by Stone, Alex
An exploration of the world of magic that teaches the reader many tricks--including how better to understand the real world.
When Alex Stone was five years old, his father bought him a magic kit--a gift that would spark a lifelong love. Years later, he discovered a vibrant New York underground magic scene exploding with creativity and innovation and populated by a fascinating cast of characters. Captivated, he plunged headlong into this mysterious world. From the back rooms of New York City's century-old magic societies to cutting-edge psychology labs, 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. 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.