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How Magicians Think: Misdirection, Deception, and Why Magic Matters (Hardcover)
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The door to magic is closed, but it’s not locked.
And now Joshua Jay, one of the world’s most accomplished magicians, not only opens that door but brings us inside to reveal the artistry and obsessiveness, esoteric history, and long-whispered-about traditions of a subject shrouded in mystery.
And he goes one step further: Joshua Jay brings us right into the mind of a magician—how they develop their other worldly skills, conjure up illusions, and leave the rest of us slack jawed with delight time after time. Along the way, Jay reveals another kind of secret, one all readers will find meaningful even if they never aspire to perform sleight of hand: What does it take to follow your heart and achieve excellence?
In 52 short, compulsively readable essays, Jay describes how he does it, whether it’s through the making of illusions, the psychology behind them, or the way technology influences the world of magic. He considers the aesthetics of performance, discusses contemporary masters, including David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, and David Blaine, and details how magicians hone their craft. And answers questions like: Can a magic trick be too good? How do you saw a person in half? Is there real magic in the universe? The answers, like so much in magic and life, depend on you.
About the Author
Joshua Jay, bestselling author of Magic and other books, has performed on stages in over 100 countries, fooled Penn & Teller on their hit show, Fool Us, and holds a Guinness World Record in card magic. He has designed illusions for stage and screen, including a recent collaboration with HBO’s Game of Thrones. In 2018, he was recognized by the Society of American Magicians with their highest proclamation, for his contribution to the art of magic. He lives in New York City.
"[How Magicians Think] is delightful in being both a how-to book for aspiring artists and an in-depth view of the world of magic and its artisans. Jay is refreshingly candid in how he views his work, often self-deprecating, but always serious about his passion for his trade. An entertaining book from start to finish."—Booklist
“Joshua Jay is a superb, innovative conjurer with an unrelenting love of the art. This captivating book is proof of that passion.” —David Copperfield
“A loving, behind-the-scenes map of the world of magic, by someone who knows and lives the art. Swift, funny, honest, and alive with enthusiasm. And he has the good sense to quote me a lot.” —Teller (of Penn Teller)
“Joshua Jay has proven to be an important voice in magic. How Magicians Think is a thoughtful, engaging look into the secretive world of magicians. This book will excite anybody with a curiosity of love for magic.” —David Blaine
“How Magicians Think is fascinating, beautiful, and can't-put-down shocking. It will inspire awe in its depiction of the secretive world of magicians and is a must-read for anyone passionate about pursuing excellence.” —Uri Geller
“In How Magicians Think, the great Joshua Jay reveals a magician's greatest secret—not a secret shuffle or how they kept a dove alive in their pants for four hours —but how they think. The answer? Differently, creatively, and beautifully. I mean, how can you not love someone who's devoted their life to making you feel wonder?” —Pete Holmes, comedian and author of Comedy Sex God
“How Magicians Think is one of the most remarkable books I have ever read! Joshua Jay is a genius storyteller who has distilled a life’s worth of insights into a single book, and the result is magical.” —Steven Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics
“A must-read for anyone who loves magic. Joshua Jay is not only a world class performer, but he is a thought-leader in magic. Whatever your passion, you'll find inspiration and motivation in these pages. I couldn't put it down.” —Jon Dorenbos, NFL Superbowl champion and best-selling author