Book Review: Mindfreak – by Criss Angel

I am a Criss Angel fan. Some of my readers may not know who Criss Angel is, although it seems hard to fathom. I caught his show on A&E in the 2004/2005 timeframe and loved it. He is a magician with an edge,  and definitely gave magic new momentum. I followed him over the years and when his show “Believe” was advertised as a collaboration with Cirque du Soleil at the Luxor in Las Vegas, I had to go. I saw the show within the first couple of months of opening — and I was somewhat disappointed. Here is the review I wrote at the time. Now, several years later, if you search for reviews of Believe, he is almost universally blasted. He has got work to do on the show. Is this an artist that rose just beyond his peak and is now collapsing? It depends if he can pull out Believe and start getting positive reviews.

The subtitle of this book is “Secret Revelations.” It’s comprised of two parts. The first is a fairly short and somewhat shallow autobiography. The second part exposes 40 magic tricks and teaches you how to do them. I enjoyed reading about Criss’ life and how, like most successful artists, he had to scrape, beg and borrow and sleep on people’s couches for years before he made it big. Criss Angel didn’t really burst on the scene until the last 10 years or so. Had he not had the single-minded dedication and drive to succeed, against all odds, we would not know who he is. Read any biography of any famous person, and you’ll find the same thing. There were not famous when they started, and a combination of extreme talent and laser-sharp focus coupled with superhuman perseverance finally broke them out of the crowd.

Reading this book helped me understand Criss Angel better. He is definitely full of himself, but that’s probably necessary for the persona he is and the acts he performs. If you are a Criss Angel fan, you will enjoy this book as an extension of what you already know about the artist. If you don’t know who Criss Angel is or you don’t care about magic or his career in particular, don’t  bother because you’ll be bored.

Rating: **

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