Where Merlin Gets His Info on Business

During one of my lessons, Merlin decided it was time to answer an important question. How does a magician know so much about business? As usual, his answer was not what I expected to hear.“You’ve been wondering ever since we met,” said Merlin, “how does this guy know so much about the business world?”
Merlin was right. This thought had crossed my mind in every meeting.

“So let’s set the record straight today,” smiled Merlin. “My father started his career on Wall Street, but not in the traditional way. He was a ‘gopher,’ who literally straddled the wall between the stock exchange and the street outside. His job entailed reading the quotes posted on the boards inside the floor of the exchange and relaying the information, via hand signals, to the dubious brokers. These gentlemen could not afford a seat on the exchange, so they managed their business on the streets outside. This was back in the 20’s, before the crash, and trading regulations were not heavily enforced. My Dad was 16 at the time, and within a few years, he moved off the “wall” to selling on the street himself. His specialty was promoting fake penny gold mines to people who had little money to invest but wanted to get rich. They deserved each other.

“My Dad got rich quickly, yet never took his wealth or career too seriously. After the stock market crash, he lost everything except his sense of humor and his love for kidding around. Putting his early skill with hand signals to good use, he began performing mind-reading acts that launched a new career in magic, and then opened his own magic shop. Wall Street is filled with successful business wizards that also have a passion for magic, and his clientele quickly grew to include not just investors, but lawyers, doctors, Park Avenue business tycoons.

“My Dad’s moment of fame came when his store was broken into and many of the tricks ‘disappeared.’ The next day, my Dad put a sign in the front window: ‘To the thief who stole the tricks—If you return them, I promise to teach you the secrets on how they are done.’ The next day, one of the prominent New York City newspapers took a photo of the sign, printed it, and my Dad had his fifteen minutes of fame.

“I grew up in that store and developed my own love of magic that, unlike my Dad, I took quite seriously; I wanted to be the next Houdini or the great Blackstone Sr. or the illustrious Thurston. I didn’t realize how fortunate I truly was. At the age of six, my Dad was bringing me to magic societies meeting like S.A.M (Society of American Magicians) and IBM (International Brotherhood of Magicians) that he belonged to.
Many of the members were also Dad’s clienteles, and they loved having a kid as their audience. As I grew up and kept attending these meetings, I found myself being invited to their offices to drop off a trick or give them a lesson.

They’d be drinking tea or coffee and ask me if I wanted a glass of milk.
While I sipped, I asked them all kinds of questions about what they did. I wanted to know how someone got an office in the top floor of the Chrysler Building. Or how they managed to get a seat on Wall Street. Flattery gets you everywhere, and they talked about their roads to success while throwing out business tips along the way. They told me the magazines to read, the people to watch, and the companies to keep an eye on.

As time went on, I became so intrigued by business and the corporate world that I decided to attend business school. This same clientele that once gave me inside tips now helped me to get into one of the best business schools in the country. Upon graduation, I put my knowledge to the test and worked in a variety of corporations for tens years, doing everything from field sales to marketing. The money was great, but corporate life didn’t mesh with my entrepreneurial spirit, and I decided to go into business with my Dad. Little did I realize this decision would end up providing the best of both worlds; allowing me to help people use magic to understand successful principles of business