I went to the hotel. I wanted to be lied to.

I wanted to get lost.

I brought my kids.

We went to see David Kwong, a famous magician, puzzle creator and illusionist fools us for ours.

We got what we wanted.

I brought him on the podcast. Because David Kwong has all the elements of my ideal guest:

Someone who figured out how to combine two skills and become the best in the world at the intersection
Someone who understands how to think (he applies persuasion and the principles of illusion)
Someone who uses deliberate practice to get better and better.

He taught me how to be more deceptive, how to think ahead, how to measure risk. And more.

Here’s the list of what we talked about.

And the episode: listen here.

  • 3:45 | How to give yourself permission to create a risky career path
  • 7:40 | How technology has challenged magicians to get savvier.
  • 9:18 | Why practice is more important than studying
  • 10:41 | David explains how he “misdirects” his audience
  • 11:42 | The principles of “on-beat off-beat”
  • 16:50 | What investors and magicians have in common
  • 18:30 | How planning leads to confidence
  • 20:35 | How cognitive biases and the myth of free will play a role in magic
  • 28:00 | Which persuasion tools David uses in magic
  • 30:18 | How to know what risk your willing to take
  • 35:45 | David says how he combined two passions to create a unique career path
  • 38:05 | What makes David’s show unique
  • 42:32 | How to create something new
  • 43:52 | The two influences that inspire David the most
  • 44:07 | How to skip the line in your career path and rise the ranks faster than your competition
  • 46:48 | How the principles of illusion let you control people’s experience
  • 51:05 | David tells us, “the best trick I ever performed in my entire life”
  • 56:40 | How magic led to the creation of filmmaking
  • 1:03:32 | How to use the modern principles of magic to get ahead in business
  • 1:10:45 | The to deal with choice paralysis
  • 1:13:15 | How to prevent your audience from seeing through the cracks
  • 1:16:50 | What inspired me to have David Kwong on the podcast
  • 1:17:48 | The hardest part about trying to stand out
  • 1:20:53 | How to develop your talent stack
  • 1:24:35 | I ask David if he ever used magic to get revenge
  • 1:25:41 | Where to see David live

James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Julius Drost.