Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind

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9780061766220: Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind

From the back rooms of New York City’s age-old magic societies to cutting-edge psychology labs, three-card monte games on Canal Street to glossy Las Vegas casinos, Fooling Houdini recounts Alex Stone’s quest to join the ranks of master magicians.

As he navigates this quirky and occasionally hilarious subculture populated by brilliant eccentrics, Stone pulls back the curtain on a community shrouded in secrecy, fueled by obsession and brilliance, and organized around one overriding need: to prove one’s worth by deceiving others.

But his journey is more than a tale of tricks, gigs, and geeks. By investing some of the lesser-known corners of psychology, neuroscience, physics, history, and even crime, all through the lens of trickery and illusion, Fooling Houdini arrives at a host of startling revelations about how the mind works--and why, sometimes, it doesn’t.

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Review:

Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2012: Before reading this book, I thought magic was a little inane. The magicians of my memory wore capes and makeup. They pulled doves from their hats and deployed a lot of smoke. But in Fooling Houdini, Alex Stone reveals a world far deeper and fascinating than I ever imagined. After failing at the Magic Olympics in Stockholm, Stone gets serious about the art of illusion. He attends magic schools and seeks out one of the best "card mechanics" in the world. Along the way, he learns how criminal empires were built on age-old magic scams. He studies the art of mind-reading. And he explains how magicians exploit cognitive blind spots to make the impossible happen in public. He pursues every dark nook of the magic world in pursuit of the ultimate goal – a routine so mindboggling that it would fool other master magicians. Does he succeed? I'd tell you the answer, but that would ruin the magic. --Benjamin Moebius

From the Back Cover:

When Alex Stone was five years old, his father bought him a magic kit. Years later, in New York City, he plunged headlong into a vibrant underground magic scene populated by a fascinating cast of characters: from his gruff mentor, who holds court in a rundown pizza shop, to one of the world's greatest card cheats, who also happens to be blind. As he navigates this quirky and occasionally hilarious subculture, Stone pulls back the curtain on a secretive community organized around a single need: to prove one's worth by deceiving others. In trying to understand how magic fools us, Stone uncovers a wealth of insights into human nature and the nature of perception. Through his investigation of the lesser-known corners of psychology, neuroscience, history, mathematics, and even crime, all through the lens of trickery and illusion, Fooling Houdini arrives at a host of startling revelations about how the mind works—and why, sometimes, it doesn't.

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Book Description Harper Paperbacks, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the back rooms of New York City s age-old magic societies to cutting-edge psychology labs, three-card monte games on Canal Street to glossy Las Vegas casinos, Fooling Houdini recounts Alex Stone s quest to join the ranks of master magicians. As he navigates this quirky and occasionally hilarious subculture populated by brilliant eccentrics, Stone pulls back the curtain on a community shrouded in secrecy, fueled by obsession and brilliance, and organized around one overriding need: to prove one s worth by deceiving others. But his journey is more than a tale of tricks, gigs, and geeks. By investing some of the lesser-known corners of psychology, neuroscience, physics, history, and even crime, all through the lens of trickery and illusion, Fooling Houdini arrives at a host of startling revelations about how the mind works--and why, sometimes, it doesn t. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780061766220

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