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Tricks with Your Head: Hilarious Magic Tricks and Stunts to Disgust and Delight Paperback – February 26, 2002

26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Magic and Megacheese"Cat Chiropractor," "Funnel in Pants," "Fingertip Eyeballs" and "A Trick with Ben Franklin's Head" are just a few of the Tricks with Your Head: Hilarious Magic Tricks to Disgust and Delight offered by Las Vegas magician Mac King, who performs on NBC's annual World's Greatest Magic, and book wholesaler Mark Levy (Magic for Dummies). With clear (and joke-filled) instructions and 68 line-drawings, even the most inept should find something to amaze the experts and tyros alike.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap

"Mac King is a god." —Penn and Teller

Tricks with Your Head
is the world's greatest (and only) collection of hilarious, mystifying, and sometimes repulsive magic tricks that you can perform with your very own head.

If you've only thought of your head as a receptacle for so-called higher learning, or as a structure for keeping your haircut from falling into your body cavity, rejoice! Now you can use that ten-pound meatball between your shoulders as a source of ribald entertainment. Best of all, when you learn to perform a head trick, you can never be caught without your prop.

Mac King and Mark Levy have perfected the ultimate mix of head games (literally) in this clever illustrated volume that teaches you how to:
* Make your head disappear
* Penetrate your skull with a drinking straw
* Make a french fry vanish up your nose
* Read someone's mind
* Jab a fork in your eye


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1st Ediiton edition (February 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609805916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609805916
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Levy's website is .

Mark was born in Flushing, Queens in 1962, and lived in spitting distance of Shea Stadium. He was frightened of public school, loved playing baseball and football, ran home to watch ape films on the 4:30 Movie, listened to The Jam and The Buzzcocks, and read magic trick books.

At 18, he went to Queens College -- a school whose most notable scholar is Jerry Seinfeld. Mark enjoyed college, because he got to pick his own subjects. Instead of Math, he took a course in which he analyzed monster pictures. Not surprisingly, Mark received excellent grades, and graduated with a Magna Cum Laude writing degree in 1985.

Outside of college, no one cared that he could analyze monster pictures, so he became a bookstore clerk. That started his long affiliation with the book industry. He moved from retail to publishing, and from publishing to wholesaling.

Along the way, he was steadily promoted, and became a sales manager, a director of special projects, and helped his companies sell over one billion dollars worth of books. He was nominated three times for The Publishers Weekly Rep of the Year Award.

Why was Mark so successful at selling? One of his colleagues said it best (and she didn't mean it as a compliment): "When you think a particular book is important, you're messianic about it. You won't stop."

In 1997, Mark was having dinner with his friend David Pogue, author of Macs for Dummies, when David said it might be fun to work on a book together. Since Mark knew nothing about computers, they settled on writing a book about the only subject they had in common: magic. Both Mark and David were amateur magicians. They created Magic for Dummies, and Mark got the bug for bookwriting.

Mark's next effort was solo: Accidental Genius: Revolutionize Your Thinking Through Private Writing. Lots of luminaries loved it: Tom Peters, Ray Bradbury, Al Ries, Jay Conrad Levinson, and Ace Greenberg. Mark did a publicity stunt for the book, which did wonders for its sales. To date, it's been translated into six languages: Spanish, German, Korean, Chinese, Indonesian, and Japanese.

(Did you know that certain American phrases don't translate well into other languages? It's true. None of the translators could make sense of the phrase "Accidental Genius." The Spanish changed the book's title to "Writing and Creativity." The Germans called it "Genius Moments." But the Japanese version is Mark's favorite: "Everything Will Go Well As You Write And Think.")

Mark started writing for magazines and newspapers (including The New York Times). One such gig led to his next co-authored book. He was interviewing NBC-TV magician Mac King for an article about Las Vegas magic. During a break, Mac reached into his desk drawer, pulled out a dozen stapled sheets, and handed them to Mark. Those sheets were the beginnings of what would eventually become, Tricks With Your Head -- a book in which the human head is the central prop in each trick. Readers learn how to safely stab a fork in their eye, suck a French Fry up their nose, and read a person's mind with a drinking straw.

About this time, Mark started pursuing other business interests, particularly on the magic front. A New York City magician, Steve Cohen, met Mark, appreciated his business savvy, and hired him to do positioning work. The upshot of their association? Steve became "The Millionaires' Magician," began staring in his own off-Broadway show, Chamber Magic, and made Mark the show's Creative Director. Mark began to see life outside the book industry.

In February of 2002, Mark made the decision to leave books, and use his business, writing, and magic talents to make companies memorable. He started his positioning and branding firm, Levy Innovation. Even early on, Mark's marketing solutions were unconventional. An example? Says Mark:

"A famous e-book author phoned me and said, 'One of my old paperback books went out of print. I bought the final 2,000 copies for a buck a piece. How do I sell them?'

"I said, 'Selling them is a waste of time. Here's what you do. Take 1,800 copies, shred them, put them in a bathtub, sit in the tub so that just your head sticks out, have a photo taken, and put it on a news release that says, 'Author Takes A Bath In His Own Books.' Use the body of the release to talk about how you went from a near-destitute paperback author, to a six figure a year e-book author. That way, the white elephant of your paperbacks supports the profitable side of your business, e-books.

"'What do I do with the 200 copies I didn't shred?' he asked.

"They become valuable collectibles. Sell them at triple the cover price."

Mark's latest book, How to Persuade People Who Don't Want To Be Persuaded, was published by Wiley in June of 2004. He wrote it with legendary tradeshow pitchman, Joel Bauer. The book has been as high as #6 on and #71 on Amazon.

He has also contributed chapters to two other books:

The E-Code: 33 Internet Superstars Reveal 43 Ways to Make Money Online Almost Instantly - Using Only E-Mail!, by Joe Vitale and Jo Han Mok (Wiley, 2005)

Positively M.A.D.: Making a Difference in Your Organizations, Communities, & the World. Stories and Ideas From 50 of Today's Leading Experts, Edited by Bill Treasurer (Berrett-Koehler, 2004)

Recently, Mark returned to school; this time, as an instructor. He now teaches "Writing for Businesses and Professionals" at Rutgers University.

He lives in Clinton, New Jersey with his lovely wife, Stella; his Shiba Inus, Jofu and Bea; his cats,Tiger and Jinx; and Betsy the parakeet.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Steven Weidner on January 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
I've been waiting for this book for about 10 years or so... that's how long it's been since Penn & Teller deified Mac in their book "How to Play With Your Food". The title changed slightly (originally, they said to look for "Playing With Your Head"), and in that time, I had the opportunity to see Mac perform on a few "World's greatest magicians" type specials. Thus, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. And for the most part, I was right.
The star rating I used above is an average of ratings... if you've never read a book on goofy tricks like these, add a star. The originality will make you snort beverages through your nose when you think about poking your eyeball out with a fork. Gruesome as it sounds, I've done it before, and it's a great gag. Mac even suggests two different outcomes for you to try, depending on how far you want to string the audience along. The novelty of it all will also make you a little more forgiving for certain tricks like sticking a french fry up your nose (to keep more beverages from coming out, of course).
On the downside, if you have read books like this before, deduct a star. There is enough original material here to make up for gags that seem like old chestnuts, and the writing is entertaining and instructive. Regardless, you'll still feel like you've seen a bunch of this already, and odds are you will have.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By John A Lee III on August 2, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like gags. I guess it's a sign of a sophomoric mind but I really like disgusting ones that gross people out without ever really doing anything "bad". I also like to teach young kids tricks to play at the dinner table when out at fancy restaurants. I usually repent and offer not to teach the trick if a parent offers a suitable bribe. So it is that I thought this book might generate some laughs and even some revenue.

There are a few tricks in here worthwhile. The popping eyeball and the exploding zit both have a satisfactory degree of "yuk" mixed with "he didn't really do that, did he?" but most of them require more setup than can be achieved in a spontaneous setting. Worse, from my point of view, they come across as "Magic Tricks" even when they're being done. If you hand somebody a deck of cards and tell them to pick one, they have an idea that a performance is involved even if they have no idea what the trick is. The gags I look for are ones in which no one realizes that a gag has occurred until after it is over. As I said, a few of these meet that criterion. The rest are parlor tricks.

This book does a good job of teaching those tricks. Anyone can learn them. If that is your goal, you could do much worse. For what I was seeking, though, it did not have much. Still, it is written well and in an entertaining fashion.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Scrutinizing Consumer VINE VOICE on October 31, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The "tricks" in this book are LAME. Pretending to jam a fork in your eye and using a ketchup packet to pretend to bleed - these are the kinds of tricks this book claims to be hilarious. How about making a coin appear by secretly placing it on top of your head, getting an audience member to hold out their hands, and simply looking down at the hands to let the coin fall off your head into their hands. Magic? Hilarious? To whom? A three year old?

The real trick here is that they somehow managed to get an average of 4.5 stars for this book. Not THAT'S a great illusion. Out of the 52 tricks and gags in here, I found 5 that I might try when the mood is absolutely goofball.

I recently became interested in doing magic tricks and was so very pleased with those I found in Mark Wilson's "Complete Course in Magic". I bought this, based on its high rating, to supplement the tricks I learned from Wilson's book. However, even the five I found in "Tricks with Your Head" are so weak compared to "standard" magic tricks that I won't even do any of these head tricks when I'm doing the "real" magic tricks. To do so, would only lesson the effect of the good tricks I learned elsewhere.

Save your money.

And I'm pissed at Penn and Teller for endorsing this book. Guys, is your reputation really worth the back-end you're obviously getting on this weak material?
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Steven on April 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a must for anyone that has any social fiber in them. Have you ever wished you had some great little gag to break the ice at a party? How about having the perfect anecdote to get the attention of that person across the bar? This book has page after page of hilarious gags and tricks you can perform with very little skill or preperation. Even if you never perform a single one of this stunts outside the comfort of your own home, the laughs you will enjoy while reading this book are well worth the price.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jaishen on December 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
These are not only simple kiddie tomfoolery tricks. There are easily 20 stunts/tricks worth the price of the book. They can be incorporated into various situations. The reactions youll get are from shreiks of horror( the eye sreamer) till astounded laughter (eg headless wonder). I performed 90% of the material on my poor wife yesterday. All brought the desired reaction (which even amazed me). The material can be incorporated into all routines, for different ages and even into a professional magicians repertoire. The benign looking booking is packed with show stopper after show stopper. In all there are about 50 tricks, stunts etc. They can win you friends or lose you friends. Use them wisely. Penn and Teller are right about Mac King. In fact this book is too good to be revealed to the general public. I have a huge range of magic books, much more expensive than this, and for sheer reaction (shocked, disgusted, astonished, amused), this matches the very best. OK OK . I am not Mac Kings relative, agent or friend, but a grateful amateur magician.
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