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Posted August 25, 2008
Derren truly understands the human mind.
As someone interested in psychology and the workings of the human mind, I found this book to be fascinating. Derren Brown, a famous British psycho-analyzer and mentalist, shares many of his techniques to the interested reader in this 500 page book. Contrary to the title, there are no real ¿tricks¿ in this book, only methods of better understanding yourself and those around you. Derren covers many topics throughout this book, including memory, suggestion, body language, nervousness, hypnosis, and neuro-linguistic programming. He not only teaches what we think, but WHY we think the way we do. Mr. Brown even reveals interesting, yet controversial, theories and thoughts about religion. As a devout atheist, Derren explains the apparent mind control and psychology behind most religious ideas. It is clear throughout the book that Derren sees the world and humanity in a different light than most people. I found that reading this book was an enlightening experience. I now have many tools to use in my everyday life. His teaching of ¿negative suggestion¿ was especially fascinating. Derren explains how by telling ourselves not to do something ,we actually make ourselves more prone to doing it. This can be seen through various examples, such as ¿Don¿t yawn¿ , ¿Don¿t think of a pink elephant,¿ or ¿Don¿t fall off the tightrope.¿ By saying these things to ourselves, we actually make ourselves more likely to do the action we are telling ourselves not to do. Derren also teaches how to accurately tell if someone is lying to you. For instance, most people think that if someone is lying, they try to avoid eye contact. However, the opposite is usually true. If someone is lying, they will usually try hard not to appear as if they are lying, therefore, they will probably look you in the eye. It is the relatively unknown facts and psychology that make this book so interesting to the intellectually curious. Derren even spends multiple chapters exposing the techniques of con-artists and fake psychics. According to Derren, almost every so-called psychic is purely a con artist taking advantage of grief, loss, and the everyday problems of human life. Mr. Brown goes over the tricks that these ¿psychics¿ and ¿mediums¿ such as John Edward and Sylvia Browne employ to appear supernatural. Most of their techniques fall into what is called ¿cold reading.¿ Cold reading is essentially making observations, broad language, and pure guesses in order to appear psychic. Even though the chapters about psychics, suggestion, hypnosis, religion, and lying were interesting, I found the chapter on memory to be the most applicable to my daily life. Derren teaches a technique called ¿linking¿ which allows the average person to memorize long lists in less than 2 minutes. This method uses making pictures and stories in your mind in order to link words on a list. I can definitely see myself using this type of technique when memorizing vocabulary or a shopping list. Overall, I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed ¿Tricks of the Mind.¿ I found that this book was a psychologically mind opening experience and I highly recommend it to the interested reader.
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Posted July 8, 2009
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I don't know why but apparently after reading this book I went to the computer and gave Derren a 5 star review. While I don't remember writing this review, I do however feel refreshed and rested.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Seriously, I greatly enjoyed Brown's book and was very pleased with the small insights from his personal life that he revealed to us.
While the book was able to give minor glimpses into the inner working of 'mind control' it did not go deep enough to get the neophyte into serious trouble. And I believe that is why it was a 'top of the wave' type of book. The actual trickery and techniques that Brown uses takes years of training and development and I also suspect a strong dose of natural talent for this sort of thing. Just as important, if he gave away his methods, he wouldn't have much of an act left.
I am perfectly okay with both reasons. I didn't buy the book hoping to become the next Kreskin or Brown just as I didn't read Lonesome Dove to become a gunslinger. The book fully met its goal by exposing a little more of the fascinating, mysterious character of Derren Brown.
I hope you find this review helpful.
Michael L. Gooch