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Derren Brown's TV and stage shows have both baffled and intrigued those who watch them. A master of magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship, he can also seemingly predict and control human behaviour.
As one of those people who are intrigued by what he does, I decided to read his book, 'Tricks Of The Mind.'
In this book, Derren gives the reader an insight into his world, revealing his thoughts, opinions and the psychology of magic, as well as taking a look at the paranormal industry and why some of us feel we have to believe in it.
The preface of the book outlines some of Derren's thoughts and observations, all written with a humorous slant which is evident throughout his performances and I was pleased this has been transferred to his writing. It ensures the reader never gets bored and the book is at all times, entertaining.
Derren explains that the type of performance he thrusts upon his audiences has its roots in a craft called 'Mentalism' which in turn is rooted in magic. Therefore this means Derren is what is known as a 'Mentalist' although Derren himself does not like this term. He explains mentalist skills and why being a mentalist is more radical than being a magician. The skills are more difficult to learn and Derren discusses the people who deploy these skills and their ethics, whilst stating that he himself likes to work as honestly as possible but still manage to retain drama and mystery.
After reading the first part of the book, I was surprised by just how much I was enjoying it. Although I am a fan of Derren's work, I wasn't sure I would enjoy reading this book, but despite my reservations I was more or less hooked from the first page, thanks to the writing style.
~~Making a coin disappear is not easy!~~
I didn't think for one minute that Derren would be giving away the secrets of his trade here despite the cover of the book stating the secrets behind his craft are revealed for the first time. However, Derren does reveal the techniques behind some coin and card tricks here and I found myself placing a coin on the table and seeing if I could follow instructions on how to pick it up and make it disappear!
Tips are given for this coin sleight trick on how to make it effective, as Derren explains that much of the experience of magic happens after the trick is over as the viewer is trying to reconstruct what he has just witnessed.
I found it fascinating and can verify that trying to make a coin disappear is not easy!
We are also given an insight into a card trick which ultimately, if performed correctly, will expose your spectator as a fool, but as Derren points out, could earn you a few freed drinks!
I realised very quickly that even these coin and card sleight tricks were beyond my abilities, even with Derren's guidance. It was fun to try as they raised a few laughs, though perhaps I am better off being the foolish spectator.
I found I was enthralled as Derren provides hints and tips about perception and suggestion used to explain the principles behind his craft. One thing I enjoy about Derren Brown when watching his shows, is his ability to get inside your mind and exploit the brain, fooling us about what we have seen and controlling and predicting our reactions, which inevitably give Derren those successful conclusions.
The fun doesn't stop with the sleight tricks, as Derren devotes a large amount of time to explain techniques to enable you to memorize things, a skill which Derren appears to excel at. Once again I was intrigued by what I read, from the starting points to memorizing football scores, Derren deploys techniques which I can only wonder about and there is no doubt he is a very intelligent man.
After being suitably impressed reading all this, I had to smile when Derren then admits he struggles to remember the names of volunteers when performing live. Something which would perhaps be one of the easiest things to do out of everything else he has spoke about.
There is an even-more-fascinating section about hypnosis as Derren explains how he started using hypnosis and points out both the dangers and what hypnosis can and can't do. He goes into this section in great detail and it answered a few questions I had in my mind about this subject.
Derren also goes on to discuss his earlier 'Mind Control' TV series and recalls when making one of these shows which was aired approx ten years ago, he went head-to-head with psychics at a training college, with the psychics giving a reading to an unknown person. After which, Derren gave his own non-psychic reading, which surprsingly the subject found more accurate. It is something that Derren has repeated many times since and also recently made a programme for TV where he investigated a psychic. A programme I personally found very interesting to watch.
Derren is a sceptic when it comes to psychics and considering he has achieved more accurate results than someone who declares themselves to be a 'psychic' on numerous occasions, it is no wonder he has strong views on the subject.
Once again this makes for very interesting reading and he also clears up what actually happened when he met TV medium Derek Acorah.
There are some photographs included in the centre of the book, including a table levitation which Derren demonstrated at home for scientist Dr Robert Smith who was totally baffled by what he saw and also some examples of his art work. For anyone who doesn't know this, Derren is also a really good artist and paints some amazing caraciture portraits. There are more examples of his work on his website.
I found this book to be totally fascinating from start to finish. It is extremely interesting and gives the reader a greater insight into the workings of our own minds and how we can be manipulated, whilst also providing an entertaining and informative insight into Derren Brown himself ,his work, his thoughts and a few lessons along the way on how to develop your own skills. Because it is written with a certain wryness and humour and fans of Derren will know exactly what I mean by that, you will find it an entertaining read from start to finish.
If you are a fan of Derren Brown's performances and haven't read this book yet, I strongly recommend you get your hands on a copy.
Finally it is the weekend (for some of us) and I have decided rather than watching the film my brother loaned me for a night or two (it's been two weeks now) I am going to grace you all with my presence on the review scene. I will even do you the courtesy of keeping it short. Ish. The Cider in my blood stream may change that
Things that have taken up most of my time this month: Work (Oh god work), drinking, driving (three hours each way) to see my boyfriend and reading. The latter is what I shall be telling you about today (the reading, not the seeing the boyfriend, that's a WHOLE different website). The book I have been delving into this month has been Derren Brown's "Tricks of the Mind".
---That's not my name---
Derren Brown has made a name for himself through his channel four TV series such as Mind Control and Trick or Treat and also one off events such as a live game of Russian roulette and teaching members of the public how to pull of a bank heist. One could probably just about get away with calling him a magician but he has such a wide range of tomfoolery that this description leaves a lot to be desired. Mr Brown uses a mixture of psychology, misdirection and being a devious bastard. Kind of like Paul Daniels but cooler, slightly better looking and with much better illusions. Also he doesn't have that dried up bag (Debbie, I believe her name is) hanging off him. Probably because he's gay, but more than likely just because he is not that tacky.
I bought this book just after Christmas when I was high on pudding and turkey and the fact I had £40 worth of book vouchers to spend frivolously on...well... books. This meant that I could not only buy all the books that I desperately wanted, I could also buy all the books that I judged by their covers (a method that has actually worked out incredibly well for me both in life AND in the book shop). I have had it in my "to read" pile since then, slowly getting nearer the top. £7.99 well spent!
---Better the devil you know---
This books cover had a man who I (and lets pretend I didn't tell you this) have a bit of a crush on, coupled with a rather funky devil and some pretty blue skies. I was intrigued enough to read the first few pages. With an opening consisting of "The Bible is not history" I was sold.
This book is not what a lot of people believe it is going to be. A lot of my friends assumed it was going to be an auto biography. Others assumed it was going to be a book of magic tricks to satisfy your kiddies with. On the contrary, this book is a delightful look into a lot of the techniques that Brown uses to put on his acts. Not only does it tell you how to use them, it gives you a lot of incredibly interesting history about each technique. There is a light smattering of details of his life but no more than you really need to know. The book is split up into a few sections that I'll run through now with you!
---Part 1: Disillusionment---
Effectively the introduction Brown takes you to a part of his past I hadn't ever heard about. Apparently Brown used to be an incredibly obnoxious devout Christian (to the bible bashing degree). He briefly and rather wisely discusses this first before moving on to the audience's relation with magicians. It makes him seem a lot more harmless and you realise that he too is human.
---Part 2: Magic---
This section, as you may have realised, takes you through a couple of small tricks and discusses not only the slight of hand required to make them work but the presentation of the trick. It lets you see just how much can go into a successful performance and the depth of the deception that goes on in even the smallest of tricks.
It also starts to look into things like ideomotor movements (another crazily interesting part of human construction which basically means if you think you might start leaning to the left sometime soon, you will automatically start leaning ever so slightly to the left without realising it)
---Part 3: Memory---
Another thing Brown is famous for is his amazing ability to remember. Even elephants envy him. This section deals with his techniques for memory aids and is, quite frankly, brilliant. He writes in a way that allows you to try out the techniques as you are reading and if you do as he says then you will shock yourself. At one point he lists 20 random objects. After a quick glance at the list and a five minute read of the technique you will be able to remember all 20 objects and the exact order they were listed in. I read the section about 3 weeks ago and I can still list the objects. It works. It works bloody brilliantly.
---Part 4: Hypnosis and suggestibility---
As the title suggests, Brown takes us into the history of hypnosis and gives us a few things to try out on yourself and your friends. This section really took my interest as it discusses why people react to hypnosis on stage and gives you some brilliant tools to relax with (one section even deals with getting rid of phobias which many could probably find helpful). This section also touches on a subject called Neuro-lingquistic Programming. Again, interesting, but rather hard to explain. Read the book.
---Part 5: Unconscious communications---
This section deals quite a lot with body language and how to spot lies. This section doesn't seem to go into that much depth since the science of spotting lies seems to still be quite up in the air with no true method of doing it pinned down. Still makes for interesting reading!
---Part 6: Anti-science, Pseudo-science and Bad Thinking---
This was one of my favourite sections. Brown takes the opportunity to discuss snake oil salesmen, so called psychics and a bunch of other ambiguous and dodgy characters that will use the techniques he has discussed to try and fool the world. Touching on beliefs will always be a controversial issue but I feel the opening paragraph where he explained his previously devout nature makes it slightly more OK for him to be commenting on things. I get the impression a lot of miffed, debunked tricksters like to use the defence that he doesn't know anything about religion, faith or belief systems to question them, whereas he actually knows a hell of a lot about them. He actually knows a hell of a lot about everything by the sounds of things. Awesome.
To finish the book we are given some closing thoughts and a few examples of correspondence the man himself has received through his line of work. Some are hilariously naive, others down right creepy. Brown also leaves you with a rather huge list of further reading, listing any book or collection of work he has made reference to throughout this amazing piece.
So, now you know what is discussed, how about the writing style? I am happy to say that Brown has a brilliant way with words and makes the entire read very enjoyable, throwing in his sharp wit regularly and occasionally recounting hilarious tales from his youth. He makes each subject very easy to understand and stupendously interesting without belittling the reader. He also makes his points in a very clear, balanced and sensible manner. Go him.
---No, you didn't just dance the funky chicken---
I wouldn't particularly recommend this to anyone who can't see past the page of their bible mainly because those types will deem the whole book as blasphemy. Those who are remotely open minded will find this book to be a welcome addition to their collection. I'd say give his TV shows a watch and if they interest you, read this book. It WILL fascinate you and you WILL wake up with no memory of the previous few days and feeling refreshed.
I should declare an interest before I start: I worked as a 'close-up' magician and have studied the sort of subjects D.B. talks about in his book for about fifteen years now. So my opinions are not going to be without prejudice.
First off, I like Derren Brown. He's been extremely good for what gets broadly referred to as 'Magic' here in the UK, and he's single-handedly made it (almost) socially acceptable in a way that Paul Daniels was never going to (exceptionally irritating though he was).
Tricks of the Mind is part autobiography and part introductory guide to some of Derren's famous interests: hypnosis, sleight of hand, Neuro-Linguist Programming (American-grown Bulls-hit), memory techniques, cognitive errors, religion, new-age attitudes and the like. Basically, if you've seen his shows, either live or on Channel 4, then you'll know what mix to expect - though don't expect any major secrets to be revealed.
Derren is an inconsistent writer: sometimes very funny, sometimes quite outspoken and serious on topics like religion, new-age thinking and alternative healthcare. He's best when talking about himself and several passages had me laughing out loud, though occasionally I thought he was trying too hard to be witty.
Now whether you view such inconsistencies as negative or just as 'changes of pace' is really a matter of taste. The book is not a scholarly work and doesn't aim to be. But the parts of this book that work are those which stick to his home turf - i.e. tricks of the mind. It's one thing performing a trick inspired by homeopathy or voodoo or Ouija boards, but serious scientific debate is the antithesis to a magic show: the former attempts to reveal the truth, the latter attempts to cover it.
There are still many people, no doubt, who believe that Derren's work is 80% psychology, 20% conjuring tricks - whereas it's nearer the other way round. But this should not undermine anyone's opinion of his work, in fact, I think it's more impressive that way.
In a sense, this book could be viewed as a classic bit of Derren's misdirection: he explains real techniques like memory and (arguably) hypnosis and by the end of the book you believe that there's a largely psychological explanation to the work you see him perform. But it's just another pseudo-explanation no matter how interesting it is.
When Brown seriously criticizes NLP, or alternative remedies or anything else, he doesn't have the weight of knowledge or the professional context to back up his opinions. He's a brilliant professional entertainer, but I get uncomfortable when he drones on about his pet subjects like someone in the latter stages of a dinner party.
We are told that he rejected God and organized religion as a young adult, and has now become something of a proselytizing atheist in the Dawkins mold. Don't get me wrong, I'm as devoted an atheist as you're going to find, but I think the God bashing should be left up to those better qualified (see Christopher Hitchens' 'God is Not Great' for a strident polemic).
What we're left with is a book which, while entertaining in parts and informative as a primer on memory techniques, stage hypnosis and NLP, ultimately doesn't satisfy in any capacity and ends up seeming like a cash-my-fame-in-now book chopped together from all of his interests.
Frankly 'Tricks of the Mind' was a little disappointing, but bare in mind my background and take me with a pinch of salt. Besides, it's out in paperback for next to nothing now, so give it a whirl and prove me wrong. At least you'll have a laugh and impress you friends with your super-power memory.
This book surprised me a great deal. I was expecting a simple autobiographical account of Derren's interests and life leading up to and during his career. Whilst there are bits of this throughout the book, interesting in itself, this book is full of informative conclusions on the psychic world, religion and other "tricks of the mind" and skills that the reader can learn and use.
Derren does not hold back in giving the reader his opinion on those who try to convince people that their own "mind tricks" are real. He distinguishes himself from these people by clearly stating to his viewers that the things he does are not "real" - they are a mixture of magic, suggestion, etc.
However, what I found most revealing is the extent of experience and skills that Derren has - none so much as with his memory. In the book, he explains the various memory skills that he has taught himself and that he uses himself in his performances and life. These are really helpful, the book is really clear on explaining the various methods with the intention of the reader learning some of the methods in the course of reading the book and I think everyone could benefit from knowing the basics. It is quite amazing how these methods work and although it is clear that with work and commitment anyone could memorize extensive information, the extent to which Derren has developed his skills is very impressive. "Giving away" his methods does nothing in my opinion to lessen his performances.
I really enjoyed reading this book, I finished it feeling like I had actually learnt things which I wasn't expecting when I started it and you don't normally get from an autobiography and I would recommend it to anyone.
I am a huge fan of Derren Brown's work, even if his more recent "events" shows were a tad dissapointing.
The book itself provides a great insight into the mechanics behind Derren's acts of showmanship, misdirection and illusion but also the mechanics of Derren himself, his strict Catholic child hood and renouncement of his faith.
The book is quite meaty and split into 6 main parts:
Hynosis and Sugguestability
Anti-Science, Pseudo Science and bad thinking
There is also a further reading section for any aspiring magicians, illusionists, mentalists,sceptics.
The content is a mixture of try at home tricks and influences throughout history that have shaped the magic arts. My favorite part of the book is where Derren in no uncertain terms goes about ruining the work of so called mediums and psychics essential for extorting money out of vunerable peoples hopes through cold reading. As mentioned in previous reviews this is not a cover to cover read but should be enjoyed part by part practising some of the fun tricks involved.
Derrens writing style is extreamly whitty and dry with slight hints of self deprecation. Its also informative and commpreheable to us mere mortals.
In summary there is so much that can be learn't just from reading this book that i can't help but give 5/5
This is not Derren Browns first 'magic' book but it is his first mainstream book as his previous one is almost imposibile to find and was only meant for profesional magicians. This book however also covers a number of pshycological techniques such as how to hypnotise people, improve your memory as well as explaining some simpler card tricks.
The tone of the book is veers from the very funny and informal to the quite dry when Derren explains a more complex technique. The book appears to have been written by Derren himself (probably due to the material contained within it might be difficult for a ghost writer to have done it) so it is definitely not some sort of celebrity cash in.
I have had the book for a few years now and I will say that it is not the kind of book that you pick up and read from cover to cover, you will find yourself flipping from section to section picking out the most appealing and useful sections for yourself.
I particularly liked the anecdotes contained in the book (the one about the rhino is great) and think that there is a nice balance between the dry material and the more jokey, funy side to Derren Brown.
Since this book is now a couple of years old it does not cover any of the recently televised 'events' performed by Derren, so please be aware of that.
Fantastic book! I bought this as something to read on my way back from London and it quickly became something i couldn't stop reading or talking about. Like most books from illusionists/ magicians you get a brief insight into how certain tricks work. But unlike most other books Derren Brown also gives a great insight into how certain illusionist techniques work like hypnosis, memory tricks and reading people. i have used some of the tricks like memorising a whole deck of cards in order and have used some of the techniques to remember vast amounts of information for my studies. Not only is the book interesting i have also found it incredibly helpful.
It is so good to read someone honestly analysing and explaining these tricks while boldly saying that it is all clever trickery and not some super power that people posses. If you are fascinated by tricks and psychology this is a must have and is incredibly funny, provocative and head spinning.
What started out as a christmas gift very quickly became my favourite book and started me out as a fan of the puzzle that is Derren Brown and this book gives you, as opposed to a in depth guide to hypnosis, a glimpse of the psyche of the man who has turned it into an art form.
The book is witty, well-written and very much absorbing as you get drawn into the mystery of the man and how his undeniably strange mind. Containing anecdotes from his life and no more than the most rudimentry of tricks, Derren succeeds in telling you everything and yet nothing of his art at the same time, and that is, very much what fans of his enjoy. It is the thrill of the unknown, and the sense of awe and wonder that he can instill in you with his brand of "misdirection, showmanship, persuasion and illusion" and the puzzlement at just how he pulled it off. The book tells you as much as you need to try to piece it together yourself.
A fabulous read i would recommend to absolutly anyone and everyone.
After watching Derren Brown'sTV show on Channel 4. I was intrigued to know more as I believe he is no ordinary magician but a showman who uses such mind tricks as power of suggestion. Some of the stuff he does on his shows borders the insanely disturbing (see the episode where he gets a poor punter playing a zombie style shoot-em up video game to have a catatonic fit, only to awake him in a real life version of his Zombie horror!) and I suppose this is what made him an intriguing enough character to read his book.
Firstly I would like to say that by reading this you wont suddenly be able to guess your friend's pin number! Secondly it is also the case that much of his trickery isn't revealed and I suspect several subjects are skimmed over. However, saying that, there is a great deal of interesting information about how his tricks are founded and much to be extracted and used in everyday life. I for one use his tips on memory nearly everytime I need to memorise a list and it works a treat.
Brown is awful unabashed at shaming such 'paranormal' showmen as Derek Acorah as the lying frauds that they are and through his book he actually provides a fairly concise argument for reason and the power that holds rather than give any sense of any 'unknown forces'. Altogether a really interesting and unexpectedly well written book.
In his introduction, Derren Brown does actually write that he won't be telling you all his secrets. If you think at that point he's joking, he isn't. This book is not a behind the scenes expose of Derren's act, rather a collection of musings about what techniques work to blind-side and misdirect you. After reading the book, I came away with the sense that all was not as it seemed and that there was a much, much bigger picture that I couldn't possibly understand. If you want to be left with that feeling, and are happy to mull over it for weeks after, you'll love this book. I did. It's challenging, laugh out loud funny and enigmatic. For weeks I was pondering how to put the techniques to use, how to go a step further on the bewildering path that Derren had put me. If I wasn't so lazy, I may have even followed it through!
Section by section, Derren gives insight in to what interests him, some of his tricks and some of his obsessions.
Part one deals with religion. Writing from the stand point that "religion isn't bad, not challenging your beliefs is," Derren tells a little of his formative years and asks us to re-examine what we believe in. He constantly claims that he respects people's beliefs, whilst simultaneously mocking them. This was the part of the book I was most uncomfortable with, but I am glad I read it.
In part two he explains the simple act of misdirection and showmanship through two "simple" magic tricks. Even if you don't try the tricks, (I did, I'm getting quite good) it's still worth the read as it shows you that there's more than meets the eye to what's more than meets the eye! Plus anyone who saw his Evening of Wonders would be interested in the pendulum.
Next is a very lengthy section in which he tackles memory. I tried the first few tricks with amazing results but lost patience when it came to the number sequences and memory palaces.
After this came the bit that I found most fascinating. Hypnosis and suggestibility. The techniques and lessons were very easy to follow and had amazing results. If you've any kind of phobia, please read this.
he section on reading people and spotting lies was not particularly useful and the last section on anti-science was interesting but not riveting.
Derren's writing style is quirky and very easy to read, although he sometimes comes across as a little preachy.
There is a saying (and I stand to be corrected) which goes something along the lines of:
"you can cover up a thousand lies with one carefully chosen truth"
Now consider Derren Brown. He who likes to come across as Honest Joe, short of telling you how he actually does his tricks. He who will denounce the psychics and spiritualists for the charlatans that they probably are.
Derren will be be glad to tell you this in whichever medium he his working be it the printed page, the theatre or the TV screen.
Derren is getting you onside, by exposing these people and by gaining your trust, he can tell you whatever he wants. He is clever and charming.
Derren Brown would have us believe that his magic is worked through a subtle mix of "magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship", and "at no point are actors or stooges used" in his shows.
Now I believe some of that, I won't say which.
Derren Brown in his previous TV shows has furthered his honesty by actually showing us how some of his tricks are done - do you recall the ones where he planted suggestible images along a person's route - codswallop.
Anyway, with that in mind, what about the book.
The book suggest (ha ha, there it is again) that you will know his secrets.
What the book does let you into is how to do some easy magic tricks (easy after you have thoroughly practiced them), more to illustrate points about misdirection.
There is a section on memory, and to be quite honest it is nothing you haven't read about before in Tony Buzan and similar books.
The next is section is about hypnosis and suggestability. Much is actually said in this book, directly or otherwise, about NLP, which I believe to be a big con and its strength lies in selling books and making business people pay large sums to think they can manipulate people.
You will also read about unconscious communication; pseudo-science and anti-science and bad thinking.
Any good book has an excellent index and bibliography, and this is no exception.
Now up to this point you may have thought I am being a bit negative about this book. On the contrary, it is an excellent book. It is at once filled with genuine information and cleverly, very cleverly padded out with a load of psycho-babble.
You will be led to think, that Derren bases his tricks on the things he has written about in this book. Nothing could be further from the truth - why would he want to tell you that - this book, in that sense is just one great big misdirection. The only thing that is being directed with any certainty is the money from your wallet into the wallets of Messrs Brown, Channel4 & Transworld Publishers.
Don't get me wrong though. It is a cracking read, you will just need to be very choosy as to what you take for gospel.
I have to say without a doubt, Derren Brown is one of the wierdest indviduals i have ever encountered in real life or on TV. He gives me the creeps but he amazes me time and time again, and i come back for more - TV Shows and books all the time.
This book is written in plain simple english, but with a depth of intellect which is evident in Brown's writing style. I feel wierd even reading his words, because he is as i say a right wierd-o. I wouldnt' call him normal. He is i think a magacian who's very good at being able to trick someone in doing something, or saying something or finding out what you're thinking using your behaviour and actions as a key.
This book is concise, quite long but all the more it's quite a good read. I don't think i learned anything from the book it was just very interesting. Atcually i think the book is quite expensive, but the TV show is free and what you gain from the book is what you gain from the TV show as well.
I'd recommend you buying it only if you're interested in learning the simple thoughts and tricks behind Brown's TV tricks, but if you're just a casual reader i wouldn't bother. In parts i thought it was all words, and made no sense to me! i think it was what he thinks of everything.
I'm not a big fan of autobiographies I tend to find them a bit dry and a bit self gratifying - especially when they are or TV or film personalities. However this book by Derren Brown caught my imagination because whilst it is an sort of autobiography there is also much more contained withen its covers.
The book is split into a number of different section which can be read independently or just read in the normal way. These sections cover magic, memory,and hypnosis amongst others. He provides a really balanced view and dispels a number of myths in the book.
There were parts of the book which made me feel really really silly becuase it just shows how easily we are open to suggestibility and how easy it is to be conned if someone has the correct personality.
The personality of Derren Brown comes through the book really clearly and it isn't difficult to feel that he is reading it to you - perhaps that's the suggestability bit again.
He also explains a number of techniques that help towards memory recall and I wish I had known them when I was at school it would have helped me with all those history dates!!! The techniques he explains are really simple and very effective.
There is also a section on further reading so you can follow up on any of the points that he has made in the book if you want to.
This is a fascinating book and I loved it - it gives you an insight into Derren Brown as a person (well as much as he will let you) and some really interesting topics on magic, mediums and other things which tend to be shrouded in mystery
Derren Brown isn't a genious, he is not magic and he cannot walk on water. But he is a mentalist (Psychological magician) and he can do things using different practised techniques that others can't do. He IS amazing, he IS slightly scary and he IS the most entertaining magical performer I have ever seen.
On to his book, Tricks of the mind, this is a superb introduction into the world of suggestion, probability and unconsious communication. Sounds a bit heavy doesn't it....well I'll stop you there because although the titles sounding a little heavy going, they are infact fascinating and completely relevant in practically every aspect of your life........you just don't know it!!!!
As a brief synopsis, the book is split into Six seperate areas.
Chapter 1) Disillusionment: Looking at peoples belief systems and how they dictate they're lives and also how they are so easily contradictory....very interesting.
Chapter 2) Magic: A couple of tricks you can try out, but more importantly the psychology behind magic; slight of hands, mis-direction, language you use. Also explores different techniques (all of which you can practice; The section on muscle reading is intriguing)
Chapter 3) Memory: This is truely outstanding and the one part of the book I have put into regular practice. If your memory is bad e.g remembering names, studying facts, remembering phone number/dates in your diary, this section of the book is incredible. Really easy systems are taught tohelp you improve....AND THEY WORK! Seriously there's one example where it asks you to remember a list of 50 objects.....you have 30 seconds to do it. Of course you end in failure after about 6 objects. You then get taught a simple yet amazingly effective system to remember them. I won't lie and say I got all 50, but I got to about 20, which is a marked improvement from 6!!!!
Chapter 4) Hypnosis and sugestibility: an interesting insight into the world of hypnosis and subcontious susceptability. You will learn a few useful techniques....especially the bit about spotting a liar (You'll have to buy it to find out).
Chapter 5) Unconscious communication. Invaluable insight into how you can read people. This is not a magical trick, its simple rules that apply to everyone as we all make unconscious movements (e.g when your watching the football on tv and your team are attacking....you instinctively move forwards in your seat). The techniques here were particularly relevant to sales people who could do well to read some of these techniques to aid they're ability to influence people in their decision making.
6) Anti Science, Pseudo Science: This section is incredibly interesting and has actually made me much more perceptive to probability and statistics. That may sound a bit much, but infact it surrounds us everyday. For example the book looks at thinking traps. Thinking traps are things that look more likely to occur, but statistically they not: e.g when you spin a coin you you have a 50/50 chance of heads and tales. look at the lists below (a and b) and say which is the more likely list of 10 spins of a coin
Now everyone says b) but in actual fact they are as likely as each other, because on each and every occasion you spin the coin, they're is an equal probability of it being heads or tales (50/50) Therefore each list is equally possible to happen. Interesting? Well I think so because these are used around us all the time to make us buy stuff!!!!!!!! (please see my review on predator boots which is a working example of a thinking trap being used by a company)
In summary, this book is outstanding. You really get what you want out of it. Some people will just use it to try a few minds tricks that are in there (good fun at parties). Others will benefit (like myself) from the techniques you can learn to use in your day to day life. The book is nicely written and easy to understand, but I must confess, Derren Brown clearly has a fantastic vocabulary but it does make the book a bit "wordy" in places.
I would definitely recommend buying it, try Amazon.com or any local bookstore.....mine cost £6.99
Hope that helps you out..............
Derren Brown must be one of the best entertainers in the business. I had the benefit of seeing him live last year and he performed an abundance of acts that had my mouth gaping open for the majority of the show. This book is an insight into some of the methods that the man uses in his shows both on TV. Baring in mind that the methods in here are very basic concepts of what he actually does, the book highlights one thing in a big way and that is that Derren is far more intelligent than the majority of us. In saying that, this book is easy to read but is probably a little in depth for your average commute and Browns writing style is humourous and endearing. The book is also thought provoking as he challenges the staus quo on a number of subjects. All in all this book is designed I think to get you thinking outside the box on a number of different things. Forget Brain Training, get yourself a copy of this for a true insight into what the mind is capable of. Brilliant
Derren Brown's television and stage performances have entranced and dumbfounded millions. His baffling illusions and stunning set pieces - such as The Seance, Russian Roulette and The Heist - have set new standards of what's possible, as well as causing more than their fair share of controversy. Now, for the first time, he reveals the secrets behind his craft, what makes him tick and just why he grew that beard. Tricks of the Mind takes you on a journey into the structure and psychology of magic. Derren teaches you how to read clues in people's behaviour and spot liars. He discusses the whys and wherefores of hypnosis and shows you how to do it. And he investigates the powers of suggestion and how you can massively improve the power of your memory. He also takes a long hard look at the paranormal industry, and looks at why some of us feel the need to believe in it in the first place...Alternately hilarious, controversial and challenging, Tricks ofthe Mind is essential reading for Derren's legions of fans, and pretty bloody irresistible even if you don't like him that much.