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Amazon.ca - Best 100 Books of 2012
“With many fascinating anecdotes up his sleeve, Stone conjures an entertaining book.”
“Stone's engaging journey into his amateur magic career is as enlightening as it is disturbing. Not only does he reveal closely guarded secrets hoarded, in some cases, for thousands of years but he tears open the psyche of the archetypal magician. It mirrors too closely the geekiness, brilliance and single-mindedness illusionists seek to hide, even from themselves.”
—Winnipeg Free Press
“If you're not that interested in the secretive world of magic, just disappear. But if you're fascinated by odd little corners of society, Fooling Houdini is not only informative, but highly entertaining. Stone has pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat.”
“An eye-opening, irresistible journey into the world of magic. Stone has written a masterful story that is bursting with energy, inventiveness, and a sense of wonder on every page. I don't even like magic, but I couldn't put Fooling Houdini down!”
—Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics
“An enthralling journey into the inner world of magic. Alex Stone writes with a winning voice that you’ll want to follow anywhere.”
—Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein
“Fooling Houdini is a totally smart and engrossing study of one of America’s most misunderstood sub-cultures.”
—John Hodgman, author of That Is All
“What I loved most about Fooling Houdini is the world it takes us into: these huddled cliques of obsessed magicians reinventing their art. . . . This book makes you want to do magic tricks, and convinces you just how hard it is to do them well.”
—Ira Glass, host of This American Life
“The story of Fooling Houdini is simply wonderful—as good as a novel, I think—and yet all true. . . . Stone is an engaging writer, but he wisely spends his energy, not on trying to dazzle us with his writing, but telling us the truth as clearly as possible.”
—Orson Scott Card for Rhino Times
“Alex Stone’s Fooling Houdini is a delight. . . . He writes with wit and scientific sharpness and grand humor. He immerses us in a fascinating world few have ever entered.”
—Buzz Bissinger, author Friday Night Lights
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.--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition. See all Product Description