When Alex Stone was five years old, his father bought him a magic kit - a gift that would spark a lifelong love. Years later, while living in New York City, he discovered a vibrant underground magic scene exploding with creativity and innovation and populated by a fascinating cast of characters: from his gruff mentor, who holds court in the back of a rundown pizza shop, to one of the world's greatest card cheats, who also happens to be blind. Captivated, he plunged headlong into this mysterious world, eventually competing at the Magic Olympics and training with great magicians around the globe to perfect his craft.
From the back rooms of New York City's century-old magic societies to cutting-edge psychology labs; Three-Card Monte on Canal Street to glossy Las Vegas casinos; Fooling Houdini recounts Stone's quest to join the ranks of master magicians. As he navigates this quirky and occasionally hilarious subculture, Stone pulls back the curtain on a community shrouded in secrecy, fueled by obsession and brilliance, and organized around a single overriding need: to prove one's worth by deceiving others.
But his journey is more than a tale of tricks, gigs, and geeks. In trying to understand how expert magicians manipulate our minds to create their astonishing illusions, Stone uncovers a wealth of insight into human nature and the nature of perception. Every turn leads to questions about how the mind perceives the world and processes everyday experiences. By investigating 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.
©2012 Alex Stone (P)2012 Audible Ltd
If you're looking to understand how the mind works through magicians, mentalists etc. as I was, then this book barely gives a glimpse of that and you'll be disappointed.
I want my money back. The subtitle of the book and the description on Audible are misleading.
If however you're a big magic fan and want to know about that "world" and want to listen to one persons story about their life in that "world", then this could be for you.
"A magical read"
I was unsure that I would like this at all. I needn't have worried. This book keeps getting better. A mix of biography and magic facts with quick romps through science all of which is as informative as it is entertaining. If like me you were tempted but not sure- jump in and give it a listen.
"I enjoyed it very much"
Read by the author, so it gets good marks right from the start. In spite of the long title, this book is mostly about one man's interest and experiences with magic. As a budding magician I found it very interesting, and was able to understand most of what he was referring to, but I do not think that those who are not not familiar with the tricks or terms would appreciate it as much.
"Love this book."
Always been a fan of magic and had never heard of this magician but thought I'd give it a try, really enjoying it so far and unlike most audiobooks the narrators voice is nice. Interesting listen if you don't like fiction like me.
"An interesting view into another person's world."
Not a life changer, but a very informative step into another person's world.
It didn't teach me as much about the techniques as I had expected, but it compensated by giving a glimpse into a community that are as single minded and focused as any I could imagine. It got me looking up some the players in the book on YouTube- Richard Turner in particular is astonishingly talented and skilled. The amount of sheer graft behind the tricks is something I wasn't aware of before the book, and has given me a whole new level of respect for the magician.
The reader was fine- but not exceptional. The style of the writing was a bit clunky, but made up for this with sheer enthusiasm!
Glad I read (listened to) it.
Very well narrated and after the first chapter really gets going. Some fascinating insights into the world of magic that you never knew existed.
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