Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks & the Hidden Power of the Mind

Alex Stone. Harper, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-176621-3
Entranced by magic tricks at age five, science journalist Stone argues that stage magic “lets us suspend adulthood and retrieve... the childlike sense of astonishment that fades as we age.” Having taken “an almost perverse joy in stupefying [the] illustrious faculty” at Columbia, where he received a master’s in physics, Stone began to discover “connections between magic and science,” and this book explores those linkages in depth. Beginning in Stockholm with the 2006 World Championship of Magic, he attended a Society of American Magicians initiation and visited Tannen’s, the New York City store where magicians share secrets. Seeking formal training, Stone arrived in Vegas for classes at the Magic and Mystery School, returning to New York for intense sessions with a sleight-of-hand expert in false shuffles and card cheats. Along with magic history, he covers con games and grifters, finger fitness, studies in attention and perception, the psychology of touching, and tactile card skills of the legally blind. Stone also details how he made enemies when he violated the magician’s code of secrecy by revealing tricks in a Harper’s article. With many fascinating anecdotes up his sleeve, Stone conjures an entertaining book. Agent: Elyse Cheney, Cheney Literary. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 06/01/2012
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-211622-2
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-209801-6
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-307-36821-8
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-385-66757-9
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4464-7330-6
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-385-66758-6
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-434-01966-3
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-06-176622-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-211623-9
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