Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, And The Hidden Powers Of The Mind

Hardcover | June 19, 2012

byAlex Stone

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An exploration of the world of magic that teaches the reader many tricks--including how better to understand the real world.
 
Alex Stone--journalist and part-time conjurer--is here to amaze you. But first he had to amaze his fellow magicians. Fooling Houdini is his fascinating, revealing, and nailbiting account of his attempt to win the 23rd World Championships of Magic, the "Magic Olympics," the largest and most prestigious competition of its kind.
 
Alex Stone managed to qualify for entry and began preparing to astonish people who astonish others for a living. It didn''t help his nerves that he was placed on the bill straight after Canadian magician Shawn Farquhar, winner of more magic competitions than anyone in history. Stone''s preparations and participation provide his readers with in-depth exploration of the world of magic, and magic''s meaning.
 
He spills many professional secrets, arguing that what is important is to ask questions about what lies behind the tricks: how the mind perceives the world and parses everyday experience, about how the mind works--and why sometimes it doesn''t, about why people need to believe.
 
As we become more attuned to the limits of our own perception, we become better at distinguishing reality from illusion, at reading the angles and decoding the fine print, he says. We gain intuition and understanding into how people behave. We even learn ways to influence this behavior. This makes us less susceptible to all manner of deception.
 
It is to gain and maintain this sixth sense that Alex Stone--a schoolboy prestidigitator--has continued performing magic well into adulthood. In Fooling Houdini he takes us into that other world, populated by truly astounding characters, and leaves us with a heightened sense of awareness about the supposedly real world.

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From the Publisher

An exploration of the world of magic that teaches the reader many tricks--including how better to understand the real world.  Alex Stone--journalist and part-time conjurer--is here to amaze you. But first he had to amaze his fellow magicians. Fooling Houdini is his fascinating, revealing, and nailbiting account of his attempt to win the 23rd World Championships of Magic, the "Magic Olympics," the ...

ALEX STONE has written for Harper's, Discover, Science and other magazines. He graduated from Harvard University and has a masters degree in physics from Columbia University. He grew up in Wisconsin, Texas, and Spain. He lives in New York City.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 8.5 × 5.6 × 1.1 inPublished:June 19, 2012Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385667574

ISBN - 13:9780385667579

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great introduction to the magician sub-culture 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.
Date published: 2012-11-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Read The book was interesting as you follow the writer's fascination with magic over the years. This culminates in the author's learning about how people really see (or don't see - a major element of illusions) and the nature of perception. The book was an enjoyable, quick read but I would have preferred more on perception etc. I had purchased the book as I understood it was about perception but this really only occupied the last few chapters. I would recommend this book as a good read and interesting for someone curious about a person folowing their passion and a light introduction to human perception.
Date published: 2012-08-20