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
"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)
I am an avid reader of Fantasy but won't turn down a good Sci-Fi tittle. I love stories about wizards and magic, mercenaries and swords, and assassins and political intrigue. Modern spy fiction is fun to read between epic fantasy series, almost as a literary palate cleanser. My favorite series include The Kingkiller chronicles, A song of Ice and Fire, and the Donovan Creed novels.
My favorite things.
The explanation of how magicians "tricks" are perfect illustrations of cognitive illusions.
The description of the spoon bending performance.
The Science of Magic.
As a graduate student in psychology and an accomplished magician I was overjoyed to see this book that combined my hobby and my future career. I have been using my insights as a student of psychology to help my performance as a magician for years and this book concisely explains to magicians exactly how to do so, while explaining to cognitive scientists how studying the art of illusion can test cognitive theory. I couldn't stop smiling as all my secrets were revealed, both as a magician and as a student of cognitive science. Look out authors, I may look you guys up in the future for post-doc work.
All of my praise goes to the writing of the book. It was very Interesting to delve into what neural processes make magic work. Very informative and entertaining. The narrator missed words, and read stuff wrong. For example, there was one section about a bet and it mentioned that if you put $5000 down you could win $100,000. He read this as $10,000. Which severely dampens the point.
I don't know. The narrator was not the best.
Here is another essay put in book form. The authors fail to take other things into concideration. There is more to the human brain besides what happens physically inside the brain. There are mental and emotional parts as well. The authors glanced over these parts. In order to do a task repetitiously a person subconscious come into play and bypasses the conscious. Example a professional driver. Magicians are able to fool the conscious but not the subconscious. The authors seem to do research on magic and then write a theory around their findings. The authors took too long to get to the point. This book Slights of Mind is a lot of hocus pocus. Would not recommend.
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