ALEX STONE / FOOLING HOUDINI: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind
ALEX STONE / FOOLING HOUDINI: Magicians,
Mentalists, Math Geeks,
and the Hidden Powers of the Mind
Magic has never been more popular—something the average person probably doesn’t even know since the magic community is fiercely insular and zealously private. Longtime aficionado Alex Stone pulls back the curtains and shares an eye-opening glimpse into this fascinating subculture a vividly entertaining chronicle of his quest to make his mark in this notoriously secretive world where the ability to deceive is the most prized attribute of all.
A thrillingly original blend of history, psychology, science, and memoir, FOOLING HOUDINI is funny and insightful, told from Stone’s unique perspective as a journalist and a former physics graduate student. A dedicated amateur magician since childhood, Stone vows to rebound from a disastrous showing at the 2006 Magic Olympics and soon embarks on an ambitious journey of self-improvement that takes him both across the globe and inside the brain, leading him to question life’s biggest mysteries and investigate the fundamental aspects of human nature in the process.
Stone’s determination to excel at magic’s highest levels quickly blossoms into an obsession as he eagerly commits to training rigorously, learning hundreds of complicated techniques, and crafting a cutting-edge act. He takes us through the ups and downs with remarkable good humor and humility, inviting us along for the ride as he attends tournaments, conventions, lectures, shows, and boot camps; spends countless hours getting schooled by a gruff mentor at a rundown pizza parlor; practices everywhere he goes; causes loved ones to fear for his sanity; and interacts with a colorful bunch of eccentrics, skeptics, scholars, cheats, criminals, geniuses, legends, and prodigies.
Traveling from the Las Vegas Strip to the halls of academia, Stone’s tale traces the history of magic and the impact of its seminal moments, spotlighting the contributions of famous headliners and forgotten pioneers alike. Delving deeper, Stone ponders the connections between magic and science as he probes the limits of consciousness, experiments on the workings of the mind, and explores the challenges of distinguishing reality from illusion. Ultimately he brings all of his findings together as he prepares for his return to the stage with a performance designed to nail a magician’s greatest feat: fooling other magicians -- the Holy Grail of their collective calling.
Alex Stone has written for Harper’s, Discover, Science, and The Wall Street Journal. He graduated from Harvard University and has a master’s degree in physics from Columbia University. He grew up in Wisconsin, Texas, and Spain. He currently lives in New York City.
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