Healthy Paranoia Show 18: Illusion, Lies and Neuroscience with Alex Stone

Ladies and gentleman, prepare to be mystified and amazed by another episode of Healthy Paranoia. Where even the unicorns are nerdy and the evil bit is always set on your packets.  Just in time for Halloween, get ready for some tricks and definitely  treats, because we’re going to discuss the intersection of magic, social engineering and security.  But before you get too excited, we’re not going to tell you how to make a DBA disappear. Joining me is Alex Stone, The Incredible Nerdini, and author of bestseller Fooling Houdini. We’re also lucky to have The Great Hadnagy, or Chris to his close friends and associates, well-known expert , author and Chief Human Hacker at

In this spoon-bending episode we reveal:

  • The different types of magic
  • Concepts such as inattentional blindness and the invisible gorilla
  • Social engineering is really applied neuroscience
  • Why nerds become magicians
  • Salesmanship, storytelling and social engineering
  • Why the FBI and the CIA study deception

Show Notes:Fooling Houdini

Alex Stone appearance on “Lapham’s Quarterly” Podcast

Unmasking the Social Engineer: The Human Element of Security by Chris Hadnagy

The Invisible Gorilla

Inattentional Blindness

The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception

Alex Stone interview with “Psychology Today”

Apollo Robbins TED talk

NYTimes “GRAY MATTER: The Science of Illusion” by Alex Stone

Sleights of Mind

Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

Ian Rowland

Juan Tamariz (Called one of the best card magicians)

Lennart Green

Mrs. Y
Mrs. Y is a recovering Unix engineer working in network security. Also the host of Healthy Paranoia and official nerd hunter. She likes long walks in hubsites, traveling to security conferences and spending time in the Bat Cave. Sincerely believes that every problem can be solved with a "for" loop. When not blogging or podcasting, can be found using up her 15 minutes in the Twittersphere or Google+ as @MrsYisWhy.
Mrs. Y
Mrs. Y
  • Dave Noonan

    What was the name of the Spanish magician that Alex mentioned?

  • Mrs. Y.

    Added the Lennart Green link to the main post and a link to a video of Juan Tamariz. You can also order videos and a book online.