By the 1970s Howard Hughes was the “invisible billionaire”. A business tycoon, a daring aviator and Hollywood Lothario, Hughes had an amazing life story… but hiding away in luxury hotels he wasn’t sharing his memories with anyone.
Then the recluse told a respected publishing house – via intermediaries – that he was working on an autobiography. The book would be a blockbuster… but it was all a lie.
Cautionary Tales is written by me, Tim Harford, with Andrew Wright. It is produced by Ryan Dilley, with support from Courtney Guarino and Emily Vaughn.
The sound design and original music is the work of Pascal Wyse. Julia Barton edited the scripts.
Thanks to the team at Pushkin Industries, including Mia Lobel, Jacob Weisberg, Heather Fain, Jon Schnaars, Carly Migliori, Eric Sandler, Emily Rostek, Royston Beserve, Maggie Taylor, Nicole Morano, Daniella Lakhan and Maya Koenig.
Further reading and listening
Hoax by Clifford Irving
The Hoax by Stephen Fay, Lewis Chester and Magnus Linklater
The Confidence Game by Maria Konnikova
Jeffrey Goldberg “Liar, Liar” The New Yorker 16 April 2007
Transcripts and statements archived in the New York Times 10 January 1972