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Publisher's Summary

Have you ever wondered how a magician saws a woman in half? Or makes coins materialize out of thin air? Or reads your mind? Magic tricks work because humans have a hardwired process of attention and awareness that is hackable. A good magician uses your mind's intrinsic properties against you in a form of mental jujitsu, to fool you every time, even when you know full well that you are being tricked. Now Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, the founders of the exciting new discipline of neuromagic, have convinced some of the world's greatest magicians to reveal their techniques for tricking the brain. This fascinating book is the result of the authors' worldwide exploration of magic and how its ancient principles can now be explained using the latest discoveries of cognitive neuroscience. The secrets behind magic tricks reveal how your brain works not just when watching a magic show but in everyday situations. For instance, if you've ever found yourself paying for an expensive item you'd sworn you'd never buy, the salesperson was probably a master at creating the "illusion of choice," a core technique of magic. By popping the hood on your brain as you are suckered in by sleights of hand, Macknik and Martinez-Conde unveil the key connections between magic and the mind, and along the way make neuroscience more exciting and accessible than ever before.
©2010 Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Mrtibez-Conde, with Sandra Blakeslee (P)2010 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"This book doesn't just promise to change the way you think about sleight of hand and David Copperfield---it will also change the way you think about the mind." (Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Roy on 11-19-10

Very Informative

Audible carries a number of books on neuroscience, neuroplasticity and the like. I read everyone I come across and so I joined Macknik, Martinez-Conde, and Blakeslee in "Sleights of Mind". While it reveals some of the cognitive and perceptual aspects of illusions, it makes many applications to everyday life as well. This book opens the listener to the world in unexpected ways. For example, the authors point out that painting is magic on canvass. They make the point that deceptions originating in our own perceptual spheres are always readily at hand – when known and when not known. Using magic as the common thread throughout, the authors inform at every turn. If you are interested in magic this is wonderful. If you are interested in perception, it is very informative. If you have given perception, memory, and cognition dissonance little or no thought, do it now. Well written and wonderfully read by Lloyd James.

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28 of 28 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Calvin on 10-01-12

Revealed! Much Stage Magic (& Little Neuroscience)

If you have a strong interest in learning the spoilers, or inside secrets, to a lot of stage magic tricks, you may enjoy this book. But anyone looking to find useful, relevant, interesting applications to our "everyday self-deceptions" will fall asleep from boredom - which is fine, because the rest you will get will be more valuable than the education in applied neuroscience (or lack thereof). The premise was clever, but for everyone except stage-magic buffs, this will disappoint - there are many better books out there on the subject.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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