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  • Published: 5 July 2012
  • ISBN: 9781446473306
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

Fooling Houdini

Adventures in the World of Magic




An insider's tour through the strange and secretive world of magic - exploring the ancient art of deception and the mysteries of human nature

Alex Stone, part of the underground magic circuit, is determined to take his lifelong hobby to the professional level, to reach the pinnacle of this bizarre world and become a master magician.

Combining his passion for magic with his studies in Physics, Stone takes us on a journey through a strange and colourful subculture of brilliant characters - a blind card sharp, street-hustlers, Las Vegas showmen and world-leading scientists - as he seeks answers to the questions about the limits of perception and the psychology of deception and decision-making. By pulling back the curtain, Stone reveals the principles and history of some of the greatest tricks ever performed.

  • Published: 5 July 2012
  • ISBN: 9781446473306
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the author

Alex Stone

Alex Stone has written for Harper’s, Discover, Science, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in New York City.

Praise for Fooling Houdini

An enthralling journey into the world of magic. Alex Stone writes with a winning voice that you'll want to follow anywhere.

Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein

Bursting with energy, inventiveness, and a sense of wonder on every page.

Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics

Fooling Houdini is a delight. He writes with wit and scientific sharpness and grand humour. He immerses us in a fascinating world few have entered.

Buzz Bissinger, author of Father's Day and Friday Night Lights

Mr. Stone’s chequered history in magicianship sets the stage for Fooling Houdini, his cheery, inquisitive book about a world where math, physics, cognitive science and pure geeky fanaticism intersect. While it nominally describes the author’s efforts to improve his sleight of hand and regain his self-respect, Fooling Houdini is more than a series of anecdotes. It’s an effort to explore the colourful subculture of magic devotees and the serious, theoretical basis for the tricks they do.

New York Times

In Fooling Houdini, Stone recounts with humour and humility his love affair with magic and the experience it affords him... To wrtie a captivating and charming book all about magic is a hard trick to pull off, but like all good magicians, Stone makes it seem effortless.

Catherine de Lange, New Scientist

This is a rare book on magic: it doesn’t unmask tricks. Instead, it exposes the strange sub­culture surrounding magicians and magic and the murky realms they rub up against…This book is clever and winningand it’s well written, too...In turning our attention away from the magic and towards the magicians, Stone has pulled off an excellent trick.

Sunday Times

A journalist with a background in science neatly describes the tricks of the magician’s trade…The book, of course, treats magic more as science than superstition, and here Stone’s point is well made…A peek behind the curtain…As he shows us the limits of our logic, Stone’s enthusiasm rubs off.

Financial Times

fascinating … As an American science journalist, Stone is certainly interested in what magic reveals about our mental make-up – and very good indeed at writing comprehensibly about it. But as a magician himself, he’s a huge and infectious fan of the whole business. As a result, he plunges us deep in the history, traditions and lore of a world that, by its very nature, is normally kept secret from the layman. He exposes the techniques used by people who pretend not to be magicians – including psychics of all kinds. He also introduces us to an enormous cast of colourful characters, past and present.

Readers Digest

The book is not a how-to guide, but it delves into the psychology and cognitive science behind magic…Aspiring pick-pockets will enjoy his explanation of how to misdirect someone’s attention while removing their watch.

Times 2

The real pleasure of his beguiling, meandering narrative is not the destination but the rococo scenery en route. ****

Francis Wheen, Mail on Sunday

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