Tracey's Reviews > Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions

Sleights of Mind by Stephen L. Macknik
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's review
Dec 29, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: pop-science, libraryread-tcpl
Read from December 20 to 28, 2011

One of the librarians recommended this book when I checked out Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear & I'm quite glad she did!

Authors Stephen L. Macknik & Susana Martinez-Conde work with contemporary magicians like Penn Jillette, The Amaz!ng Randi and others to figure out how magic tricks work in terms of neuroscience and also how concepts like "illusion of choice" and "change blindness" translate to real life.

Along the way, they audition at the Magic Castle and provide lots of spoilers (clearly marked), but no matter how much I find out about the technical aspects of how a given trick is performed; I'm still always amazed and awed at a the artistry of a successful performance.

Macknik & Martinez-Conde occasionally try a bit too hard to be clever, but it's a fun, layman's look at both disciplines and their intersection. It scratched my pop-science itch nicely.

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