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Tricks Of The Mind Paperback – 8 Oct 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 305 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Channel 4; New Ed edition (8 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905026358
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905026357
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"Tricks of the Mind exposes Derren Brown as a master manipulator, with not a cauldron or genie in sight" (New Statesman)

"Clearly the best dinner party guest in history - he's either a balls-out con artist or the scariest man in Britain" (Charlie Brooker Guardian)

"If you see anybody with this book, go the other way" (Hilary Mantel Guardian)

"Lifting the lid on some of the darkests secrets from the world of magic, Derren reveals with brutal honesty how some tricks work, how to perfect particular techniques and how to spot lies through people's behaviour. You'll be reading minds in no time! ****" (OK!)

"Will delight anyone with an interest in the weirder things people think and they they think them" (Independent on Sunday)

Book Description

The definitive book by Britain's favourite illusionist...

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: 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.
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Format: 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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By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Highly intelligent, and ferociously honest about the failings of his fellow-practitioners, and his own deceits, Derren Brown is also witty and often rather clever. What he sets out in this book is more like a potted philosophy, interspersed with tips about improving the memory, simple conjuring tricks and a devastating condemnation of Spiritualism.

Those who have seen his TV programmes for Channel 4 will recognise the sheer mouthiness and brio of his delivery - he writes like he performs, a mile a minute with naughty asides. It's captivating to watch, but it can be a little overwhelming to read. Luckily, however, he calms down for the really serious subjects, such as religion, which he does not have much time for, especially as he admits to being a teenage Christian fundamentalist, until he read Bertrand Russell. He writes very ably and very persuasively about science versus the New Age (Reiki, Homeopathy, Crystals, Tarot, Chakra etc.). He makes the point that when tested against placebos homeopathic remedies consistently show no superiority in efficacy, and yet homeopathologists insist that they work. But since they do not work any better than a placebo, why pay for them?

He saves his deepest scorn for Spiritualism, the crooks and delusionists who practice it and the harm that they do to the credulous and bereaved. He is also scathing about Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), although he is careful not to dismiss it entirely, since it is current rather than original formats that have brought it into disrepute.

A lively and thought-provoking read - I particularly enjoyed his writing on reading unconscious behaviour, detecting lies and deceits, etc., which is much more complex than just watching faces or eyes; and his memory system (using a `memory palace') works too.
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