Spellbound

Seven Principles of Illusion to Captivate Audiences and Unlock the Secrets of Success

David Kwong

Book

David Kwong has astounded corporate CEOs, TED Talk audiences, and thousands of other hyperrational people—making them see, believe, and even remember whatever he wants them to. Illusion is an ancient art that centers on control: it is the ability to command a room, build anticipation, and appear to work wonders. Illusion works because the human brain is wired to fill the gap between seeing and believing. Successful leaders—like Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, and Ted Turner—are masters of control and command; they understand how to sway opinion and achieve their goals.

In his years of research and practice, David has discovered seven fundamental principles of illusion. With these rules anyone can learn to:

  1. Mind the Gap: recognize and employ the perceptual space between your audience’s ability to see and their impulse to believe.
  2. Load Up: prepare to amaze your audience.
  3. Write the Script: discover the importance of shaping the narrative that surrounds your illusion.
  4. Control the Frame: explore the real-life value of a magician’s best friend: misdirection.
  5. Design Free Choice: command your audience by giving them agency.
  6. Employ the Familiar: take secret advantage of habits, patterns, and audience expectations.
  7. Conjure an Out: develop backup plans that will keep you one, two, three, or more steps ahead of the competition.

Inside Spellbound you’ll discover a different way to sell your ideas, products, or skills, and make your best shot better than everyone else’s.

Author

David Kwong

David Kwong is a magician and New York Times crossword puzzle constructor. He holds a degree in history from Harvard, where he studied the history of magicians. Kwong was the head magic consultant on the worldwide hit Now You See Me and is the secret code advisor on NBC's Blindspot. Other films he has consulted on include Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, The Imitation Game, and The Magnificent Seven. A TED Talk favorite, Kwong regularly lectures and performs for companies worldwide. He lives in Los Angeles.

Reviews

David Kwong uses his mastery of illusion as the spine of a story about us and our limits. But more important, he shows that illusion is far more than a set of tricks; it as a very well thought-out set of principles that are broadly applicable in business and life.Here you can learn the principles and enjoy the show! —Ed Catmull, president, Pixar and Disney Animation,and bestselling author of Creativity, Inc.

David Kwong has conjured a unique and seamless blend of cognitive psychology, business acumen,and the secrets of being a renowned magician. —Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism and Flourish

This enjoyable work from a confident master of his trade is a “virtual wand” for those who want a bit of magic in their lives. Publishers Weekly

David Kwong’s magic leaves me in awe, and his book did too! —Will Shortz, New York Times crossword editor

Fifteen years ago David Kwong and I started a magic club together, and one of us was good enough to quit his day job. I’ve learned a lot from him about how to surprise and delight audiences, and now his knowledge and storytelling skills are on full display. This book shows how the art and science of illusion can make us more engaging and more persuasive. —Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take