Thanks and acknowledgements

I wish to offer my sincerest thanks to the following people, all of whom contributed to this book whether they realise it or not.

James Randi wrote several books which changed my life, and has proved a good friend over many years. Martin Gardner wrote the 'Mathematical Games' columns that opened the doors to many lasting treasures.

Mike Hutchinson is a very valued friend who has done countless favours for me over the years, as well as performing many important introductions. Lewis Jones taught me more about sneaky deceptive stuff (and awful jokes) than anyone else, and also invites me over when Sush is cooking up another feast.

Penn and Teller I would like to thank chiefly just for being Penn and Teller, thereby teaching what can only be taught by doing it. Nihil me paenitet sane tanta, qua mihi faciebas.

Martin Taylor has been both a great friend and a constructive critic for many years. David Britland was an endless source of early advice and inspiration, and is a peerless source of magical knowledge. Derren Brown is another good friend who has shared wisdom, insight and a deranged sense of fun on many occasions. Michael Vincent never ceases to impress me with his breathtaking skill, ever-helpful outlook and immense charm. Anthony Owen and Marc Paul live, breathe, eat and sleep magic, and are often kind enough to share their expertise with me. Thanks also to the tireless Duncan Trillo for organising 'Mind Magic', running 'Magic Week', and various kinds of help both magical and technical.

'RM' was my first teacher in cold reading and related aspects of applied deception, and showed me the difference between theory and practice. Tony Youens is a valued ally in the deception game, and has a sense of humour perhaps even worse than my own.

Chris French and Richard Wiseman, both highly-respected authorities in parapsychology, have given freely of their time and expertise over the years. Robin Allen was the first to encourage me to lecture about cold reading, and to provide me with a platform to do so.

Michael Shermer made my initial visits to LA very happy ones, and also produces 'The Skeptic', one of the best magazines this world has to offer. Marcello Truzzi has shown much kindness and has offered constructive criticism in recent years.

Eddie Izzard was the first to get me up on a stage doing fun stuff, and to kick start my writing career.

Rory Raven is a fine, stylish mentalist as well as a truly delightful correspondent. My thanks to Rory and Judy for their exceptional kindness when I stayed in Providence (yes, Dixie, and you as well). Drew McAdam is daft as a brush, but also a great performer and, just to prove what a terrific friend he is, introduced me to Lagavulin. My thanks to him and Liz and their family and friends for all their hospitality.

J. Ben Whiting is not only a good mentalist, who regularly finds interesting things to share, but is also one of the few people I know who understands that the centre of the universe is guitar-shaped. Massimo Polidoro and Luigi Garlaschelli have helped me many times, and are both wonderful guys to know with a wickedly Italian sense of fun.

Alan Jackson is an indefatiguable source of deep thoughts, great notions, obscure information, helpful corrections on all matters mathematical and welcome silliness.

Jamy Ian Swiss is not only a walking encyclopedia of magical information, but has also proved immensely helpful on several occasions. Stephen Minch has offered sympathy and wisdom in equal measure when the intractable mysteries of printing and publishing have threatened to overwhelm me. Larry Becker never ceases to inspire me with his warm friendship and highly creative contributions to our art. Martin Breese is not only my favourite raconteur, but has also shown me great kindness and given freely of his wisdom and good advice.

Ed Hamilton is a great friend to have and is also my limitlessly enthusiastic audio-visual guru. Tom Salinsky never ceases to impress me with his programming wizardry, and does a grand job keeping technical gremlins at bay. Spencer Cook is a great animation artist and shares good stuff with me from the inner sanctum of movies and special effects.

Andy 'Sorted' Costello and Seth Kramer went out of their way to make me feel welcome in New York, for which much thanks. Peter Kougasian also made me feel very welcome, and has proved to be a terrific friend and supporter.

Kathleen Hawkins is my number one favourite female wizard as well as a valued correspondent and prime source of spiritual enlightenment. Marisa Leva is another of those rare female wonder-workers, and her sunny disposition shines out from her nice emails and cards.

Isabel Losada, the Amazonian Scribe herself, is proof that perpetual motion and limitless energy are possible, and has proved to be a wonderful, fascinating friend and source of many favours. Maria Taddei is another very valued friend who does her best to see good things when she reads my cards for me. Maria Bowles was the first to teach me the joys of beautiful friendship, and also gave me my taste for fine dining in delectable female company!

Thanks also to the very delightful and helpful S.G. and 'Shallow Larynx', and anyone else I have overlooked who provided input and good ideas.

Quotations

The Quotations which appear at the front of each section are taken from "Be Reasonable - selected quotations for inquiring minds" edited by Laird Wilcox & John George, © 1994 by Laird Wilcox and John George. Published 1994 by Prometheus Books, New York.

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