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Fooling Houdini

by Alex Stone

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. InFooling 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 Houdinireveals the mysterious world of magic as never before.

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