FOOLHOUDOK, I am going to admit publicly for the first time that I am obsessed by the television show America’s Got Talent. I think it is because it is a true variety show where acts as diverse as singers, comedians and dogs compete against plate spinners, dancers and high wire acts. …true variety that has pretty much disappeared from the pop culture entertainment scene in recent years.

One of the most curious genres of acts are the magicians. On the few seasons of AGT I have seen there has always been a couple of magicians that are truly amazing. I have often wondered about what draws someone into this art form and about the secrets to their success. Some of these questions are addressed if not answered in the wonderful book Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind by Alex Stone.

About Fooling Houdini by Alex Stone: “From the back rooms of New York City’s age-old magic societies to cutting-edge psychology labs, three-card monte games on Canal Street to glossy Las Vegas casinos, Fooling Houdini recounts Alex Stone’s quest to join the ranks of master magicians. As he navigates this quirky and occasionally hilarious subculture populated by brilliant eccentrics, Stone pulls back the curtain on a community shrouded in secrecy, fueled by obsession and brilliance, and organized around one overriding need: to prove one’s worth by deceiving others. But his journey is more than a tale of tricks, gigs, and geeks. By investing some of the lesser-known corners of psychology, neuroscience, physics, history, and even crime, all through the lens of trickery and illusion, Fooling Houdini arrives at a host of startling revelations about how the mind works—and why, sometimes, it doesn’t.”

Part memoir, part investigation and all engaging, Fooling Houdini is an enjoyable read that may make you appreciate magicians more or confirm what you already think about them.

Fooling Houdini by Alex Stone is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.