When Is A Magic Book Not A Magic Book?

I suppose I wrote How Magicians Think because nothing quite like it exists, and I wanted it to. It’s part memoir and part essay book about the craft of magic. I tried to mix the personal with the general, and to answer the commonly-asked questions people ask of magicians.

It’s not a magic book that teaches magic or espouses magic psychology. It is, at its core, a book that celebrates magic and, I hope, helps people see magic in a more refined way.


What isHow Magicians Think about?

When I used to work a lot of cruise ships, they would sometimes seat me at dinners with the other patrons on the ship. And as soon as it became clear that I was a magician, I would get a barrage of questions. Interestingly, the questions were largely the same 30 or so questions, year after year, group after group.

  • Was Houdini really as good as everyone says?
  • What do you do if you mess up a trick?
  • How do you create magic?
  • Who’s the greatest living magician?

How Magicians Think is my answer to these questions. Fifty two chapters, each one a response to a core question about magic.


Who is it written for?

The book is written for you! It’s for anyone who loves magic. I think magicians will have a particularly affinity for the topics covered, but it’s for anyone who has ever been fascinated by magic. More than that, it’s for anyone looking to learn from how magicians think, and apply it to their own lives. I think there are valuable skills in lateral thinking, public speaking, and pursuing your dreams and goals, and each of these things would apply to crafts well outside the boundaries of magic.

The mistake so many people make is in thinking that a book has to have some direct connection to the reader’s lives. You don’t have to be a magician to enjoy a book about magic, any more than you have to be a musician to enjoy David Byrne’s How Music Works. Gaining insight into how an expert approaches their craft is useful and, I think, interesting, no matter what the topic is. In fact, often the more outrageous the topic the more interesting the book.


Why I wrote How Magicians Think

I’ve told you why I felt that How Magicians Think needed to be written. But the reasons for writing it are harder to articulate.

For starters, I of course looked forward to the press that would surround its release. As a performing magician, we’re always in search of ways to stay relevant, to pitch to television shows and print media, and so on. This book will be my next reason to step into that spotlight.

Also, as I approach forty, I’m aware of the transition that will need to start happening. As I get a little older it becomes important to find new avenues to express myself with magic. New doors open, and becoming a speaker and authority figure on various aspects of the art is quite appealing, and frankly hard for a twenty year old to break into. It seems the timing is right.

And finally, I wrote this book because what has come increasingly clear to me is my purpose in magic, which is this: I want to deepen people’s appreciation for magic and magicians. I want to do more than just amaze an audience or create a great magic trick. I want to help people improve their magical fluency, to get better at perceiving and watching and enjoying magic and magicians. And this book is a step in that direction.

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