Monday, June 22, 2009

Tricks of the Mind

Derren Brown is a TV and stage performer - he is a showman who taps into human psychology to create the most amazing stunts and illusions.

In this book he explores magic, perception, and the psychology that allows magicians and others to do what they do to trick us, perplex us and manipulate us (in good and bad ways).

I absolutely loved reading this book. First of all, because Derren writes with an easy to read style even when dealing with complex and detailed concepts. Secondly, he explores each area he covers in great depth. For example, in Part Two - Magic - he fully explains how to make a coin "disappear" - a basic magic trick - but then goes on to show how to finesse the trick and why it works.

To quote from that section
"...magic...is about entering into a relationship with a person whereby you can lead him, economically and deftly, to experience an event as magical. That experience has something to do with a rather child-like feeling of astonishment, but also contains an adult intellectual conundrum. It exists only in the head of the spectator; and though your skills may have led him there, it is not the same as those skills. It inhabits an experience the spectator has..."

The book covers memory systems; hypnosis and suggestibility (with the surprising suggestion that there is possibly no such thing as a trance "state"); unconscious communication, and anti-science, pseudo-science and bad thinking (including the work of mediums and psychics).

If you love to find out more about how we tick, if you are interested in exploring your beliefs, or if you just love magic as I do - you will love this book. Highly recommended.

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