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Download Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions Audiobook, by Stephen L. Macknik Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.97 out of 53.97 out of 53.97 out of 53.97 out of 53.97 out of 5 3.97 (30 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen L. Macknik, Susana Martinez-Conde Narrator: Lloyd James Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2010 ISBN: 9781400189908
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Have you ever wondered how a magician saws a woman in half? Or makes coins materialize out of thin air? Or reads your mind? Magic tricks work because humans have a hardwired process of attention and awareness that is hackable. A good magician uses your mind's intrinsic properties against you in a form of mental jujitsu, to fool you every time, even when you know full well that you are being tricked. Now Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, the founders of the exciting new discipline of neuromagic, have convinced some of the world's greatest magicians to reveal their techniques for tricking the brain. This fascinating book is the result of the authors' worldwide exploration of magic and how its ancient principles can now be explained using the latest discoveries of cognitive neuroscience. The secrets behind magic tricks reveal how your brain works not just when watching a magic show but in everyday situations. For instance, if you've ever found yourself paying for an expensive item you'd sworn you'd never buy, the salesperson was probably a master at creating the "illusion of choice," a core technique of magic. By popping the hood on your brain as you are suckered in by sleights of hand, Macknik and Martinez-Conde unveil the key connections between magic and the mind, and along the way make neuroscience more exciting and accessible than ever before. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • This book doesn't just promise to change the way you think about sleight of hand and David Copperfield---it will also change the way you think about the mind. Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide
  • “In Sleights of Mind, authors Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde persistently remind us that the human mind is a bad data-taking device. And it’s this fact that enables the science of magic to exist at all.”

    Neil deGrasse Tyson

  • “Magic is the place where our senses and beliefs fail us in magnificent ways. In this exciting book Stephen, Susana, and Sandra explore what magic and illusions can teach us about our fallible human nature—coming up with novel and fascinating observations.”

    Dan Ariely, author of Predictability Irrational

  • “I’ve long wished that there was a book that explained the art of magic from the point of view of cognitive neuroscience. Magic is a goldmine of information about the brain, as well as a source of fascination to laypeople. This is the book we’ve all been waiting for.”

    Steven Pinker PhD, author of The Stuff of Thought

  • “This is a highly original book. Science and magic have much in common. They both take seemingly inexplicable events and provide elegantly simple answers that enthrall the observer. The authors have done an admirable job in exploring this idea and also suggest ways in which the two disciplines can cross fertilize each other.”

    VS Ramachandran MD PhD, author of Phantoms in the Brain

  • “Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde’s Sleights of Mind gives non-magicians a real up-close look at the true secrets of magic. They are revealing the real knowledge jealously guarded by all great performers…I know my fellow magicians are all going to be as jazzed as I am to read about how sophisticated magical techniques and state-of-the-art brain science combine.”

    Mac King, headlining magician, Harrah’s Las Vegas

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marshall Kettner | 2/17/2014

    " Scientific explanations behind how magicians trick us and our brains. Some fascinating science and spoilers as well to some magic tricks. But you are forewarned, so you can skip those bits. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeremy | 2/14/2014

    " Very interesting read. Will certainly entertain while causing you to think. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William Axtell | 2/12/2014

    " This book is terrific! Through it's format it kills two birds with one stone. It teaches you about the awesome principals and techniques which magicians use in constructing their tricks, illustrating them with actual examples, before explaining how they work in the head. This is pretty advanced science going on here, at the cutting edge of new research, and is very exciting to read about. Also, it is really nice to know just how they do that trick! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 2/10/2014

    " Fascinating and entertaining insight into both the world of magic and of neuroscience. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Derek Sillerud | 2/7/2014

    " Given all the psychology and magic books I've read, this one fell short on both fronts. There are some interesting spoilers on how certain famous magic tricks are done and a little of the psychology behind them, but given that I have read about several of these psychological quirks in greater detail before, This book didn't offer anything new or insightful even in the light of magic and illusion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lex | 1/26/2014

    " Very cool insights into both magic and how our minds work. This book took me days to finish because I kept going online to check out magic tricks (and got hooked on Penn & Teller's Fool Us show in the UK, which I'm obsessed with figuring out every trick) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Biogeek | 1/15/2014

    " As one of the blurbs on the cover promises, this is "the book we have all been waiting for." Because even when we know how a magic trick works, what interests me is how do we get fooled again and again. That is where the neuroscience comes in. Great chapters on false memory and attention, but the best deal is that there are links to online videos with some great footage. Every now and then, the authors forgot about the neuroscience and spent too long on magic, the magic shows and the history of magic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Abraham Ray | 1/12/2014

    " interwsting book of magic to say the least. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Herald | 12/23/2013

    " Simply spectacular! A great contribution to the spread of this important subject, our brain and its working. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James Gray | 12/23/2013

    " Magic and neuroscience? What's not to like? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy | 12/10/2013

    " Covers an insanely wide range of things that make your head "work". The blending of who your brain works when it encounters magic makes it all the more enjoyable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin | 11/29/2013

    " A wonderful and enlightening amalgamation of neuroscience and magic, with many fun and illustrative examples. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane Mitchell | 10/13/2013

    " Absolutely fascinating look at the ways your brain constructs your perception of reality, and the ways that magic illuminates and manipulates them. Extremely interesting and highly readable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Barnard | 9/27/2013

    " Some of the science was a little dry (though that's to be expected) but the descriptions of tricks and especially the way the human brain functions to make the magic tricks work is absolutely fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 9/25/2013

    " What do you think you know? I bet you don't. What do you really remember? I'm pretty sure that's wrong. Your brain is much more fascinating than you are, and it takes some science - or at least some magic - to try to understand it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Caulfield | 8/28/2013

    " An extremely interesting study of the neuroscience behind magic tricks. What I found particularly intriguing was how magicians have, for years, had an intuitive grasp for how human perception works, long before the 'science' came along to back it up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Richard Cytowic | 4/22/2012

    " Two experts on visual perception & illusions hang out with magicians to figure out how they fool us. Material is interesting and I learned new things, but the writing is subpar and cliche ridden--odd given that it was done in collaboration with Sandra Blakeslee, a well-known science writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 BAKU | 3/8/2012

    " These people named their kid ' Iago ' ( what does neuroscience have to say about that ) { Interesting but despite their claim in the introduction, I doubt this kind of stuff is going to be what solves the problem of consciousness and cracks the neural code. But every bit helps ! ) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bevans | 3/4/2012

    " A great book examining how easily our minds can be deceived and manipulated. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzanne | 1/31/2012

    " These scientist had a brilliant idea when they decided to further their research of neuroscience specifically visual perception through magicians. A facinating book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trent Deschamps | 9/18/2011

    " Fun book that focuses on how are brains/minds allow us to be easily deceived. Explanations of magic tricks and illusions included. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles Traupmann | 7/27/2011

    " I wish this book contained more science. The magic was interesting, but the science was less than I would have wished. I would have like deeper explanations, but all in all it was very interesting and well written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deborah | 7/18/2011

    " What the neuroscience of magic reveals about our everyday deceptions "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Juanita | 5/21/2011

    " Wow, a book that doesnt sleight my mind! It doses me with great insights into the magic of our perverted, patterned perceptions. So good that I have had to buy it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 5/16/2011

    " Fascinating and entertaining insight into both the world of magic and of neuroscience. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Juanita | 4/6/2011

    " Wow, a book that doesnt sleight my mind! It doses me with great insights into the magic of our perverted, patterned perceptions. So good that I have had to buy it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles | 2/7/2011

    " I wish this book contained more science. The magic was interesting, but the science was less than I would have wished. I would have like deeper explanations, but all in all it was very interesting and well written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 12/21/2010

    " Interesting stuff but it didn't go into as much depth about the science as I hoped. Also, reading about magic tricks is not as fun as watching them. It looks like they put a lot of videos on the website but I haven't had a chance to watch them yet. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy | 11/23/2010

    " Covers an insanely wide range of things that make your head "work". The blending of who your brain works when it encounters magic makes it all the more enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 11/12/2010

    " This was not as interesting and informative as I had hoped. I did learn a thing or two, but about 3/4 of the way through it became very dull. If the authors were more human and less scientist, they could have made more connections to applications in everyday life. "

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About the Author

Stephen L. Macknik, PhD, is director of the Laboratory of Behavioral Neurophysiology at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

About the Narrator

Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.