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Simon Aronson

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Simon Aronson
BornSimon Hirsh Aronson
September 13, 1943
Boston, Massachusetts
DiedDecember 10, 2019 (age 76)
CategoriesBooks by Simon Aronson

Simon Aronson (b. 1943) was an American magician, inventor, author and creator of original card magic effects used by magicians around the world.


Aronson was one of the pioneers of memorized deck magic, and his Aronson Stack (first published in his pamphlet "A Stack to Remember" (1979)) is one of the two most popular “memorized-deck” stacks around the world. Well known for devising card magic that combines subtleties, novel mathematical procedures, stacked arrangements, and sleight-of-hand, Aronson’s effect "Prior Commitment" (which introduced Aronson’s UnDo Influence principle to the magic world, in his book “Try the Impossible” (2001)) successfully fooled Penn & Teller on Britain’s television show "Fool Us." (June 18, 2011). His original magic effects Shuffle-bored, Red See Passover, Side-swiped and others are staples in the performing repertoire of many magicians.

In addition to his card magic, Aronson, for over 40 years, professionally performed a two-person mind reading act entitled “It’s the Thought that Counts” with his wife Ginny.[1][2]

Family Background

Simon Aronson was the elder son of Arnold Aronson, a civil rights leader, and Annette Aronson, a painter and artist. His brother, Bernard Aronson, was a speechwriter for Vice President Walter Mondale and later was Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs from 1989 to 1993. Simon Aronson married Virginia Lee Cook in 1974.

Early Magical Influences

Simon Aronson was raised in the suburbs of New York city, first in Forest Hills (Queens), then in Rye (Westchester County). Aronson took up magic as a hobby at the age of eight[3], performed his first “paid” birthday party engagement at age 11, and appeared as a Junior Magician on television’s Magic Clown show in 1956. For three years (1957 – 1960) Aronson was a member of the Westchester Talent Unit, a team of talented teenagers performing variety shows for charitable institutions throughout Westchester County, under the direction of Gus Rovin, Director of the Music Division of the Westchester Recreation Commission.

During his teenage years Aronson was mentored by Louis Tannen (founder and owner of Tannen’s Magic Supplies), and from 1958 – 1961 was an active member of and performer for the Future American Magical Entertainers (F.A.M.E.) sponsored by the New York City Department of Parks. During the summers of 1960 and 1961 Aronson managed and ran the joke and trick shop on the boardwalk at Playland Amusement Park, in Rye, N.Y., performing daily for tourists and visitors to the park. Aronson was also inspired by magicians who met at the legendary 42nd Street Cafeteria Roundtable, including such notables as Dai Vernon, Harry Lorayne, and Howie Schwarzman.

Aronson published his first original card trick in 1959 (“Maximus” Genii Magazine, Sept. 1959, p. 13) and as a teenager was featured in the column “Towns Teen Topics” (Genii Magazine, June 1960, p. 351).


In 1961 Aronson moved to Chicago to attend college at the University of Chicago (“U of C”). He received his B.A. in Economics, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, in 1964. He continued graduate studies in the department of Philosophy for the ensuing six years, receiving his M.A. in 1965, and teaching Humanities and Philosophy courses in the College at U of C. Aronson specialized in the works of Plato, publishing his article “The Happy Philosopher – a Counterexample to Plato’s Proof” (Journal of the History of Philosophy, Vol. X, No. 4, October 1972).

In 1970 he changed career goals, transferring to the University of Chicago Law School. After receiving his J.D. in 1973, Aronson joined the law firm of Lord, Bissell & Brook in Chicago, where he practiced real estate law for 26 years, initially as an associate, later becoming a full partner in 1981. He retired from the practice of law in 1999.

Contributions to the Art of Magic

Upon his arrival in Chicago in 1961 Aronson immediately became a fixture at the Ireland Magic store, where he was befriended by proprietors Jay Marshall and Frances Ireland Marshall. He joined Chicago’s Mazda Mystic Ring club, and performed on the club’s annual public show for several years. He was an avid attendee of magic lectures sponsored by Ireland’s and was further inspired by many of the prominent Chicago magicians, including Matt Schulien, Jim Ryan and Harry Riser.

In 1965, on one of his visits to Ireland’s, he met and formed a friendship with David Solomon, a Chicagoan who shared Aronson’s love of card magic. They started meeting on a weekly basis to share their tricks and ideas; over 45 years later, these sessions still continue.

In the late 1960’s, Aronson and Solomon were introduced to Edward Marlo (1910 – 1991), the then reigning king of card magic in Chicago. Aronson and Solomon became regular attendees at the “Marlo Table,” joining other card magicians who would learn from, and exchange ideas with, Marlo and each other; Aronson’s attendance at the Marlo Table continued until Ed Marlo’s death. During this period Aronson and Marlo became close friends, with Aronson contributing to Marlo’s self-published magazine on card magic, and Marlo writing the Foreword to Aronson’s first book on card magic (The Card Ideas of Simon Aronson, 1978).

In 1990 a younger magician, John Bannon, moved to Chicago and became friends with Aronson and Solomon. Upon the death of Edward Marlo, the three of them determined to keep up their weekly sessions, meeting privately at Aronson’s home. This triumvirate, and their weekly sessions, is now commonly referred to as the “Chicago Session,” a brain trust for the creation of card magic, known throughout the world.[4]

Mental Magic

Always interested in the presentation of mentalism and mind reading, in 1965 Aronson formed a friendship with Eddie Fields and “Professor” George Martz, who performed their two-person mind reading act in connection with the sale of horoscopes. Aronson studied their routines for several years, and then began his own intensive research into the history and practice of other two-person mind reading acts, starting with the vaudeville era. Jay Marshall provided complete access to his own library and manuscripts. Eventually, Aronson devised his own systems for such an act, calling it "It’s the Thought That Counts." Aronson presented this act professionally throughout the Chicago area until 1975. In 1967 he gained notoriety in Chicago by successfully predicting the headlines of several Chicago newspapers. Aronson and his wife Ginny (Virginia) have performed versions of their act at magic conventions around the world (including MAGIC Live, the World Magic Summit, Escorial, the Invocation, Collector’s Workshop, and others).

In addition to the books below, Aronson has published individual tricks and articles in other magic books, and in various magic magazines, including Genii, MAGIC, Hierophant, Kabbala, Sticks and Stones, M-U-M and The Linking Ring. Aronson’s works have been translated into French, German, Italian and Japanese. He has been featured in cover stories in the Linking Ring magazine (February 2002), MAGIC Magazine (August 2003), and M-U-M Magazine (March 2012). The Aronson's mind reading act was the feature cover story in Genii, the Conjurors' Magazine (November 2013).

In 2005, L&L Publishing, Inc. produced a 3-volume set of Aronson performing and teaching his original card magic creations (Sessions with Simon: the Impossible Magic of Simon Aronson).

Aronson has also lectured for magicians, at magic clubs, meetings and conventions.



  • "Aronson Stack Makes Good", Magic (April ‘02) p. 79
  • "Birthday Memories", Semi-Automatic Card Tricks, Volume 4 by Steve Beam (2002) p. 59
  • "Random Sample Shuffle-bored", Magic (August ‘03) p. 69
  • "Among the Discards," (with John Bannon and Dave Solomon), Magic (July ’04) p. 87


  • "Sessions with Simon: The Impossible Magic of Simon Aronson" (three DVD set, 2006)


  1. Overview, Chicago Tribune, Aug. 24, 2003, p.1
  3. “A Personal Note from Simon,” Sessions,1982, p. 136
  4. In Their Own Words: The Chicago Session, MAGIC Magazine, May 2008