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Ben Zabin’s best trick yet might be transforming embarrassment into a book deal


Ben Zabin has some experience turning failure into success. After his trick went awry in one of the most public forums possible — on stage at Penn & Teller Fool Us — Zabin was inspired to pen a book where he collected tales of other such disasters from his fellow magicians. The cleverly titled AbracaDAMMIT!: Disaster Stories & Life Lessons From the World’s Top Magicians hit bookshelves last year.

“I got to talk with pretty much the best of the best in the industry and hear about what went wrong in their shows, what life lessons they’ve learned, and any regrets they’ve had,” he told The Berkeley Beacon. “There are great stories from strippers ruining shows to tigers getting loose.”

Most recently, Zabin went on a Magicians Without Borders tour to Costa Rica. The nonprofit aims to host magic performances for children in places of high poverty or war. It was an impactful experience for the 19-year-old, still a student himself.

“I went in to teach magic to them, and one of the kids started crying,” he said of the experience. “He was telling everyone he worked with a Las Vegas magician, and he just took that so much to heart—I have chills right now just thinking about it.”

Check out the whole article for more insights from Zabin, including his earliest magic performance.