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Confessions of a Conjuror

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,047 ratings  ·  91 reviews
The inside of Derren Brown's head is a strange and mysterious place. Now you can climb inside and wander around. Find out just how Derren's mind works, see what motivates him and discover what made him the weird and wonderful person he is today.





Obsessed with magic and illusions since childhood, Derren's life to date has been an extraordinary journey and here, in Confession
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Paperback, 329 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Channel 4 (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,049)
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Phillip Edwards
The first thing to say about this 'memoir' is that Derren Brown has a writing style like no other celebrity, or possibly anyone since the days of Dickens and Melville. His rococo prosification would not be unbefitting of a lawyer in a 19th century novel. I only hope it's not catching.

His recollections of a performance of a card trick to an audience in a Bristol restaurant some years ago (before he found fame) form the scaffolding onto which he hangs various digressions - psychological and philos
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Tom Williams
I'm a big Derren Brown fan. I watch him on TV, I've seen him live, I've read stuff he's written and even – fleetingly – met him. So I was pleased to find a copy of this book under the Christmas tree.

Proust starts with a madeleine. Brown starts with a pack of cards. But both use this as a jumping off point for a stream of introspection that takes them through their lives. We learn of Derren's childhood, how he got into magic, where he lives, what his favourite playing cards are, even the books he
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Hil
"Then I woke up. Then I died."

Some thoughts that crossed my mind while reading this:

"Derren's really waffling on about nothing here. Is this padding or is it priming the reader for something?"
"Derren has a quite strong form of OCD, even if he keeps saying he doesn't really have a problem."
"His OCD-type behaviour is probably what makes him such a great magician/artist/showman/etc."
"Blimey, he's so pompous! / He's clearly bragging but pretending he's casually mentioning something."
"I could learn a
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Gar
I kind of struggled with this book when I started. The whole thing seemed very disjointed, and he would flit from topic to topic with baffling segues. The language as well hit me as a bit over the top, wordy in a Dickensian way.

But all that changed as I continued to read the book and I realised I was expecting the wrong thing from it. It is a hard book to define, "memoirs" only begins to cover it, but once I stopped trying to pigeonhole it, it became a much better read for me. I was very impress
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Trevor
I’ve used YouTube clips of this guy in class. This one -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btP_vy... - and I think it went down quite well, really. One of the things I think it is important for a teacher to teach is that there are lots of people in the world who are trying to manipulate you and that learning to be aware of that fact is probably the most important thing anyone can teach you. The clip above demonstrates that need beautifully.

I was very interested to read about this guy’s feelings of
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Godzilla
Derren, I love your work, but this book is only getting 3 stars from me, sorry.

It's structure is interesting: it centres round a card trick played in his early career in a restaurant. However it veers off in amillion different directions, with the narrative returning to the trick now and again, for some sort of linear structure.

The asides are often interesting, give a good insight into Derren Brown's apparoach to life and people, but often seem too random and haphazard.

My real gripe, and the rea
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Hayley
Confessions of a Conjuror is part autobiography, part self-help manual and part musings of a modern day Sherlock. Set around the performance of one magic trick, Brown's constant meanderings and hilarious anecdotes serve to paint a side picture of his life and his very particular nuances.

While I would have liked to know much more his progressions as an illusionist, painter and collector, Brown sadly keeps these as guarded as the secrets of his trickery but nonetheless beguiles us with very telli
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Stephanie
An interesting take on the standard celeb autobiography in which Derren uses a detailed description of a card trick performed some years ago as the narrative thread, and drifting off at tangents as he is reminded of incidents from his early life, prompted to create random lists, chooses to name-drop (just a little!) and espouses his philosophies on life and its general lack of kindnesses.
The sense with which I came away from this book was that Derren didn't seem to like himself at all until com
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Tony Corkery
Contains a few good nuggets of insight into the mind of Derren Brown but there are far too many digressions into seemingly pointless rambles; monster munch anyone! whilst I'm sure many of them served a cathartic purpose for the author in ways the ordinary reader can have no way of knowing, for me they served no purpose and added nothing to my enjoyment.
Dale
Confessions of a Conjuror was a stream-of-consciousness book by one of my favorite magicians/mentalists. Using the device of describing a performance of close-up card magic to a group at a restaurant Darren worked at, he bounced off to describe any thought that popped in his head. These would often include jumps to things that happened in his life, observations he had, philosophies, and random psychological quirks.

If you're looking for an autobiography of Brown, this probably isn't what you're l
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Otak
really tried here, the man is a brilliant performer, but he shouldn't write. the language is fine, the observations acute, but after an hour's reading had no idea what he was on about. just bad.
Debby
I've found Derrens books very hard to read, they aren't written in a style I like, I love his TV shows, but his books left me dissapointed :(
Sean Barkes


A real laugh! In some places, I laughed uncontrollably in a way I haven't for years! I just so get Derren's view in the world!
Gavin Drury
This is not strictly an autobiography, more a combination of a collection of personal stories, comedic observations, and magic tricks. The book is told through the intricate process of performing a single magic trick, using the minute observations and feelings experienced throughout performing this trick to segway into amusing anecdotes, self help tips, and embarrasing confessions.
It's mainly through these confessions, and their subsequent analysis of why he does these things along with an psych
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Si Barron
Not sure what to award this piece of writing really. I like Derren's attitude generally although I haven't seen that many of his shows as I don't tend to watch TV.

This book is really a stream of conciousness- a brain-splurge of tangental and non-consequential thoughts. It is framed by a vignette of his younger self performing a complex card-trick to a group of people at a table in a Bristol restaurant (where he was hired to provide the entertainment)

The main problem with this book is the seriou
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Steve Wales
I picked this up pretty much at random from the library - I'm not a big fan of autobiography and, since I don't watch a lot of TV, I actually know @DerrenBrown more from twitter (waiting to see how quickly that dates this...)

Far from the usual "One glorious day, the world was immeasurably improved by my birth, little suspecting at the time that I would achieve world domination [or not] for 5 minutes [if that]", followed by lots of baby photos of a teenage X-Factor runner up who can't really tell
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Chris
As a big fan of Derren Brown's work, I bought this book to try to fathom some of what makes Mr. Brown tick. What met me was a surprisingly enjoyable read, primarily as a consequence of Brown's well crafted writing style and his ability to creatively convey his background and views.

The book is structurally written like a 327 page essay: the narration has a red thread - one night in a restaurant in Bristol during his early years as a magician - naturally followed by entertaining anecdotes and digr
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Léa
I’m going to try to be unbiased towards this book just because I adore Derren Brown, his live shows, his T.V. stuff. I was really excited to get this book and to look into the mind of someone I look up to so much. I love how he looks into the psychology of everything and this book didn’t fail.

The book centres around a scene of a trick he did in a restaurant when he was a young man. With that, it sounds like a short book but Derren goes off on a lot of tangents and although this does make a good
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Seamie
A fantastic read. Framing the book with a description of a performance of a magic trick, Brown muses on topics such as belief in god, the manufacturing process of Monster Munch, and the thought processes involved when waiting for an elevator. While not an autobiography in the commonly thought sense of a series of personal anecdotes, Brown rather provides an extremely intimate view into how he thinks and feels about things, and how these thought processes and interests may have breen formed by hi ...more
Shez Anais Chelios
I absolutely love Derren so I just had to read this. I read it in four days which is unlike me with a biography, I tend to start reading then leave it and go back to it. This was different and because it was all coming directly from Derren himself (autobiography) it made it very hard for me to put down. What I loved was the fact it centered around Derren performing a trick to customers one Thursday night in a bar in his native Bristol. This was back in his early days as a magician before he vent ...more
Jess Guy
I think I was predisposed to like this book as I do have a certain fondness for Derren Brown, and thankfully it didn't disappoint!

In real time I imagine the narrative would have been around 10 minutes, but the account is so wonderfully detailed and Mr. Brown goes off into such fantastic tangents that it makes up a 327 page book.

I really enjoyed these tangents because they were about real things, most of which I could relate to. (At one point he talks about his tics and explains what they are a
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Hans de Zwart
My lifelong fascination for magic made me buy and read this book. I had read Tricks of the Mind a while back and really enjoyed it. This book is very different. Brown smartly uses a single cardtrick done at a table in a restaurant as a structure for sharing some of his thoughts about life. None of these thoughts are incredibly insightful and many are very inane. Occasionally I felt like he was just trying to be provocative. It is interesting to see how accustomed he is to "close-reading" people ...more
David Manns
Confessions of a Conjuror is, while in parts autobiographical, by no means a traditional autobiography. Structured around the performance of a card trick by his younger self in a Bristol restaurant, the book delights in veering off at tangents as and when something strikes Mr. Brown as worth expounding upon.

Thus we are steered through the quite fascinating recesses of Brown's mind. On the way we get philosophy, childhood memories, ticks and self loathing, the history of magic and the best recipe
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Michael Lancashire
I love the way Derren Brown's mind works (or appears to at least, I've never met the man!) and this was a great insight into it.

A delightful ramble through his thoughts on a variety of barely connected topics (this is not a criticism, I'm a huge fan of the tangential myself) hung loosely off a magic trick he performed as a close up magician before he was famous.

Great fun.
Kali
I borrowed my copy of this book from the library. It was very obvious that someone had been reading it in the bath from the way the sides of certain pages were crinkled in damp-then-dried thumbprints. They'd also left their library slip inside the book, which showed that this book was the only one they'd borrowed. Perhaps these two habits were cumulative; the fact that they borrowed one book at a time meant that they simply didn't have enough practice in keeping books dry. I read at least one-hu ...more
Jane Fenn
Derren likens the life of a magician to that of a stand-up comedian. I thought Ross Noble was skilled at taking astounding tangents, whilst still somehow keeping a thread running through his act. Well Derren Brown does it ten-fold. 75% of the book is the retelling of a close-up magic routine performed many years ago in a cocktail lounge of a Bristol restaurant, interspersed with hundreds of vaguely prompted memories and astoundingly detailed and hysterially ironic reflections on human behaviour. ...more
Chloé
I've been eager to read this book since it was released last year but recently pushed it to the top of my 'to-read list' in the eager anticipation of finally having the opportunity to see Derren live. So glad I pushed it up the list, it was an incredibly enjoyable read which had me in fits of laughter, and equally at times, lost in deep thought.

I assumed this would be a fairly ordinary auto-biography, recognisable to those of other famous figures, but the way this book was written it seemed at t
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Maria Drummond
Loved reading this. The book, although sometimes complex, has a lovely structure and flow. It's not your typical autobiography. However, the style works perfectly as Brown highlights moments and memories as the chapters revolve around a card trick performed in a restaurant. Great if you'd like to know more about his character and get lost in a world of long sentences and tangents. Excellent.
Gary Brooks
Derren reveals himself to be a prose stylist. The best parts of this memoir are when he gives free reign to his obsessions and goes into painful detail. This minute examination of the mundane allows you to really sit in his head and share some of his feelings - even the OCD. Bizarre and very funny.
Amanda-Jayne Davies
Mar 06, 2012 Amanda-Jayne Davies rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone
I was never one for reading autobiographies, but after reading his book, Tricks of the Mind, I put this book on my to read list without hesitation. Derren Brown has an amazing way with words that made me want to keep reading, and I found myself getting so absorbed in reading that I would lose track of time. I loved the fact that the book was made up of a load of different asides off one story. It struck me as unusual and yet particularly conversational.

Like when I was reading Tricks of the Mind,
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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong number of pages (still) 3 165 Mar 14, 2013 08:44AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Wrong number of pages 4 28 Mar 13, 2013 06:27PM  
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Tricks Of The Mind Pure Effect: Direct Mindreading and Magical Artistry Portraits Absolute Magic: A Model for Powerful Close-Up Performance Pure effect: Direct mind reading and magical artistry

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“Each of us is leading a difficult life, and when we meet people we are seeing only a tiny part of the thinnest veneer of their complex, troubled existences. To practise anything other than kindness towards them, to treat them in any way save generously, is to quietly deny their humanity.” 16 likes
“There is a common response from people when they hear that in the absence of evidence to convince me otherwise I don’t have any particular belief in ghosts, psychic powers or an afterlife. It normally runs something along the lines of ‘So you think we just live, die and that’s it? Come on...’ There’s a clear implication there that this earthly life – the wonder of being human – is somehow worthless. That it’s cheap and disappointing enough to warrant that ‘just’ and the accompanying incredulous tone, which are usually reserved for sentences like ‘After all that it was just a little spider? Come on...’ I live, I am sure, in a fairly narrow band of life, and make an embarrassingly pitiful attempt to explore the world I find myself upon. I ache with guilt and conflict when I hear of people living as adventurers, abandoning mainstream lives and living each day with abandon. But I really hope I have a brighter vision for this life and a greater curiosity for its richness than one who can say, and mean, ‘You think we just live, die and that’s it?” 6 likes
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