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Beyond the Tricks: Unraveling Magic with Richard Wiseman

'David Copperfield’s History of Magic' a book with Richard Wiseman

There may be nothing more fascinating than magic. We can’t help but feel in awe of mind-boggling illusions and heartstopping tricks. There is, however, more to magic than meets the eye.

So let's go beyond the techniques and props — what makes magic so engaging?

In this episode, Richard Wiseman joins us to talk about magic and its connection with psychology. He also shares the inspiration behind his newly-published book. Finally, he teaches us what good magic really is, and how it relates to our lives.

This episode is for anyone who believes in the wonders of magic!

3 reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Learn how to come up with unique and engaging ideas.

  2. Discover the essential principles of good magic — and how to apply it outside of a performance.

  3. Understand why magic is still relevant in the digital age.


Episode Highlights

[05:56] Richard’s Path to Magic

  • Richard became fascinated with magic at a young age.

  • He became interested in a book about being likable and assumed that psychology taught the same concepts.

  • He chose to major in psychology but found the course to be tedious.

  • Dale Carnegie's book captivated Richard because it was written to be read out loud.

[12:07] David Copperfield’s History of Magic

  • David Copperfield is known for having a colossal museum of magic.

  • Because the museum is not open to the public, Richard thought it would be wonderful to share what it was like inside.

  • Richard’s book is a celebration of his love for magic.

[13:27] Richard’s First Magic Book

  • Richard's mother claims that he wrote his first magic book when he was 12.

  • Interestingly, his first book also had a picture of David Copperfield.

[16:15] Do the Unexpected

  • Magic empowers you to make the impossible possible. We should adopt the same mindset in our daily lives.

  • Don’t be afraid to do the opposite of what everyone expects you to do.

[17:57] On Luck

  • A conversation with his coworkers, who described themselves as lucky or unlucky, inspired Richard's work on luck.

  • Every day, we come across brilliant ideas.

  • When the opportunity presents itself, we must be aware not to miss it.

[19:23] Being a Big Kid at Heart

  • Magicians are kids at heart.

  • The intelligent and "sticky" ideas catch people's attention.

  • Listen to the full episode to learn about Richard's thoughts on the world's funniest joke.

[24:43] Do Something Different

Richard: “I think when it comes to ideas, what we tend to do is to get a bit of tunnel vision. And we go, ‘This is our way forward. This is what we are doing.’ And at the early stage of any project, I think you have to be prepared to throw all of that out and do something completely different.” - Click Here To Tweet This
  • Starting big projects requires a particular type of flexibility in thinking.

  • Tune in to the entire episode to learn how Richard came up with his book 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute.

[28:26] Be Open to Change

  • Richard attributes his adaptable thinking to his dyslexia and love of magic.

Richard: “There's two sorts of silence. There's bored silence from an audience, and there's fascinated silence.” - Click Here To Tweet This
  • Listening enables us to learn about diverse points of view.

  • To be able to listen to others, you must first let go of your preconceived notions.

[32:00] The Power of Humor

  • Humor is a powerful tool to encourage alternative ways of thinking.

  • It's easier to sell ideas when your audience thinks they thought of the idea themselves.

  • Breaking the fourth wall is easier through humor. Listen to the whole episode to learn Richard’s unique way of starting his meetings!

[36:09] Magic, Technique, and Psychology

  • A magic trick comprises two parts: the effect and the method.

  • The methods of magic are well-known, but the indexing system remains obscure.

  • Some indexing systems may never be known.

  • Most magic works because the audience makes assumptions that aren’t true.

[40:25] What Good Magic Means

  • Despite advances in technology, the world remains captivated by magic.

  • Like being a good speaker, good magic is collaborating with your audience.

Richard: “Performaners that show off are doing it for their own ego and own enjoyment, and performaers that perform, they're doing it for the good of the audience.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[44:10] Magic and the Digital Age

  • Richard believes magic will remain relevant despite advancements in technology.

  • In a complicated world, magic remains simple.

  • Magic opens people’s minds and encourages them to achieve something extraordinary in their lives.

About Richard

Richard Wiseman is an educator, author, speaker, and magician. He's the sole Professor of Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. As an academician, he has written over 100 scholarly articles on the psychology of magic and illusion, deception, luck, and self-development.

Richard is also known for having written several popular psychological books, such as The Luck Factor, 59 Seconds, and David Copperfield's History of Magic, published worldwide.

Apart from these, Richard creates psychology-based YouTube videos, garnering over 500 million views, and is one of the most followed psychologists on Twitter.

Finally, as a member of the Inner Magic Circle, Richard serves as a creative consultant on various stage and television productions, including works with Penn and Teller and Derren Brown.

You can get in touch with Richard through his website and official social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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