Derren Brown- Tricks of the mind

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Derren Brown- Tricks of the mind

Postby SamGurney » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:45 pm

The Effect
Derren discusses his opinions on magic, mneumonics, hypnosis, nlp, body language, and new age thinking, sprincled with entertaining anecdotes.

Relativley cheap

(1=easy to do, 2=No sleights, but not so easy, 3=Some sleights used,
4=Advanced sleights used, 5=Suitable for experienced magicians only)

I apologise for submitting another review and more so, another one about Derren Brown. I am begining to fear I might be accused of over liking this guy's work.. which, well... true. I plead guilty! The man is something for all mentalists to aspire to for all mentalists and magicians and he has not only 'put mentalism on the map on the 21st century' but he has advanced it into a new arena and become something of a national treasure. As someone who hasn't been into magic and mentalism for decades, I fear being accused of just being after his methods, which might I add, is something which does interest me to some extent, but I much prefer watching him at work on his art. Before I get accused of rambling and chastised for my sins, I must first admit that I am a huge fan, but not one of those sickly nlp obsessed fanatics looking for 'the secret to instant mind reading'. I have found something I love and something I think I am quite good at and an art I hope one day to extend and this man has to be credited- I can't begin to imagine what an inspiration he has also been for others.
So, without further ado, I shall give my unwanted opinion on this book. It is written for the 'layman' and is ridden with unleashed Derren-humour and anectdotes readers of absolute magic will recognise. Naturally then, it doesn't reveal much about mentalism, or how he does any of his stuff, but what he does discuss is enlightening non the less. The book is somewhat, I feel, of a diversion for those who are just after some easy secrets, which is certainly commendable- and Derren scarcley mentions mentalism, which makes me suspect he does not want people searching down that avenue- the one which may actually yield 'mind reading' results. But non the less, he shares some very valuable thinking on magic- in which he shares a refreshing perspective on a coin lapping routine. It is a wonderful example of taking something simple and easy to reconstruct and solve and transforming it into a piece of engaging, mind boggling wonder. This coin routine is something every magician and mentalist should read, absorb and burn into thier heads. Apart from lapping and a key card card trick he steers clear of anything magical and tries to portray what he does as more psychological (as is evident by muscle reading and general ideomotor resonses taking up about 70% of the, already quite small, magic section of the book)- which is good and enhances those who take his material at face value's belief that he is a psychological expert, and in terms of how the book is set out on the psychology-magic ratio, it matches his 'character'; that is, a psychological expert who is also party to a little subterfuge and chicanery. But, those who fall for the immense psychological material could hardly be blamed- he expresses his views on hypnosis and nlp, which is very interesting reading for those interested in that, but in terms of practical advice all he gives is some simple theory. Then he discusses non-verbal communication- which again, gives little in way of practical advice, but his views on it are refreshing and interesting for those interested in anything as such. The final section of the book is a huge rant which gives a very breif outline of the cold reading techniques. As a sceptic that section is facinating, but many may tire and find it more ranty than it actually is. The book ends with an interesting suggested reading list, consisting of no less than two magic books- Complete course in magic by M. Wilson and RRTCM, which makes it further evident to me, that the book is a red herring designed to have people searching through some psychology books for the answer (if he really wanted to teach people some mind reading he would have recomended the 13 steps).
Oh and I have forgotten the mneumonics section. Well. I am still speachless. This perhaps is the best introduction into the art of mneumonics I have ever read and teaches you enough to practically apply. A slightly overlooked aspect of mentalism which is explained expertly and for me is the highlight of the book. If I may blaspheme, Derren has Corinda topped tenfold on Memory systems. Inspired me to look into it more. That inspiration may serve some mentalists well I hope.

So, to conclude, light, entertaining reading, but I think if anything it's like sifting through gold- you have much to sift through (which unlike my analogy is not tedious, but entertaining and fascinating) to occasionally find that nugget of gold which you will use as a mentalist. Not really a magic book, but the entertainment and coin routine is worth the price and certianly any Derren fans must read it, and should you be interested in neither magic nor Derren Brown, then perhaps ask why you are on a magic forum and why you have read this far.
So, I'm sure you all have it, but in case you didn't there you are- and you can recieve your fiver by contacting me as reward for sifting through my tedium :D
Entertaining read, contains some very useful information, can be misleading if you don't know that he is a magician who knows a bit about psychology not the other way around and taught me enough interesting subtleties and card magic to con all of my patient friends and family out of some good money :D


''To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in another's.'' Dostoevsky's Razumihin.
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Postby spooneythegoon » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:47 am

Good review, but I believe there are several other threads on this book? Please use the search function next time, so you can add your review onto one of the original threads.

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