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Tricks of the Mind

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  6,381 ratings  ·  244 reviews
Derren Brown's amazing television and stage performances have entranced and amazed millions. His baffling tricks and stunning illusions have set new standards of what's possible, as well as causing controversy. Now, for the first time, he reveals the secrets behind his craft.

He delves into the structure and pyschology of magic. He tells you how to read clues in people's be
Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 22nd 2007 by Channel 4 (first published 2006)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  6,381 ratings  ·  244 reviews

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Jun 19, 2008 rated it liked it
Well... I had high hopes for this book, but I was left feeling somewhat disappointed. Those of you who know Derren Brown will know what to expect from this book: some information about a few tricks, some stuff about the power of the humand mind and some funny anecdotes, all presented in an interesting if at times somewhat bizarre writing style.

That's what you would expect, right? Right. That's what I expected, anyway. And I got all of that, in about half of the book: some stuff about coin and c
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Delightful induction into a palace of memory tricks, performance tips, language hints, and the danger of invisible rhinos.
Jul 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I was just about ready to buy anything this man would ever produce, and when it was announced that he had a book on the way, I was beside myself with excitement.

Its everything I wanted it to be. Derren Brown is the definative man of mystery, who I hold above Houdini himself, owning to the fact Derren does not claim to be anything more than a psychologist who has studied magic for years. To add, he is a complete atheist.

Watching his programmes, there is a sense of awe when it comes to his trick
Dec 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
I bought this with the intention of learning some helpful memory tricks, and maybe getting an insight into how Derren Brown does some of the things he does... How silly of me.
Apparently I missed the part of the blurb where Derren Brown lists his credentials as a historian and scholar of Christianity, and states his intention of disproving God. The first chapter just sees Mr Brown going off on a diatribe about Christianity and seemingly religion in general. I respect the fact that he is an atheis
Angela Randall
I was really impressed with the memory section, thinking that this is exactly the sort of thing children should be taught early in order to make the best of their education. Conveniently wrapped up with a healthy dose of scepticism, challenges of religious beliefs, reminders to pay attention to how others perceive you, showmanship and magic. I think this is an important book for any person to read as early as they can handle it.

José Castro
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Took me 8 years to read this book.

The two magic tricks in the beginning sparked so much curiosity that I had to put down the book for a while as I delved into the world of magic.

I then side-tracked into dozens of magic books, took a year of lessons from one of the world’s greatest magicians (none other than Michael Vincent), travelled to a series of magic conventions, briefly met Derren Brown himself during the early stages of this adventure (and told him about the beginnings of this journey), s
Alex Kørup
Sep 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
At first I found this book funny, but nonetheless weird and in lack of editing.... But read on now... :)

Derren Brown didn't seem to have a specific goal with the book, but instead he pours his head (and heart?) out on a lot of subjects from memory and card tricks, self help psychology and rampages about religion, fake psychics and practitioners of alternative medicine.

The book is easily read. And humorous too.

But why mix his insights in hypnosis and psychology with religion and fake psychics. W
Aurélien Thomas
Amusing and humble, the famous illusionist opens here some doors to his universe, revealing in part what makes a good mental trick. Such glimpse at human psychology, body language, NLP and other interesting fields forms a quick but interesting read. True to himself, Derren Brown also sizes here an occasion to debunk some bullshit, from the paranormal industry to, being himself a former Christian, the fallacies lurking behind any irrational thinking. Sadly, the whole is poorly structured - we go ...more
Aug 18, 2007 is currently reading it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in how the mind works and the effect this can have on your life
So far, it is scary how much this man knows about the human brain! I have certain beliefs which (until now) I would have argued blind to defend. Now I am not so sure, afterall, as Derren put it himself - What is a belief, where do they come from and aren't we just subjective to what we really want to believe?

I challenge you to read it!
Sam Fleming
Jan 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Before I review it, I’d better ‘fess up about my ambivalent feelings towards Mr Brown.

I am not fond of hypnosis used for the purposes of entertainment. This is an understatement so vast you could use it as an air-craft carrier. It takes an effort of persuasion or morbid curiosity regarding a particular stunt for me to watch any such performance on the television. The only Derren Brown show I have ever enjoyed was the one in which he went around debunking charlatans who were profiting from the gu
Alex Daniel
Jul 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Derren Brown’s Tricks of the Mind was released in 2007. Obligatory disclaimer: This book will not fully explain the tricks and illusions you see on television. Instead, this book covers basic cognitive principles that allow these illusions to happen.

Derren Brown’s Tricks of the Mind is a good book; it covers a good bit of information on memory, suggestibility, and body language. It’s good, but it’s hard to recommend to others. The book begins with the idea that you know who Derren Brown is and t
May 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magic, non-fiction
I had the wrong idea about Derren Brown. I'd never seen him on tv, just thought he was some silly magician who brought in to all that medium/hypnotist rubbish. My sister informed me this was not correct and gave me a copy of the book.

This is the kind of book that appeals to me, I don't believe in any of that rubbish and Brown does a wonderful job of informing us how the "experts" make people believe. It's all in the mind, something which I often tell people who swear blindly they've seen ghos
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
I thought the book was ok overall and actually very funny in places if you can understand his sarcasm! The book is about mind tricks and hypnotism among other mind related stage activities Derren takes you through. There are some funny stories to keep you amused through the book although at the end it gets into the psychosis side of things which I found personally a bit boring. There were a few really good memory tricks which I have started applying already. Other chapters covered coin tricks, s ...more
Tom Oldale
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
An excellently written and genuinely funny insight into magic, memory, hypnosis and scepticism.

I really enjoyed this book and read it within a week as it is brilliantly organised into bite sized sections all as fascinating as the last. Some of you like me will get very little from sections like magic (as I have no interest in being a magician) but those sections are still interesting and within this book I’m sure is something of interest to everyone especially if you have even a minor interest
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Derren Brown has a real talent for engaging his audience, be it with his stage performance or, as I have just discovered reading this book, in his writing.

The author gives very some very interesting explanation on the general principle of "how it is all done". That made me go back to watching his shows with increased pleasure. He does keep the details of his performance secret though, which is probably for the best.

Highly recommended.
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Absolutely my new answer to "who would you want to have a dinner party with, dead or alive" is Derren Brown. Long fan of his shows (thanks to youtube) and have an interest in his type of entertainment. So to get his side of the story on all things mental/suggestive/ etc is well worth the read. ...more
Terry Clague
Derren Brown's first UK television series, Mind Control, aired before the turn of the millennium and was head-bendingly good telly which led Charlie Brooker to comment that the man was "either a balls-out con artist or the scariest man in Britain." A quote which adorns the front cover of my copy of this book, and why not?

The author seems to be very likeable* and charming but, alas, the book itself is over-written to within an inch of its breadth. Almost to the extent that you are reminded of how
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I save five stars for books I re-read or refer to later or pass on to friends. This is an old one, but so full of such necessary human information that I find myself passing it along quite frequently. To me, this book is best not for entertainment value, but for a simplified way of understanding how we think, and many of the ways that our brains can work against us in everyday life. Knowledge is power, and this book is an entertaining way to make your life more "illusion-proof".

The things that s
Samuel Tyler
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
I have come to realise that I don’t like being taught. At school I would find it hard to concentrate on work that did not interest me, whilst things that excited me I would have an almost photographic memory of. For this reason I am a fiction lover and not non-fiction. I would much rather learn from a story and hope that the author has done their research, rather than be preached to by a textbook. I was hoping that ‘Tricks of the Mind’ by Derren Brown would buck this trend as he is a very person ...more
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book felt very padded and often I skim read ends of pages as Derren had already come to a conclusion but waffled on.

The book is a general comment on magic, psychology, mental techniques and mysticism.
Nothing is particularly profound and most points are fairly common sense.
The memory exercise was fun and I was surprised at just how much I could remember - even backwards.
This worked less well in reality as Derren's list contained very unique items - but I am going to practice.

Derren's sarcast
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really interesting book - I got stuck in to the section on memory, and decided to memorize the periodic table as a small exercise. It was surprisingly easy - admittedly I had to fine-tune some of the techniques once I had learned them, but the results were incredible really! It would be diffcult to learn the periodic table just by repetition ( I did the majority of the work in under two hours ), and far too time consuming! However, if you learn a few simple techniques, you could surprise yoursel ...more
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant. So enthralling I had to finish it even though my eyes were already closing due to late hour. Not to mention his great tricks and exercises that the reader can benefit from, his witty manner of writing numerous funny stories make it such an enthralling but critical piece of writing. Just brilliant!
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good
Wonderful, clever, exciting - and rather scientific too. I enjoyed his gentle charm and perspicacious views. This put me back into that enjoyment of magic I had lost years ago.
Joey Vissers
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have ever read. It is fun to read and Derren gives you a wide range of information of how he does his tricks.

I can only say I hope he keeps making these kind of books.
Dimitris Hall
In this book, Derren Brown, famous British "illusionist, mentalist, trickster, hypnotist, painter, writer, and sceptic", sets out to reveal the secrets of his work and actually tell people "I have no real powers, and I hope this settles it!". We get to see all of the above sides of his: amazing breakdowns of his work and shows and spectacular analyses of what parts of human psychology and neurology he manipulates and why. Most of all, however, we see his sceptical side.

Derren Brown dedicates th
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love the way this guy writes (or maybe it's his writing partner). Hilarious. I was just disappointed that so much of the book was about stuff I'd already read about a number of times: memory tricks, pseudo-science, and spiritualism.

My favorite part was the preface; here's part of that:

Some time last spring I thought I would visit Her Majesty's Fish in the aquarium, which sits beneath the gently disappointing London Eye not far from our production offices. At the time I had just had a fish-tan
Sean Goh
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: psych, science
Picked this book up because of Happy. Reads like a mish-mash of different books, including Harry Lorrayne’s Memory Book, Ben Goldarce’s Bad Science, and Tversky and Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow. Still a decent and amusing introduction to some Tricks of the mind.

Uninformed strong opinions – and I particularly include religious ones, which for some reason get special treatment – are of course mere clusters of prejudices and no more appropriate than mine, yours, or anyone else’s are on top
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
The title is a bit of a cop out, as essentially this is a mixture of techniques that will help you understand the mind, and random thoughts that are at best peripheral to the topic at hand. However, I find Derren interesting and engaging, and I'm in agreement with much of what he says. Unfortunately, his pompous attitude is unavoidable and detracts from what could have been a less irritating final product.

The guide part of this was interesting, and I will definitely try his peg system for number
Steve Higgins
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Derren Brown is an enigmatic TV fella whose shows are a sort of combination of magic, psychology, hypnotism and some just general weird spooky stuff. I’m not sure what I was expecting from his book, I suppose I guessed it was a sort of autobiography of sorts but in fact it’s really about the things that interest the author, pretty much in the realms of magic, psychology and hypnotism and have contributed towards his performances both on the stage and on TV.
He starts off with a little background
James Taylor
May 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
The book is part autobiography and part psychology. Derren discusses his opinions about card tricks, hypnotism, psychic mediums, religion and psychology. It’s a bit all over the place, and Derren does acknowledge this in his closing notes.

Derren loves throwing big words around, especially early on in the book, and in that sense it reminded me of the comedian David Mitchell. It’s well written, but he often took me by surprise by throwing in a random reference/example which seemed out of left-fiel
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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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“Few kids seek to learn a skill specifically designed to impress people unless they feel less than impressive themselves.” 17 likes
“Moreover, knowledge and investigation help promote wonder they do not destroy it. Whatever our tastes, we can generally appreciate such things as music, art or wine better when we understand a bit about them. We read up on our favourite singers or artists because we feel we can appreciate their work better when we know how they think and what they bring to their work. The giddy delight and curiosity that comes from marvelling at the beauty of this universe is deepened, not cheapened, by the laws and facts science gives us to aid our understanding. In a similar way, the psychological tricks at work behind many seemingly paranormal events are truly more fascinating than the explanation of other-worldiness precisely because they are of this world, and say something about how rich and complex and mysterious we are as human beings to be convinced by such trickery, indeed to want to perpetuate it in the first place.” 13 likes
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