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Fooling Houdini: Adventures in the World of Magic (Anglais) Broché – 5 juillet 2012

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Description du produit

Revue de presse

"An enthralling journey into the world of magic. Alex Stone writes with a winning voice that you'll want to follow anywhere." (Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein)

"Bursting with energy, inventiveness, and a sense of wonder on every page." (Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics)

"Fooling Houdini is a delight. He writes with wit and scientific sharpness and grand humour. He immerses us in a fascinating world few have entered." (Buzz Bissinger, author of Father's Day and Friday Night Lights)

"Mr. Stone’s chequered history in magicianship sets the stage for Fooling Houdini, his cheery, inquisitive book about a world where math, physics, cognitive science and pure geeky fanaticism intersect. While it nominally describes the author’s efforts to improve his sleight of hand and regain his self-respect, Fooling Houdini is more than a series of anecdotes. It’s an effort to explore the colourful subculture of magic devotees and the serious, theoretical basis for the tricks they do." (New York Times)

"In Fooling Houdini, Stone recounts with humour and humility his love affair with magic and the experience it affords him... To wrtie a captivating and charming book all about magic is a hard trick to pull off, but like all good magicians, Stone makes it seem effortless." (Catherine de Lange, New Scientist)

Présentation de l'éditeur

A PhD candidate in physics at Columbia University, Alex Stone is also part of the underground magic circuit, an exclusive community whose members convene regularly in pizza parlours and coffee shops to swap tips and develop new illusions. Determined to take his lifelong hobby to the professional level, Stone embarks on a personal quest to reach the pinnacle of this bizarre world, and become a master magician.

But he has some learning to do.

In Fooling Houdini, we journey through a strange and colourful subculture of obsessive, brilliant and dysfunctional geniuses - blind card sharps, street-hustlers and Las Vegas showmen - learning the principles and history of some of the greatest tricks ever performed. Seeking answers to broader questions about decision making, the limits of perception, and the nature of deception, Stone helps us understand what happens as we attempt to distinguish reality from illusion, and discovers the link between magic and psychology, physics and even crime.

From back-street scams to laboratories to the Magic Olympics, Fooling Houdini reveals the mysterious world of magic as never before.

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Par Patrice le 18 juillet 2012
Format: Broché
Sympathique à lire et jolie plongée dans un milieu inconnu. Quel réservoir à film que le domaine de la magie :-)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) (Peut contenir des commentaires issus du programme Early Reviewer Rewards) 4.2 étoiles sur 5 239 commentaires
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The autobiography of a magician mixed with a modern history of magic 14 octobre 2016
Par Bernie Gourley - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This book operates on two levels. The first is the autobiography of a magician, telling a tale from being gonged off stage at the “Magic Olympics” through a rising obsession with the craft before rolling into his redemption. On a second level, it’s a history of magic in the modern age (although there are occasional forays into more ancient history.) The author tells of the magicians that inspired him, some of whom he learned from personally and some were from the preceding generation, such as Dai Vernon—the magician who actually fooled Houdini. However, the book’s title doesn’t come from Vernon’s feat with the Ambitious Card Trick, but is instead a more general statement about the challenge of tricking magicians—an accomplishment a great deal more prestigious than fooling a pod of eight year olds at little Timmy’s birthday party.

Stone was a science writer turned Physics graduate student, and so the science of magic and mentalism comes out frequently. However, this book is distinct from one such as “Sleights of Mind” by Macknik & Martinez-Conde, which is focused entirely upon conveying the science of how magic tricks work (primarily neuroscience with a focus on how the sense organs and brain interact to a magician’s advantage.) In truth, I expected this book to more along the lines of “Sleights of Mind.” However, in a way, it’s a good thing that it wasn’t. Stone reviews the science that Macknik and Martinez-Conde drill down into enough so that it’s a good review if one has read that book (I had) or an introduction if one hasn’t. What Stone does a great deal more of is describing the perfection one’s craft. Along the way he shows us a blind card handler with a preternatural capacity for tactile control of the deck, he takes us to clown college to improve showmanship, and he meets up with some street hustlers of the 3-card monte variety.

Throughout the course of the book are ups and downs that maintain the tension. In fact, one chapter is actually entitled “It’s Annoying and I Asked You to Stop,” about the inevitable point at which a magician’s obsession with improving his/her skills stops being cute to loved ones. There is also a chapter about Stone’s [almost] being blackballed from the magic community for revealing secrets in a general readership magazine (I guess that’s a muggle-mag?) An important part of the story is Stone’s search for a Yoda, a wizened member of the magic community who can give him the deeper insight needed to fool a room of experts. He eventually finds said individual, but is not quickly adopted. (It has a hero’s journey feel through this part.)

I thought that the author did a good job of building an interesting story arc within a work of nonfiction. This increases the book’s readability, particular if one has no particular interest in magic. One need not be knowledgeable about the discipline to find the story interesting and to learn some fascinating tidbits. If nothing else, one will learn how con men cull marks, so one can avoid falling prey to their potent psychology (though I expect the subset of readers of books and those tricked into gambling 3-card monte is probably not huge.)

One area in which a reader might be dissatisfied is in the coverage given to mentalism and math-based tricks. The alliterative subtitle makes reference to “magicians, mentalists, and math geeks…” but the bulk of the book is about close-up magic; mentalism and mathematical methods don’t come in until the last few chapters. If you’re expecting that the coverage of those topics will be on par with that of close-up magic, this may not be the book for you. Still, while this was different than I expected, it didn’t hurt my impression of the book.

I enjoyed this book, and received some intriguing insights from it. I’d recommend it for those interested in magic and in particular the craft and science of it. Even if you aren’t that interested in magic, you might find the story of one man’s development of his discipline to be worth reading.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Fascinating exploration 3 juillet 2012
Par HGranger - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the MindThis is the first time in many reads that I have taken "pen to paper" to share a review. I've been sitting on a beach reading Fooling Houdini and am struck by all that one does not know and have marveled at the lengths to which the impassioned go to flesh out knowledge. Alex Stone's passion seemingly stems from a public humiliation. While unfortunate for him, we benefit from his sharing the knowledge gained from his passion. While perhaps I found myself wondering whether Stone would "get a life" I was also struck by his intellect, curiosity, humility and honesty. These traits were revealed through an open voice that was not only entertaining but articulated complex principles in a way one could understand without the distraction of wondering "what did he say?". Stone enriched his story with relevant and fascinating detours through a surprisingly documented history of the skills he was honing. Who knew that the $20 I lost in NYC while "playing" three card monte didn't just make me a sucker but placed me in a long, unbroken line of historical pawns upon which America was built. Along the way we meet neat characters of a rich and, to one another, well known world of card mechanics and other conjurers. In short, were this simply a book about a guy trying to become a magician, it might be lacking. This was a fascinating exploration of the historic underpinning, psychological and scientific bases for what I for one had viewed solely as entertainment. Moreover, Stone knows how to learn and provides a crash course in education; research, experimentation, mentorship and plain old tenacity all come into play in his effort.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Legerdemain in a book! 30 août 2014
Par Lane A. - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Being someone who has dabbled in legerdemain since childhood, I found this book far more entertaining than I expected. Alex Stone has this provocative way of rambling through his experiences in a way so engaging, it just brings a smile to your face. The author was very concise in his way of looking at magic, his ordeals with the self imposed "protectors" of magical secrets; its foundations and most interestingly, the psychology of what makes it both intriguing and effective in a much broader perspective. I enjoyed it in an almost philosophical manner. Whether or not you're interested in magic, you will enjoy this lightly wandering and enjoyable read.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Fun 8 octobre 2015
Par Camp Runamok - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I bought this book on a whim, after reading an article in the NY Times by Alex Stone, and it was a great find. If you are a fan of books about the brain and how we perceive the world, this book is for you. The first part of the book is a bit slow, but it picks up quickly and pretty soon you are deep in to the world of magicians and mentalists. Stone profiles some truly amazing folks and provides history going back to the middle ages. A big thumbs up.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 You tricked my, I love it, and show me more... 19 janvier 2013
Par Gary Oftedahl - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
After seeing Alex Stone on Face the Nation over a month ago, and his sleight of hand in "fooling" Bob Schieffer, I felt compelled to learn more, even though not a true magic buff.

After completing Mr. Stone's wonderful narrative, describing his voyage (albeit a convoluted, complicated, and possibly subversive one), I have an incredible appreciation for the world of illusion, three card monte, manipulation, but it's much more than that.

As a health care provider, and now working in a large collaborative, while this book seems to have little to do with my profession, I think in reality it has much to do with our most challenging tasks in changing health care--human behavior, decision making, distraction, and diversion.

I've decided that I'm not going to use my review time to outline the contents of the book (no Cliff note version for those hoping to avoid the need to read the book), but rather to provide suggestions as to why you might want to read this book.

First, it's just plain entertaining, and a great narrative of a personal passion being pursued in a most determined fashion. Mr. Stone's love affair with magic is to be commended, or perhaps he's to be committed--that would be up to him. But if you are at all curious as to how many of the magic tricks, the card manipulations, the illusions come to be, this will satisfy much of your curiosity.

Second, it's a microcosm of understanding human behavior, why we like to be fooled, why it's easy to fool us, and how we irrationally think we truly see the world, but in reality don't.

Third, at least for me, it was a chance to see a world I'd had no real understanding of, and to gain a new perspective on a field not even close to my world. Yet, while I don't know exactly how I'll use this, I know it's going to pop up in my work in health care.....see which shell (your health care) is under--fooled you....

There is more to say, but I'll leave it up to you to decide. I've long ago learned that while one review is occasionally helpful, each of us has to make up our own mind, based on our beliefs, interests, cultures, and past learnings. That being said, if you want to see a different world, in a different light, and perhaps create a different reaction than you thought....this is for you.....besides, I now know how to avoid being taken by a three card monty, and you know that can never be a bad thing.
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