With more than 40 years performing together, Penn & Teller have sold out shows around the world, earned a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and created the longest-running headline act in Las Vegas. Now the legendary magicians are taking you behind the curtain. Learn fundamental magic tricks and the psychological tools that create amazement, at home or on stage. Expand your perception of the possible.
1. Meet Penn & Teller
Meet your new instructors: Emmy-winning magicians Penn & Teller, who have dazzled audiences for more than 40 years. Penn & Teller share the tricks they’ll teach you and how the thinking behind magic can resonate beyond the stage.
2. Sleight of Hand: The French Drop
Penn & Teller teach the French drop, one of the most fundamental sleight of hand methods. With students watching, they break down the steps of the trick and explain how it’s a building block for hundreds of other tricks.
3. Cups and Balls
Once you’ve mastered the French drop, you can expand upon that method to develop a routine with cups and balls. Penn & Teller demonstrate a few of the countless variations you can do with cups and balls.
4. What Is Magic?
Magic is an intellectual art form that requires the audience’s engagement as well as their suspension of disbelief. In this chapter, Penn & Teller crack open the philosophical and psychological concepts behind performing magic.
Penn & Teller are masters of misdirection. Learn how to use misdirection to persuade the audience to hear the story they want to believe.
6. Coin Magic
Coin magic involves the principles of sound misdirection, sleight of hand, and palming. In this chapter, Penn & Teller teach various coin magic tricks that delight audiences of all ages.
7. Magic Vs. Lying
To convince an audience, you need to encourage them to arrive at a conclusion on their own. Penn & Teller discuss their philosophy on the deception inherent in magic.
8. Mentalist or Crook?
Mentalism is a genre of magic that exists across a spectrum of morality. Learn how Penn & Teller use mentalism to perform a “mind-reading” trick for entertainment purposes only.
9. Card Magic
Learn the fundamental moves in card magic that can unlock a world of tricks at your fingertips.
10. Exploiting the Best of the Human Brain
How are magicians able to fool audiences? They take advantage of the brain’s vulnerabilities. Penn & Teller dive into some of the physiological aspects of the human brain and how it relates to magic.
11. Rope Tricks
Rope tricks play with images of destruction and resurrection. Penn & Teller walk you through their version of cut and restored rope tricks.
12. Principles of Performing
Authenticity, practice, and research are key strategies for perfecting a performance. As veterans of the stage, Penn & Teller draw from their years of experience to share wisdom and advice for aspiring performers of all disciplines.
13. Cause and Effect
Magic oversimplifies and distorts the principles of cause and effect. In this chapter, Penn & Teller discuss the philosophical aspects of cause and effect in relation to magic and the human psyche.
14. The Joy of Magic
Empathy, wonder, joy: these emotions are all part of the shared experience of a magic performance. Teller shares a rare emotional account of a childhood memory that sent him on a lifelong path of bringing joy to others through magic.
15. Bonus Chapter No. 1: Advanced Student Coaching
Matt Donnelly is a co-host of the podcast Penn’s Sunday School and has recently started to learn magic. Penn & Teller team up with legendary magician Johnny Thompson to coach him on a chop-cup routine that requires a lot of practice and technical skill.
16. Bonus Chapter No. 2: Piff the Magic Dragon
A professional magician with years of experience, Piff the Magic Dragon gets advice and coaching from Penn & Teller and Johnny Thompson on a new routine that he has created largely from scratch.
17. Bonus Chapter No. 3: Penn & Teller Live at Rio Las Vegas “Cell Fish”
Watch Penn & Teller’s unique take on the “card to impossible location” trick in the form of a disappearing cell phone during their live stage show.