I almost didn't read this book after reading Ricky Jay's oft quoted and rather hostile review. However, being more interested in magic subculture and how things are done rather than the effect itself, I decided to read it anyway. Chapter 6 shed some light on any hostility towards the author and I must say I agree with him that understanding what goes into magic allows you to appreciate it on another level. Stone's story is a tale of obsession and colorful characters with a sprinkling of mathematics and science. I have to say I even felt moved by his personal triumph (of sorts!) at the end and his final chapter has some wonderful insights that make this worth reading.
I quite liked "Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind" by Alex Stone. This isn’t a how-to book. Although several card tricks are outlined in broad terms, no detail recipe for reproducing any tricks is given. Rather the book is more of a memoir of the author’s long fascination with magic and his more recent obsession as he seriously tries to develop his skills. If nothing else, it is certainly a very entertaining read, and a great introduction to the magician sub-culture.
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