Apollo Robbins
"The Gentleman Thief"
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Biography Print Bio

Apollo Robbins is an entertainer, speaker and consultant. Often referred to as “The Gentleman Thief,” Robbins first made national news when he pick-pocketed the Secret Service while entertaining a former U.S. President. Forbes called Apollo “an artful manipulator of awareness,” and Wired Magazine has written that “he could steal the wallet of a man who knew he was going to have his pocket picked.”

Robbins has expanded the role of misdirection and magic beyond entertainment, pulling back the curtain to show how the principles behind these illusions apply to everyday decision making. He has been featured in Scientific American Mind and Nature Journal of Science for his collaborative research on attention & perception.

Frequently sought after as a thought leader, Apollo has lectured at a diverse range of institutions, including the Harvard Kennedy School of Business and the Society of Neuroscience. He has been profiled by The New Yorker and featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal. Apollo’s entertainment credits include the long-running TNT series Leverage and the Warner Brothers blockbuster movie Focus with Will Smith.

He produced and co-hosted the National Geographic Channel program Brain Games, which was nominated for an Emmy as an Outstanding Informational Series. His guest appearance on the TODAY show is a YouTube favorite at more than 8 million views.

The TED editors described Robbins’ popular talk as “a revelation in the flaws of human perception.” It is currently among the 20 most-viewed TED talks of all time.

Apollo’s talks & workshops feature interactive demonstrations using pickpocketing, magic, and theatrical con games to illustrate complex concepts from cognitive science, social psychology, and behavioral economics. TED has asked Apollo to debut his new workshop “The Illusion of Knowledge” at TED’s main event in Vancouver in 2017.

Speech Topics

  • The Illusion of Knowledge
    “The enemy of Knowledge is not Ignorance. It is the Illusion of Knowledge.” - Daniel J. Boorstin This high energy Keynote explores the gap between what we know and what we think we know. Using theatrical cons and magic, the Audience is introduced to their own cognitive blind spots. Topics include: Challenging assumptions, Dealing with Uncertainty & Perspective Taking. #Ask new questions & Question old answers.
  • The Gentleman Thief
    Apollo’s unique hybrid brand of sleight of hand, pickpocketing and Brain Games. This is a jazzy walk around, meet-and-greet style entertainment that is flexible for a wide variety of venues.
  • The Perception Show: It’s Not What Lou LOOK at That Matters… It’s What You SEE.
    Are some people more perceptive than others? What opportunities are you missing simply because you didn’t SEE them? The Perception Show is a unique, interactive experience that involves the whole audience. Building on the Emmy-nominated format of National Geographic’s Brain Games, this 45 minute experience utilizes interactive videos, illusions, and hands-on immersive demonstrations.
  • The Con Test: Would You Fall for a Con?
    This competitive workshop promotes critical thinking by teaching attendees how to design a CON. Not only must they attempt to pull off the Con, they must do so while actively avoiding being deceived themselves. By merging the problem-solving needs of their own mission with the situational awareness necessary to avoid being deceived, this session will force participants to constantly challenge their own assumptions.
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Article: A Pickpocket's Tale
Video: Apollo Robbins On Focus
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