interesting insight in how corporate America have plausible deniability for the gathering of information. How the information is highly prized. The effect on Roberts life and his choices. The economic collapses and the ripple effect on business and home.

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I was more than pleasantly surprised when I read Ruse and can honestly say it is the most enjoyable biography I have ever read. Robert Kerbeck pulls no punches when he gives his opinions and views on well known and not so well known individuals. At times I was so engrossed, it was like reading a mystery thriller by one of my favourite authors and I had difficulty putting it down. A no holds barred breath of fresh air with just the right amount of name dropping.. Highly recommended.

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This is pretty interesting. This is the opposite of the average person's experience, which is probably why it makes a good book. And of course that this actually happened makes it more compelling. Recommended. Thanks very much for the free ARC for review!!

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Ruse by Robert Kerbeck was a wild ride! As I was reading, I couldn't stop thinking that Ruse would make a blockbuster movie (similar to Catch Me if You Can) and hoping that a major studio had already bought the rights! The author has had an incredible life and is a very gifted storyteller. Highly recommend!

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