Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind
This is the first time in many reads that I have taken "pen to paper" to share a review. I've been sitting on a beach reading Fooling Houdini and am struck by all that one does not know and have marveled at the lengths to which the impassioned go to flesh out knowledge. Alex Stone's passion seemingly stems from a public humiliation. While unfortunate for him, we benefit from his sharing the knowledge gained from his passion. While perhaps I found myself wondering whether Stone would "get a life" I was also struck by his intellect, curiosity, humility and honesty. These traits were revealed through an open voice that was not only entertaining but articulated complex principles in a way one could understand without the distraction of wondering "what did he say?". Stone enriched his story with relevant and fascinating detours through a surprisingly documented history of the skills he was honing. Who knew that the $20 I lost in NYC while "playing" three card monte didn't just make me a sucker but placed me in a long, unbroken line of historical pawns upon which America was built. Along the way we meet neat characters of a rich and, to one another, well known world of card mechanics and other conjurers. In short, were this simply a book about a guy trying to become a magician, it might be lacking. This was a fascinating exploration of the historic underpinning, psychological and scientific bases for what I for one had viewed solely as entertainment. Moreover, Stone knows how to learn and provides a crash course in education; research, experimentation, mentorship and plain old tenacity all come into play in his effort.