Fooling Houdini

  • by Alex Stone
  • Narrated by Alex Stone
  • 9 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I suppose the author thinks he's clever

God, I really wanted to like this novel. I really did. I wanted to see a thoughtful, informative examination of the magician's world. This book skims the interesting details and techniques of magicians and instead focuses on - of all things - the narrator's life as a student and an aspiring magician. I could not possibly care less. I wanted a book in the style of Mary Roach, what I got was a personal life journey. Personal details stand in place of logistical and technical details and the story of how magicians dedicate decades to their craft simply slips away. Sure, there's a few conferences and interesting characters in here, a little about psychology that I found interesting. But overall, the content is simply not there.

Moreover, the author narrates his own book here. That is almost never a good idea. He's not a compelling reader, giving pauses where they aren't needed, lacking good inflection and not punching up the audio to give the best experience. In an interview at the end he has the gall to suggest that no one else could read his book because of how personal of a story it is. It's audacious, and the book isn't that interesting to begin with. Sorry, Mr. Stone.
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- Joe "I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances."

Self-important drivel

Not at all impressed with this book. The author seems very full of himself. I was hoping to learn more about the works of magic but it approaches the subject like anyone who believes anything is an idiot. Actually, everyone is an idiot. I could not make a connection with this book.
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- Shawn

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-16-2012
  • Publisher: HarperAudio