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Fooling Houdini summary

Alex Stone

Adventures in the World of Magic

3.8 (10 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

In Fooling Houdini, Alex Stone explores the world of magic, taking readers on a journey through the history of conjuring, while also delving into the complex psychology behind the illusions.

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    Fooling Houdini
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Magic has a lot in common with gambling and business.

    What is magic, exactly? Entertainment? Deception? Well, it’s many things. Some of magic's characteristics are intuitive; others you might find surprising.

    Magic is closely connected to gambling, for instance. A lot of skilled magicians have used their talent to gain a fortune through gambling, and many sleight-of-hand card tricks originate from gambling, as they were used in that field first (often illegally!).

    In both gambling and magic, it's vital that you don't reveal your secrets or all of your skills at once. If you're too open about your trade, your audience will grow skeptical or lose interest.

    Magicians and gamblers both have to see the world the way con artists do. Con artists look for the secret workings behind any game, be it politics, Wall Street or everyday life. They fool people; they trick them. Similarly, magicians also seek out such secrets and use them to their advantage.

    There's a connection between finance and magic, too. Finance, gambling and magic have something significant in common: they all require a deep understanding of risk. They also all encourage you to bluff and throw off your opponents – and they're all partly based on luck.

    Succeeding in magic (and in finance and gambling!) is largely about staying ahead of what others are thinking. You have to let them think they know something. Then they'll want to prove they've understood, a typically human urge.

    Magicians employ a lot of tricks to help with this. Some of these, like the ego hook, are more common than others.

    The ego hook refers to the strategy of catering to people's egos by making them feel smarter than they really are. It's like tricking someone into thinking they should go for a particular investment because it's “safe.”

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    What is Fooling Houdini about?

    Alex Stone is a magic-enthusiastic and Ph.D. candidate in Physics at Columbia University. He's written for several magazines and newspapers. Fooling Houdini is his first bestselling book.

    Fooling Houdini Review

    Fooling Houdini (2012) explores the captivating world of magic and the author's quest to become a master magician. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With intriguing tales of the underground magic scene, Stone brings readers into a secretive world filled with deception and wonder.
    • This book offers a unique blend of personal narrative, historical context, and magical theory, making it a fascinating exploration of the art of illusion.
    • Stone's insider's perspective reveals the dedication, obsession, and psychology behind the tricks, ensuring that readers will never look at magic the same way again.

    Who should read Fooling Houdini?

    • Magicians and mentalists
    • People who’ve been fooled by magic or mentalism

    About the Author

    Fooling Houdini (2012) is about the author's personal journey to learning the art of magic. It outlines the roots and philosophy behind the world's most elusive art form – and explains its inextricable link with science.

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    Fooling Houdini FAQs 

    What is the main message of Fooling Houdini?

    Discover the secrets of magic and illusion in Fooling Houdini as Alex Stone explores the dedication, skill, and psychology behind the art.

    How long does it take to read Fooling Houdini?

    The reading time for Fooling Houdini varies depending on your reading speed, but it typically takes several hours. Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Fooling Houdini a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Fooling Houdini is an intriguing exploration of magic and the world of illusion. Its unique blend of personal anecdotes and insights makes it a worthwhile read.

    Who is the author of Fooling Houdini?

    Alex Stone is the author of Fooling Houdini, a captivating book that delves into the world of magic.

    What to read after Fooling Houdini?

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