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Confessions of a Conjuror

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  2,098 ratings  ·  154 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
Hardcover, 329 pages
Published October 14th 2010 by Channel 4 Books (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  2,098 ratings  ·  154 reviews

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Phillip Edwards
Aug 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it
"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
Tom Williams
Jan 10, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Darren Cook
Aug 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
Reads like a 300 page mind spill with very little chronology or navigation... Not sure if that was the intention but I lost interest after two thirds of the book. There's only so long I can read about obsessive-compulsive thoughts on pens, bathroom songs, and smooth kitchen surfaces.... ...more
Apr 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
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. ...more

Here's the thing. I love Derren Brown. I love his shows, his performances, his personality. I've seen him live twice and met him once (he's also a lovely guy) but this book is not it.

I previously read Tricks of the Mind many moons ago (in 2009) and found it fascinating.

Confessions of a Conjuror, however, was over written, dull, tedious, interesting and fun in parts, but over all a bit of a slog to get through.

First of all, the whole book chronicles one (1) card trick to a group of people in
Apr 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, psychology
I’ve used YouTube clips of this guy in class. This one - - 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
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Derren Brown is one of my favorite people, so of course I highly enjoyed this book - it is actually one of my favorites. What's so great about this book is the way it's constructed because it is not a conventional kind of autobiography. Derren Brown performs magnificent mental tricks and illusions, so he's very aware of himself and very self-analytical in the way he tells his story. I found that aspect to be very relatable, and I think others who identify with being socially awkward, introspecti ...more
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
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
Tony Corkery
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Sean Barkes
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it

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!
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
As much I greatly enjoyed this book, I do feel like I have to deduct a star due to the absurd amount and lengths of the footnotes (as I started to call them, legnotes).
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Derren Brown; I have such admiration for this man. This book should be made compulsory reading for everyone, especially teenagers.

The one criticism I have I shall get out of the way pronto. (Though doubtless, in the unlikely event that Derren does ever read this, he would say that he had focused on this paragraph and this one only. Sorry!)
This is a book of three recurring themes:
1) Magic: magic anecdotes, details of his magic career, the history of magic, and how magic ties in with human
Elise Oliver
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Such an intriguing read. Brown's writing style is as if you're just chatting with him around a dinner table. Its easy and open and never feels like its forced. He follows the tangents in his head which, if you're a bit like minded, is quite refreshing and fun to follow.
An interesting and beautifully constructed insight into a magicians trick and a legend's mind.
Gavin Drury
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Abi Demina
I love Derren Brown, I think he is a terrific showman, a talented artist, conjurer and hypnotist, and (if it is possible to judge solely from TV appearances and interviews) a very kind and caring human being.

All that being so, I was really looking forward to this book and to finding out more about the man behind the TV personality, or maybe some insight into what he enjoys about his career, or how he feels about possessing such unique skills, the problems and perks.

If nothing else, I could liste
Oct 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-owned
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
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Derren articulates what is at the core of who he is through vignettes and reflections through the discussion of his early life as a close up table magician. Fairly ingeniously and effortlessly, he his serves up an ethnographic study of what it's like to be him through observations and touchingly honest confessions, which works far better for me to understand him than any dull chronology of what happened to his grandma when he was 5 years old... (don't get me started on Eddie Izzard's ghostwritte ...more
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot more than I expected to. It is closer to Knausgaard than Paul Daniels.

He wanders around his neurosis and obsessions in an entertaining manner. There is a magic trick to tie it all together but that is not the most interesting part of the book. the digressions on massive embarrassment are.

Start on chapter three. It is close to self help but if that doesn't grab you the rest of the book probably wont. But if it does you'll finish the book in a day
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This reminded me a lot of Nicholson Baker's "The Mezzanine" and even covered several of the same little observations (shoelaces, earplugs, stairs, Oop!). But it's definitely its own book and a fun read. He's a good writer, both solid and entertaining, and I liked the story and the delivery. ...more
May 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
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 :( ...more
Jake Jones
Dec 10, 2016 rated it liked it
An overwritten but interesting series of memoir fragments
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very funny. Great and interesting read!
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An incredible thought provoking, amusing and different autobiography
Lynda Kirby
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is brilliant. From the opening pages, he uses language to full effect. An accurate use of so-called 'big' words, words which satisfyingly fill your mouth and add to the rhythm of the sentences. Who else would call his actions 'fatuous peacockery'?
From the start, he declares that it is the minutiae of life which reveals the person which he puts into practice to reveal himself and we are granted a dip into his thought processes.
He relates his anxiety about losing his pens and dots them aroun
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help, memoirs
Cute. I was not a fan of Derren Brown before reading this but it was a quick, funny read and nice to hear the thoughts of someone who is very much like myself (quirky, curious, neurotic and impulsive to the point of being borderline OCD, needs to seemingly learn everything the hard way through trial and error instead of listening to convention) but who has used their eccentricities, blurting, and anti-authoritarian nature to support their career instead of being limited by them or pathologizing ...more
Dec 26, 2020 rated it liked it
I feel like the whole book was a magic trick. Not in a "wow! That was awesome!" kind of a way, but more "... wait, what? Was that..." then you check to see if your watch and wallet are still there.

He tells you about his life like he's performing a trick. He's very specifically vague whilst also pointing out details that seem designed to make you feel like you're not missing anything. Not that he's lying, he's just careful. And shouldn't everyone be entitled to show or hide as much of their priva
Jul 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Proof that the witch on the telly is just as much a regular weirdo as the rest of us (or at least that's what he wants us to think).

It was alright, but the charm of its format sometimes also made it at times rather boring and disappointing. The framing device is Derren Brown performing card tricks at a table of 3, meanwhile his mind wanders and goes off into tangents. These range from interesting (history of a particular trick) to mundane (how Brown is confused about the exact meaning of the rea
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Derren Brown is an English mentalist, illusionist, and author. He has produced several shows the stage and television and is the winner of two Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Entertainment. He has also written books for magicians as well as the general public.

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