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Derren Brown's television and stage performances have entranced and dumbfounded millions. His baffling illusions and stunning set pieces - such as The Séance, Russian Roulette and The Heist - have set new standards of what's possible, as well as causing more than their fair share of controversy. Now, for the first time, he reveals the secrets behind his craft, what makes him tick and how you can adapt his techniques for use in everyday life.
Three extracts from Tricks of the Mind take you on a journey into the structure and psychology of magic.
Magic: Derrren guides you through a coin and a card trick, revealing how you can instantly transform a simple trick into a convincing illusion.
Memory: Some simple, fun systems to improve your memory, transform aspects of your life and wow an audience with your amazing powers of recollection.
Hypnosis: Learn the key techniques behind successful hypnotism, including the preparation of your subject, inducing a trance and awakening your subject.
Derren was born in 1971 in Croydon. It was a difficult birth - his mother was in Devon at the time. A precocious and puzzling only child, he liked to paint, foster obsessive habits and once set fire to a neighbour's boat by accident. Derren went to study Law and German at Bristol University and fell in love with the city. This was a time when marriage between man and city was still frowned upon, so rather than face public derision Derren decided just to live there forever instead. During this time he began to perform magic in bars and restaurants, and gave occasional hypnosis shows. Then in 1999 he was asked by Channel 4 to put a mind-reading programme together for television, which became Derren Brown: Mind Control. It was an immediate success and gained Derren a cool underground kudos which he described as 'not enough'.
Mind Controls 2 and 3 followed, then a series, and then in October 2003 Derren caused an international furore by playing Russian Roulette live on television. This secured his notoriety with the public and his big apartment in London. 'Bristol can shove itself', he said. Further specials have followed - Derren Brown: The Seance which was the most complained about show in the history of television. He still gets several letters of complaint a week from psychics and Christians. He is sensitive to everyone's objections but knows at least the latter group will forgive him.
Derren's workload keeps him exhausted and irritable fifty-two weeks a year and he continues to live in London with a large collection of taxidermy and a fatalistic parrot. He spends any free weekends painting and likes to receive gifts.
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