TED: Apollo Robbins on the Art of Misdirection

I find Apollo Robbins, former professional pickpocket, a really wonderful and charismatic speaker. Not only is he good at what he does (misdirecting people), he got that way through a mixture of crime and study. And though he’s skilled at fooling people, he’s equally skilled at explaining how he goes about fooling people.

They have fancy models of attention, Posner’s trinity model of attention… For me, I like to think of it very simple, like a surveillance system. It’s kind of like you have all these fancy sensors, and inside your brain is a little security guard. For me, I like to call him Frank.

Watching him in action is a lot of fun, but the guy himself is just as interesting. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend Adam Green’s New Yorker profile on Robbins, entitled A Pickpocket’s Tale. Really great background info on who Robbins is, and how he came to learn all about human perception and misdirection.

Apollo Robbins, Pickpocket Extraordinaire, Wants Your Attention
Apollo Robbins, Live Performance

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