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Robert Kerbeck didn’t grow up wanting to become a spy.  He just wanted out of the family car business.  An Ivy League education in his back pocket, he had a more noble profession in mind—to be an actor.  But to support himself, he needed a survival job. And before he knew it, while his acting peers were waiting tables, he was beginning his apprenticeship as a corporate spy.

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Buy Today - Ruse: Lying the American Dream from Hollywood to Wall Street!
  • “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 and Scam Me If You Can
  • “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 coauthor 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
  • RUSE exposes the 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
  • “With honesty and verve, Robert Kerbeck delivers 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
  • “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
  • “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.”

    - Lee Martin, Pulitzer Prize Finalist and author of Gone the Hard Road
  • “In RUSE, Robert Kerbeck reveals himself to be a scoundrel, a raconteur, and a masterful storyteller. In the course of becoming an unlikely spy, his various masks are so seamless that readers are swept along. Sometimes memoirs 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 an absolute hoot.”

    - Sue William Silverman, author, How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences
  • “The best kind of nonfiction – so visceral it feels like fiction.”

    Malibu Burning
  • “An engrossing, thorough, and revealing portrait of a beloved beachside community confronting disaster.”

    - Kirkus Reviews
    Malibu Burning
  • “A lucky break for any reader: an honest-to-god writer dropped in the center of the Malibu fire. Thrilling, well-researched, and occasionally light-hearted, this is a unique and special book.”

    - Paul Kolsby, writer for the critically acclaimed Netflix series, Ozark
    Malibu Burning
  • “Robert Kerbeck puts a human face on the type of tragedy that grabs headlines but then fades from our collective memory all-too-soon. Blending personal narrative and investigative research, Kerbeck shows us the real story of what happens when a community faces down disaster.”

    - Brandon Spiegel, Co-Founder and Editorial Director, Narratively
    Malibu Burning
  • “The name ‘Malibu’ has a lot of baggage-playground of the rich, birthplace of Gidget – but what Robert Kerbeck shows us is the real Malibu: a small town much like any other across America, economically diverse, and in the instance of the Woolsey Fire, betrayed by the very entities that were supposed to defend it. What you also see rising up out of the ashes is community, a new generation of leaders, and hope. Riveting and heartbreaking, but also inspiring.”

    - Liz Ziemska, Pushcart Prize winning author of Mandelbrot the Magnificent
    Malibu Burning
  • “Rather than focus on the enormity of Los Angeles County’s largest wildfire in recorded history, Robert Kerbeck takes a much more personal and thoroughly riveting approach, allowing the reader to see the Woolsey Fire through the eyes of individuals who lived through it. Each chapter tells a different story, and together they provide deep insight into the fire’s effect on one community.”

    - Sharan Street, former managing editor, LA Weekly
    Malibu Burning


Kerbeck’s essays and short stories have been featured in numerous magazines and literary journals. One of his stories was adapted into the award-winning film, Reconnected.  A lifetime member of The Actors Studio, Kerbeck has worked extensively in theater, film, and television, appearing in lead roles in major shows and earning several awards. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robert resides in Malibu.

Also from robert kerbeck

  • Narratively

    “My Acerbic Aerobics Class with O.J. Simpson”

  • Corporate Catfishing
    [Podcast Episode]

    Robert Kerbeck Goes Corporate Catfishing

  • Shondaland
    [Ruse Feature]

    “Robert Kerbeck’s American Dream”

  • New York Journal of Books
    [Ruse Review]

    “Kerbeck’s astounding story is fraught with tension”

  • New York Post
    [Ruse Feature]

    “Corporate Spying Alive and Well”

  • Malibu Burning

    #1 New Release

  • Los Angeles Magazine

    “License to Kill”

  • Shondaland

    “California’s Courageous Firefighters”

  • Los Angeles Times

    “The Accidental Firefighter”

  • Corporate Spy

    My High-Flying Life as a Corporate Spy Who Lied His Way to the Top

  • Johnny B
    [Short Film]
  • Follicular Rivalry
    [Short Story]
  • The Robber
    [Short Film]
  • Memoirist

    “Disaster Parenting”

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