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David Copperfield
“Joshua Jay is a superb, innovative conjurer with an unrelenting love of the art. This captivating book is proof of that passion.”
David Copperfield
Neil Patrick Harris
“There are a myriad of books that explain how to perform magic. But there are very few that explain how to watch magic. A smart take, and an excellent read.”
Neil Patrick Harris
How Magicians Think

How Magicians Think

The door to magic is closed, but it’s not locked. And now Joshua Jay opens that door to reveal the artistry and obsessiveness, esoteric history and long-whispered-about traditions of a subject shrouded in mystery. “This book is my love letter to magic,” says Jay, “and it answers the questions people ask me every night after the show.” Joshua Jay brings us right into the mind of a magician—how they develop their other-worldly skills, conjure up illusions, and leave the rest of us slack-jawed with delight.

Along the way Jay reveals another kind of secret, one all readers will find meaningful even if they never aspire to perform sleight-of-hand: What does it take to follow your heart and achieve excellence?

Pre-order now ($24.95)
Released 28 September 2021. Includes free deck.

And Why Magic Matters

In 52 short, compulsively readable essays, Jay describes how he does it, whether it’s through the making of illusions, the psychology behind them or how technology influences the world of magic. He considers the aesthetics of performance, and answers questions like: Can a magic trick be too good? How do you saw a person in half? Is there real magic in the universe? Was Houdini as good as everyone says?

The book takes you into the minds and work of contemporary masters, including David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, and David Blaine. Jay spent considerable time with each one to glean secret insights into how magicians hone their craft.

Pre-order now ($24.95)

How Magicians Think

How Magicians Think is for anyone who loves mystery. But it’s also a probe into why we follow our passions, and what becomes of a life spent in pursuit of excellence. Or, as Teller describes it, “Swift, funny, honest, and alive with enthusiasm.”

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More Praise for How Magicians Think
David Blaine
“Joshua Jay has proven to be an important voice in magic. How Magicians Think is a thoughtful, engaging look into the secretive world of magicians…[and] will excite anyone with a curiosity or love for magic.”
David Blaine
“A loving, behind-the-scenes map of the world of magic, by someone who knows and lives the art. Swift, funny, honest, and alive with enthusiasm. And he has the good sense to quote me a lot.”
Uri Geller
"How Magicians Think is fascinating, beautiful, and can't-put-down shocking. It will inspire awe in its depiction of the secretive world of magicians and is a must-read for anyone passionate about pursuing excellence.”
Uri Geller
Seth Godin
"This generous book is about becoming really, really good at something, and doing it for the right reasons. It's a message we all need to hear."
Seth Godin,
Author, The Practice
Pete Holmes
"In How Magicians Think, the great Joshua Jay reveals a magician's greatest secret — not a secret shuffle or how they kept a dove alive in their pants for four hours — but how they think. The answer? Differently, creatively, and beautifully. I mean, how can you not love someone who's devoted their life to making you feel wonder?"
Pete Holmes, Comedian,
Author of Comedy Sex God

Free Deck When You Order Here

When you purchase How Magicians Think directly through us you'll receive a free pack of How Magicians Think playing cards.* These cards are not simply the book cover reproduced on playing card backs. Instead, the deck has been meticulously designed by deck designer Michał Kociołek, all in the spirit of the book and its topic. The back design depicts the human brain, and the artwork on each playing card embraces the thoughtful, secret engineering that occurs when magicians create their illusions. The cards are printed on a designer's grid, with erased lines and designer elements that give the distinct impression that the cards, themselves, are in a state of progress, evolving one improvement at a time, just like the very best magic tricks. The box design is our very favorite part: an elegant collage with sepia coloration and foil, with raised embossing on certain design elements.

This collectible deck is part of a limited edition of 2000 and will never be reprinted. They are not for sale and only available as part of this limited-time promotion on behalf of Workman Publishing and Vanishing Inc, for How Magicians Think.

*While Supplies Last

How Magicians Think playing cards
How Magicians Think

How Magicians Think Podcast

How Magicians Think Podcast is a new, limited-series podcast that will explore the fascinating history, creativity, and psychology of magicians. This podcast is for anyone who loves magic, and it will feature the greatest magicians of our age, discussing their creative process. You'll love the behind-the-scenes chatter about magic, but this podcast is also aspirational: you'll gain insights on the creative process that you can apply to your own artistic pursuits.

This is not an audiobook for How Magicians Think. This podcast is released in tandem with Joshua Jay's anticipated book, but the contents are entirely different and will evolve as episodes are released.

The How Magicians Think podcast is produced by renowned podcasting company AudioUp and will debut in October on all podcasting platforms.

Joshua Jay, bestselling author of Magic: The Complete Course and other books, has performed on stages in over 100 countries, fooled Penn & Teller on their hit show, Fool Us, and was named the 2020 Magician of the Year by the Society of American Magicians. He holds a Guinness World Record for card tricks, has performed for US presidents, and appears regularly on TV shows like The Tonight Show and The Late Show with James Corden. He lives in New York City.


It’s trite to say that I’ve been working on this book “my whole life,” but I’m not sure how else to put it. How Magicians Think really is the culmination of my entire experience in magic. I’ve been outlining and developing the chapters in this book for a very long time, and my inspirations are too numerous to thank and list exhaustively.

Instead, I listed critical sources at the end of How Magicians Think and have reproduced that list here. In the event of any inadvertent oversight, I will do my best to update that list here.


Pre-order now ($24.95)


Community questions about How Magicians Think

Have a question about this product? It's possible others do too. Ask here and other Vanishing Inc. Magic customers will be able to respond with assistance! Alternatively, email us and we can help too.

  • David asks: Some pictures show the book with and some without a dust cover. Also you mention the unique deck of cards. What is your methodology to dictate who can buy the ‘dust cover version’ with the possibility of the special Cards? I have been a ‘magic nut’ since I was eight years old and been a gold star M.I.M.C. member for over 50 years. I am always fascinated to read and listen to experts opinions on all aspects of our ‘art’ and I look forward to reading yours. Kind regards DAVID BECKLEY M.I.M.C

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: Every book comes with a dust cover but only the deck of cards comes with a slip case.
  • Ethan asks: Will this be released at Magifest? Also if so, will the cards be available with the book there or only from Vanishing Inc on the site?

    • 1. Jim answers: Stock depending, yes (for Magifest). The deck is only available if you place the pre-order on the site.
    Post an answer to this question
  • Jack asks: This might sound silly, but does 'How Magicians Think' get sent in a padded package to protect it?

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: Everything we send is packaged and sent protected :)
  • VICTOR asks: I just bought it! Can Joshua Jay autograph the book? Thank you!

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: All copies purchased from us will come with a signed bookplate.
  • David asks: Is there an ebook version available?

    • 1. Jim answers: Not yet, but one is planned.
    Post an answer to this question
  • Robert asks: What is projected release date of book?

    • 1. Jim answers: It is scheduled for September 28, 2021.
    Post an answer to this question
  • Tim asks: By “signed bookplate” do you mean the books are not hand signed by Josh on the usual page, but rather stickers are applied that have been machine signed with a Likeness (albeit a good one) of his actual signature? I’m familiar with this common practice of many publishers who use it instead of true hand signing by authors - it’s why I’d rather attend an actual book signing

    • 1. Jim answers: In this case (I can't speak to other book publishing practices), the bookplate is a designed sticker, that Joshua signs by hand. This sticker is then applied to one of the first pages in the book. If you want Joshua to inscribe your name, or write on the actual book (as opposed to a sticker) I would recommend meeting Josh in person at a magic convention, or on his book tour, where he will be honored to personally sign your book. I hope that helps!
    Post an answer to this question
  • CHAD asks: Josh, I knew you when you were a tennis and we were both in the Akron area in the club. Would you please quit showing off by producing books that are not only affordable but also crucial to the development of magicians and also the art of magic. It’s sickening to see someone so contributive and successful.

    • 1. Jim answers: Josh was a tennis? Who knew?!? ??
    • 2. Hunter answers: Quit being jealous of someone else and get your own life.
    • 3. Daniel answers: Place nice all think Chad was just joking Hunter.
    • 4. Hunter answers: My bad. I apologize.
    Post an answer to this question
  • Minjun asks: How many pages long is this book?

    • 1. Jim answers: 320.
    Post an answer to this question
  • Jason asks: Just pre-ordered... Just curious who printed the deck of cards? USPCC, Cartamundi, etc...

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: USPCC
  • Daniel asks: Amazon lists a Kindle eBook version available in late September. Will an eBook edition also be available from Vanishing Inc.?

    • 1. Jim answers: It is possible. The decision will be made closer to the time of the release.
    Post an answer to this question
  • Tod asks: Just noticed the question of an ebook possibility. I'd preorder an ebook in a heartbeat! Have so many bound books (of many topics) I can hardly give them away. Just thought I'd add a comment on that topic.

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: Thanks for your comment. We will update the webpage if and when we start selling the ebook!
  • Thomas asks: Will Joshua sign "How Magicians Think" if asked?

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: For our copies of How Magicians Think, Josh will sign custom bookplates, and those will be applied to each copy of the book that we sell during the pre-order. So you will have a hand signed bookplate in your copy. It will not be personalized. You will also get access to the brand new podcast episodes and a custom deck of How Magicians Think playing cards. Although the deck is not signed, it is amazing, and it will be in its own custom tuck slipcase.
  • Steven asks: I see Amazon has the CD version. Is it available here?

    • 1. Jim answers: No, but that may change when the book is published.
    Post an answer to this question
  • andrew asks: When will the book tour be announced?

    • 1. Jim answers: Soon™
    Post an answer to this question
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