How a Magic Trick Works

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photo credit: Geoff Oliver Bugbee/Idea Festival/

Last week at the Idea Festival I was like a little kid going to his first professional baseball game. However, it wasn’t baseball, it was the lecture given by Teller of Penn and Teller. Since I was a small boy, I’ve always been intrigued by the art of magic. Not just the workings of a magic trick, but the art in which a magician communicates a story and creates a lasting memory.

I’ve never heard Teller speak (which most haven’t), but I was completely engaged by his ability to tell a story as he outlined the workings, the art, the dedication and the grace on how a magic trick works. He spoke of the methods that fool the eyes and the art that fools the mind. Teller conveyed that in magic cause and effect are linked by poetry instead of physics. The job of the magician is to take this poetry and create memories.

Teller demonstrated the power of telling a story and by example kept each member of the audience anticipating every word. After nearly an hour of weaving a story of creativity, he concluded with this thought, " Nothing fools you better than the lie you tell yourself."

Teller by far was my favorite presentation this year at Idea Festival. It wasn’t because of my love for magic, but his ability to tell a story, engage his audience, and take an idea, refine it, work it and with diligence pursue it until your able to get to the end results.

More Idea Festival Coverage:

1. The Rise and Fall of Hyperpowers

2. The Black Swan

3. Ninjutsu: The Art of Success

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