Mark Twain? Baltasar Gracian? John Maynard Keynes? Norman Angell? Joreth? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: An energetic liar can confuse, mislead, and deceive people. Yet, in many cases, that same liar is unable to reverse the deception. Hoodwinked people embrace their misperceptions. Here is a pertinent adage:
It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.
Mark Twain has received credit for this statement, but I have been unable to find a citation, and I have become skeptical. Would you please explore this topic?
Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence that Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) authored this remark. The earliest close match known to QI appeared in a tweet from @Joreth on January 10, 2011. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1
“It’s easier to fool ppl than to convince them that they’ve been fooled” ~Mark Twain #skeptic #atheist #skepticism
Thematically related statements have a long history, and Twain did express similar sentiments in 1906 as shown further below.
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.