Magic, Memory, and Harry

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Harry Lorayne changed my life.

I first encountered Harry’s work back in high school, when I happened across a copy of The Memory Book, one of dozens of books on mnemonic memory systems that Harry wrote. I read it while on a summer vacation with my family. I learned to memorize which playing cards had been discarded in a card game; thus ended my brother’s interest in playing gin with me in the backseat.

Those memory techniques went on to be a significant part of the way I studied in high school and college. I taught a seminar on those techniques while I was an undergraduate. I have done seminars, webinars, and keynotes on the subject ever since. All due to Harry.

When my interest in magic had a resurgence in my late 20s, I ran into his name again. I started reading the many books he wrote on magic, especially card magic. It was strange and exciting to have learned so much from the same man in two different fields.

Later on, as I became involved in magic industry associations, I had the opportunity to interact with Harry by phone, email, and ultimately in person. When I served as International President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, I performed on the same bill as Harry at a convention in Massachusetts. I took the opportunity to present him with a Presidential Citation in honor and gratitude for his work.

Harry, a high school dropout who became one of Johnny Carson’s favorite and most frequent guests, died on April 7, 2023 at age 96. His passing was marked by a significant obituary in the New York Times

I’m grateful that I had the chance to meet him, to study his work, to learn from him in person and through books and videos, and to thank him personally for his influence on me and millions of other people.




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