Fooling Houdini

Fooling Houdini

Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind

eBook - 2012
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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.
Publisher: New York : Harper, c2012.
ISBN: 9780062098016
0062098012
Characteristics: 1 online resource : ill.
Summary: 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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Quetzlzacatenango
Jan 23, 2013

I almost didn't read this book after reading Ricky Jay's oft quoted and rather hostile review. However, being more interested in magic subculture and how things are done rather than the effect itself, I decided to read it anyway. Chapter 6 shed some light on any hostility towards the author and I must say I agree with him that understanding what goes into magic allows you to appreciate it on another level. Stone's story is a tale of obsession and colorful characters with a sprinkling of mathematics and science. I have to say I even felt moved by his personal triumph (of sorts!) at the end and his final chapter has some wonderful insights that make this worth reading.

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horthhill
Nov 19, 2012

I quite liked "Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind" by Alex Stone. This isn’t a how-to book. Although several card tricks are outlined in broad terms, no detail recipe for reproducing any tricks is given. Rather the book is more of a memoir of the author’s long fascination with magic and his more recent obsession as he seriously tries to develop his skills. If nothing else, it is certainly a very entertaining read, and a great introduction to the magician sub-culture.

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