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172 of 178 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well, of course he doesn't reveal ALL...
Needless to say, anyone in Derren Brown's profession who wrote a book reavealing everything about how they work wouldn't last very long. What is remarkable about this book is that it actually reveals quite a lot. No, he doesn't explain how each trick works (as if!) but there is plenty here to interest the curious among us.

If you want some tips on hypnotism,...
Published on 1 Dec 2006 by Dr. George L. Sik

versus
53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mixed pleasure
After having read through the books he published for the magical community, i saw this book in the store and couldn't help but pick it up.

Very quickly you are drawn into the book, with funny anectodes, merciless cynism and the simple power of his words. In the "magic" section he again emphasizes on the power of presentations, and how you can improve the...
Published on 17 Nov 2006 by Thomas


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172 of 178 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well, of course he doesn't reveal ALL..., 1 Dec 2006
By 
Dr. George L. Sik (Epsom, Surrey) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tricks Of The Mind (Hardcover)
Needless to say, anyone in Derren Brown's profession who wrote a book reavealing everything about how they work wouldn't last very long. What is remarkable about this book is that it actually reveals quite a lot. No, he doesn't explain how each trick works (as if!) but there is plenty here to interest the curious among us.

If you want some tips on hypnotism, which he describes as the product of effective suggestion rather than a unique trance-like state, feats of memory or straightforward conjuring (something I suspect he uses much more of in his routines than he'd like you to think), there is a great deal of information provided. If we read it and practise what it reveals (that's the bit most of us are not prepared to do because it takes for ever), any of us could invent some pretty neat tricks of our own. Insofar as anyone will write a 'how to' guide on hypnotising your friends, this is probably as close as we're going to get.

Some may not like the book's mixture of tips, autobiographical anecdotes and polemic about how easily fooled people are and how they really will believe almost anything. Admittedly, these elements don't always come together all that smoothly, but they do all reveal a lot about the man, his view of the world and what he thinks of the whole school of 'you can fool most of the people a lot of the time' opportunists (hucksters, charlatans, salesmen and camp Northern psychics of every stripe).

The book's structure may be flawed, but its honesty is the ace up its sleeve - not bad in a profession based on fooling people.
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138 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening and very funny, 28 Nov 2007
By 
Amazon Customer "Change specialist - coaching... (Manchester, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Tricks Of The Mind (Paperback)
In which the celebrated TV showman and 'mentalist' reveals (some of) the tricks of his trade, plus a selection of tips and mind hacks that anyone would find useful.

Along the way he gives us a whistle-stop tour of magic, memory techniques (an excellent introduction), hypnosis (with a bit about NLP), unconscious communication and 'cold reading, and pseudo-science and sloppy thinking.

Naturally, being an NLP trainer, it was the bit about NLP I turned to first. Derren attended a large course on which Richard Bandler was one of the trainers (with 'four hundred or so delegates, some of whom were clearly either unbalanced or self-delusory') which he found 'highly evangelical'. He says it was a four-day course so it can't have been Paul McKenna's (unless Derren developed amnesia for some of the days) as this lasts for seven, as far as I know. Nevertheless, he likes NLP enough to include some nifty NLP self-help techniques (subtle mirroring and various submodality interventions including the phobia cure, mapping across and a couple of variations on the swish pattern for motivation and confidence) with step-by-step instructions.

By the way, if you only read one bit of the book, make it the 'Confusion and Self-Defence' section at the end of the hypnosis chapter - not only is it very funny, it could save your life some day.

The underlying attitude running through the book is one of skepticism - particularly about professional psychics and mediums. Given his background - an evangelical Christian in his teens, becoming disillusioned with it as he got into stage hypnotism and magic - it's not surprising that he's a skeptic. Having first-hand experience of how a circular belief system leads to an insistence on one particular interpretation of 'reality' while discounting all others, plus a professional's command of the tools and tricks of mental deception, will do that to you.

The final section of the book, on 'anti-science, pseudo-science, and bad thinking' is excellent - a skewering of alternative medicine, cold-reading tricks used by charlatans, and the 'thinking traps' that seem to be almost hard-wired into our thought processes, leading us to see patterns where there are none in coincidences and making some people a magnet for scamsters.

The writing style is delightful - self-deprecating and very funny. I hadn't actually seen that many of Derren's TV shows (no, I'm not on first-name terms with him, but reading this book will make you feel like he's your mate) but I'm now a confirmed fan.

Buy this book if a) you're interested in the techniques he uses in his stage and TV shows, b) you want to improve your memory and confidence, c) you want to get better at thinking or d) you want a good laugh.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good magician never reveals his secrets..., 4 Feb 2007
This review is from: Tricks Of The Mind (Hardcover)
I bought this book about a week ago and within a couple of hours had finished it. I find Derren's tv shows fascinating so was eager to find out more about the methods and the man behind the mindbending.

I wasn't expecting him to reveal all about how he performs his tricks; to do so would be to do himself out of a career, but I was intrigued as to how he had ended up as a mentalist and what his belief systems are, and this book answered those questions for me.

I liked that it is written very much for the more intelligent of readers; Derren doesn't dumb down his vocabulary or opinions in order to access a wider audience, this book is firmly targeted towards those who have a serious desire to learn more about his profession.

Whilst I agree that the memory tricks aren't anything special (having already learnt the pegging system and other techniques from a memory improvement book as a child) I did enjoy the insights into how Derren achieves his cold-reading, and how he views hypnosis and the paranormal.

And the style of writing in the book is brilliant- the man is not only very clever, he also has a magnificently witty sense of humour- several times I found myself laughing out loud at his self-deprecating and sarcastic remarks.

Overall, I really liked this book. It has allowed me to get a deeper look at a public figure who appears shrouded in mystery (and hype) in the media, become educated about a few things I hadn't encountered before, such as NLP, and prompted me to re-evaluate my own beliefs and experiences in a more balanced way.

I definitely recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind over matter, 19 Jun 2008
By 
Mr. S. T. Parry "MzP" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tricks Of The Mind (Paperback)
Delivered in Derren's usual style of a mix of serious points with a tendency to show that he's not prepared to take himself too seriously this is an easy and enjoyable read. Starting with an introduction to the tricks that have been part of his stage show, it quickly moves into looking at the workings of the human mind and progresses to give a philosophical treatise that is as intelligent as it is readable (if only most philosophy books could convey their ideas like this instead of trying to tie themselves up in complexity and linguistic gymnastics). More than anything Derren shows that if you don't have a sense of humour about yourself and your own ideas then you're unlikely to really be open to understanding the nuances of human behaviour and the inner workings of the mind
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A really enjoyable read, 6 Nov 2008
By 
C. Boyes - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tricks Of The Mind (Paperback)
If you are even slightly interested in the methods Derren uses in his shows then you should give this book a read, of course he doesn't reveal everything the book would be huge!

He covers simple card and coin magic, memory, hypnosis, unconscious communication and pseudo-science and branches into various categories within these chapters. He tells you everything you need to know on a basic level but then gives a reading list if you are particularly interested in finding out more information which I think is very good as my general search on here found quite a few disappointing looking books and I wasn't sure where to find reliable and decent information.

He gives you tricks to try as well as a lot of history and stories from his own life, I found the book incredibly interesting and saw myself taking time out of my day to read it until I had finished it cover to cover. He does all this with good humour and I found myself laughing out loud at certain points throughout. Ultimately you find out how hard he actually has worked in researching and developing the skills he has and how with enough effort put in other people could pick these skills up too, he isn't some sort of creepy magician always trying to read people, he is an ordinary guy who really has worked at this and has amazing talent at it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Wonderful, 5 Jun 2008
By 
Jason Vale (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tricks Of The Mind (Paperback)
I was a huge fan of Derren Brown before I read the book and now perhaps an even bigger one. His command of the English language is to be admired (although there was one use of the C word which was, I feel, completely unnecessary). Although the first few chapters are hard to get through the rest is a gem. I didn't agree with all he said, especially his view on 'all science is fact and everything else is rubbish'. But we are all entitled to our opinion and quite frankly the man is simply incredible. Well done Derren, great book, great TV show and great entertainment - you have clearly worked hard for years and its paid off. GET THE BOOK - IT'S WONDERFUL!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for disabusing you of myths, 20 Nov 2007
This review is from: Tricks Of The Mind (Paperback)
I liked Derren's book. It's authentic, genuine, funny and sometimes painfully honest. It disabused me of some ideas about hypnosis and 'trance'. I think the techniques he describes 'work' on some people some of the time. He is an entertainer and from reading the book and seeing a show I can appreciate its how you blend them together that is the real skill.

4 out of 5 as some of the text repeats other ideas and tools I have read elsewhere.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Opens up a little (but not a lot!), 10 July 2007
By 
R. B. Moore "rmoore322" (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tricks Of The Mind (Paperback)
On TV he does come across as a slightly smug character, and some of the sarcastic asides in here just reinforce that opinion. But he is an expert in his field, so I picked this up interested in hearing what he had to say.

And he does open a bit, but you only really get the tip of the iceburg. A couple of card tricks, some lie detection, some basic hypnosis tricks, plus a whole chunk debunking anything in this world that relies on faith basically. Christianity, spirituality - Derren has read the Dawkins book and wants his say too. Now, his views and explanation are interesting, and I did laugh at some of his little comments (for eg, why have braille labels in an aquarium), but I'd rather have had some more solid content about some of the stunts that he does. Having six or seven pages of crank letters is amusing first time through, but I would rather have had the same space with more insight into his act.

It's an easy read though, and he does know his stuff. The NLP section is very interesting. So I'd recommend it.
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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mixed pleasure, 17 Nov 2006
This review is from: Tricks Of The Mind (Hardcover)
After having read through the books he published for the magical community, i saw this book in the store and couldn't help but pick it up.

Very quickly you are drawn into the book, with funny anectodes, merciless cynism and the simple power of his words. In the "magic" section he again emphasizes on the power of presentations, and how you can improve the performance of a simple trick by just a few things. The section on memory techniques i found fascinating, and would recommend it to everyone to read and practice the skills. Absolutely fabuluous.

Sadly, after that, it is all downhill. Although I do believe he has a genuine wish to inform people, he simply does what he accuses others of: find proof for his own beliefs. This can be seen in the texts quoted and the sources given at the end of the book. After discounting hypnosis, and subsequently ripping NLP to shreds (although stating that the techniques do work), he embarks on a long long section of beliefs and religion. He states it himself, so I can say it too: It's a rant, and nothing more than a rant. While having good intentions, it shows also the box Brown himself sits in, and the lack of challenging his own beliefs. (nota bene: I am no christian and have a strong dislike for organised religion. If you are interested in the power of beliefs, read: The holographic universe)

Overall, it is a good book, yet only buy it if you really like Derren Brown. If not, borrow it from somewhere and read about the memory strategies. Overall 3 stars instead of 2, simply for the storytelling and the anecdotes!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More of ramble than journey - but an interesting one, 1 Nov 2007
By 
Richard Murphy (Winchester, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tricks Of The Mind (Paperback)
The book sleeve claims it will take you on a journey into the structure and psychology of magic. However this is really more a ramble through some interesting ideas.

Derren Brown has lots to say in this book. It is worth the price just for the anecdotes - look out for the one where he stopped a violent drunk from hitting him by talking about walls.

The magic and memory tricks are mixed with his personal views. He saves the best for last, with a heart-felt attack on false mediums who prey on the vulnerable for money. This is not a slapdash book written by a celebrity cashing in on his name. The author has put a real effort to cover a wide range of topics that he has clearly been thinking about for years.

Overall I enjoyed this book. If you are looking for an interesting and entertaining way to learn more about the mind works, this is the book for you.

Recommended.
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