Magical Thinking

Learning magic tricks to expand your brain's potential


Something which came out of my love of magic, and which I now do as a corporate team-building exercise. I don’t want to be just another magician doing tricks to fool you. Instead I love the way magic can develop your thinking. So I do the tricks for you and your colleagues – then help you to work out how I did them. Cards, coins, iPhones, wallets: all these and more are used to amaze you – and then you amaze yourself by (with my hints) solving the mystery of how the tricks are done.


The aim is not just to teach you some incredible magic you can use to baffle your friends (although of course that’s part of it). The real point of the session is to get your brain working in a different way. By showing you how a magician’s mind works, I reveal the mental techniques that will let you solve pretty well any trick you’ll see in the future. What’s more, the techniques can be applied to problems you’ll encounter at work and in life more generally.


I draw a cross on a card – and it’s the card you then pick from the pack. You’ll see a coin disappear from one hand and then reappear in the other. An elastic band will pass through another elastic band as you watch them. At the beginning of the session you'll have no idea how such seemingly impossible feats are happening. By the end, not only will you be able to do them yourself – you’ll also see the world from a slightly different angle.



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‘The perfect team-building exercise – like an escape room but without the need to move around, like Sudoku but with cards and coins. We had a fantastic time.’ MR, City of London insurance broker


‘Wonderfully entertaining. After the session I went home and did the “book” trick on my children. They simply couldn’t work out how I knew which word they were thinking of, even though they hadn’t written it down or told anyone.’ AN, senior executive at a major multinational 


‘I have designed buildings all over the world, with budgets in the hundreds of millions – and yet the simple physical principle Mark was using to vanish a coin eluded me five times in a row. But before he did it the sixth time he gave me a clue – and I worked it out.’ GL, architect


‘After 30 years as a national newspaper journalist I thought I knew about asking questions and discovering secrets – but Mark opened my eyes to completely new ways of thinking.’ AB


‘Mark was absolutely right about the “team” element. He said it’s like a pub quiz – one person will get 70 per cent of the way to working out the answer, but it takes someone else to get that final 30 per cent. That’s how it worked with the tricks – one of us would have an initial idea, then another person would finish the solution. But neither person on their own would have had a clue. It gives you a real sense of achievement.’ NT, commercial property consultant




Rubik's Cube

A Rubik’s cube has more combinations than light travels inches in a century. This is my favourite illustration of how a very small number of factors can produce an absurdly complicated situation. A silly little toy, with only three squares in each of its three dimensions. How can that get complicated? Well, as anyone who's ever tried to solve one just by guessing will tell you, it gets very complicated. The number of possible combinations is 43,252,003,274,489,856,000. Forget billions - that's 43 quintillion and change. (In fact the cube's manufacturers just said ‘billions' in their advertising, figuring that no one would know what a quintillion was. It's a billion billion.) The number of inches light travels in a century, meanwhile, is a mere 37,165,049,856,000,000,000. Or thereabouts.