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Bigger Secrets: More Than 125 Things They Prayed You'd Never Find Out Paperback – December 1, 1989


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Poundstone is the author of BIGGER SECRETS.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (December 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395530083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395530085
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,532,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Poundstone is the author of two previous Hill and Wang books: Fortune's Formula and Gaming the Vote.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Burnett on August 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
You probably have not read my review of "Big Secrets", so you have no idea of my absolute disdain for that work. So the fact that I have pumped my opinion of this one up to four stars probably will not shock you at all.
It's obvious that Poundstone has learned since releasing "Big Secrets". He's learned to tell a better story, learned to create suspense, learned what information is utterly useless dreck and what is genuinely entertaining. Both he and the reader benefit from this a great deal.
He's still making wildly speculative guesses about food contents, but here we get a nice tale about how he went about obtaining a sample of Oysters Rockefeller and sent it to a lab. He's still giving away magicians' secrets, but now we are amused by the little backstory he gives his investigation. Overall, this book is better written and is a better read.
One complaint I still have is Poundstone's attitude. His tone is snotty throughout the book; he is critical of people who don't know enough to dress for Antoine's restaurant, of Disneyland, of magicians in general. Rather than revel in the fun of discovery and slyly let you in on the joke, he uses his words to puncture secrets and deflate them, like an evil older brother spilling the beans about Santa Claus. If you are a fan of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, his expose' will seem particularly harsh.
"Secrets" is fun and will definitely entertain you. I hope the author continues to learn and grow with each book. If so, I look forward to "Biggest Secrets"
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
"Big Secrets" (and its sequel, "Bigger Secrets") are wonderful. The thing I like best about them is Poundstone's own honesty--he doesn't keep any secrets of his own. He tells you exactly _how_ he found out what he found out.

A Shriner may pledge that if he divulges the secrets of his order, he may incur "the penalty of having my eyeballs pierced to the center with a three-edged blade." But Poundstone discovered a Masonic supply house ("The Geo. Lauterer Corporation") that works by mail order and doesn't check ID, ordered a selection of titles, and tells us all of the inside skinny on IAOM and Tubal-Cain.

"Big Secrets" tells as much as Poundstone could find out about the secret formula for Coca-Cola and Kentucky Fried Chicken. It tells how the Rorschach test works and how to cheat on it. It tells several methods by which magicians saw a woman in two (you see, one of them is patented, so if you write the patent office and ask for patent #1,458,575...)

"Bigger Secrets" is equally good, maybe better. I think my favorite is his description of what the Rosicrucians are really like, but his explanation of how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty Vanish and his analysis of backward and "subliminal" messages in records and movies are also excellent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 1997
Format: Paperback
Bigger Secrets, the best of Poundstone's Secrets trilogy, solves the mysteries behind everything from the ingredients in heavily-guarded recipes tobackwards masking in records. I have read the book again and again, not only to refresh my memory on some of the facts he includes but alsoto enjoy Poundstone's concise and drily witty prose. In short, this book will rock your house(and give you cocktail party chitchat fodder foryears to come)
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By Rich M. on January 28, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A classic of the genre, though a tad outdated now, considering blue boxing and telephones are much like dinosaurs today. There's a lot of cool secrets and explanations in this one, from Disney's Haunted Mansion to Oysters Rockefeller.

A great book to read if you're planning to join the Scientology cult, as this one tells you exactly what you'd be paying $12,000 (in 1986 dollars) to find out (hint: It's a really crappy sci-fi novel).
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
Is there anything this man cannot find out? An extremely well-writen book, Pounstone leaves no stone unturned when revealing some of the world's greatest secrets, such as the truth behind subliminal images and how some of the most famous magic tricks were really done. His style of writing is very clear, and often humorous. After reading this volume, you'll want to read the whole set!
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