John Guastaferro: Connecting People to the Extraordinary

John Guastaferro

John Guastaferro is an American magician and guitarist. He has also written a book which was chosen as “Book of the Year” on The Magic Café titled One Degree.

At The Daily Magician, we recently had the opportunity to interview John Guastaferro and were able to uncover some very interesting knowledge about Guastaferro’s experience as a professional Magician, world-class guitarist, and as a business executive.

(For more information and conversation with Guastaferro go take a listen to our podcast!!!)  


How did John Guastaferro get into magic?

Let’s start of course, at the very beginning – how he became interested in MAGIC.

In John’s own words…

“Back in that day, the TV specials were of Doug Henning on TV. And it’s a really small household just my mom and I and no siblings. And I think in many ways, I was always drawn to something creative, whether it be art, or in this case, magic, and something really caught my eye. I know Doug Henning was doing a lot of you know, fun and whimsical illusions, which I thought were great. But it’s when he kind of slowed down and he made a nickel vanish in his hand that it really drew me in and I didn’t know at the time that this was a john Cornelius effect. All I knew is that it was just so pure. And I just wanted to dive in more, so from that point on, I would read every book I could. There really wasn’t a magic shop nearby, it was in Huntington Park California. But there’s like a gag costume semi magic shop nearby called (thinks) fun city and I liked it. It had all that typical stuff, right? The fake thumb with the blood on it, and the squirting nickel and all that stuff, but they also had a few magic tricks. And I would just get my hands and everything I could and Yeah! I think Joshua j put it well, when time where a lot of kids get into magic, but some of us become students of magic, right? It wasn’t far after that, where I became a student of magic. And you know, we just, we didn’t have like YouTube or anything back then. But I would just, you know, get books any way I could and then I would have my mom pick up things from Hollywood Magic on her way home from work because she worked in LA. The rest is history.”

How did John Guastaferro get into music?

In John’s own words…

“Honestly, I didn’t even know that I had a musical bone in my body, to be honest. I mean, it wasn’t until like, 17 years old till I got to the guitar, which is late to kind of master an instrument. I guess like many people in Qatar was hanging out my friend’s house, and he played. So, he taught me how to play Stairway to Heaven, you know, and then I ended up putting a few dollars together and buying just a cheap guitar, and again, like anything, I just stayed with it. I just put as many hours as I could into it. I think the dexterity that I had in my hands for the magic certainly helped me, you know, progressing faster.”

Up to this point, we have seen John Guastaferro’s interest in guitar and magic spark. BUT there is even more to the story. The future is ALWAYS changing and sometimes we don’t know what to expect. The same thing happened with Guastaferro. He continues…

“I wish I could have foreseen the future. I mean, I’m glad about the future that came about, but I had no idea where it would lead. But at that time being in college was a priority. Magic was important to me and music became important to me, and these were still passions of mine but I didn’t look at magic or music as any sort of career or anything when I went into college. I was really artistic as well. I’ve always loved drawing and art – oil painting. And you know, these days, I do a lot of pencil sketches and graphic design, too. So, I went into college as an Architecture Major.”

“The first couple of years, I liked it, I really did, but when it got into the very kind of technical structure, math stuff, it wasn’t as appealing to me. And so, I took a step back my third year, and just took a lot of classes. I took classes in graphic design, in fine arts, and music. And then when I took a business class, there was a good click. (Because I really have this kind of left brain and right brain thing going on.) I really liked strategy, as well, and I think one of my teachers just saw that in me. So, I majored in marketing, specifically in Business Administration with a specialization in marketing. And I always thought, okay, like, being a creative director, you know, in advertising, that’s something that I think that could appeal to both my creative side, and my, my business side. So anyway, I was very well aware of the creative interest I had. And I just was kind of open to it. It was six years in college, because I took a year just to take some classes and just be open to it, and everything. So that was my journey there.”

This wasn’t always an easy journey and John Guastaferro explains that it was only in the last 10 years that he shifted from feeling scattered, “like being pulled in different directions” to realized “Wait a minute, there’s a reason why I’m pulled in all these seemingly different directions, but they’re actually all going in the same direction.” Guastaferro says “it took me YEARS to land on this”.

Why Magic? John Guastaferro’s answer to why he and all of us should study magic.

We asked Guastaferro in the podcast, “What do you find meaningful about magic? And why do you put all of your time into solving magical problems as opposed to solving some greater good social problems?”

Guastaferro’s answer is incredibly poignant:  

 “I mean, they’re all interwoven, you know, and they’re in there. And there are different beautiful things about each. You know, I often give motivational talks as well, where I weave it all together, you know, and I often say, like, in philanthropy, I’m having the opportunity to turn the impossible into the possible, you know, I mean, there are families that may be suffering in the community that I live in, and I lead a local foundation. And, for example, we provide a lot of grants during this pandemic and helping people that are hungry. And, and really, these are impossible circumstances that we help become possible, you know, and in magic, we make it look that way. So, in many ways, it’s much more powerful in actually doing that work. But I also think it heightens the beauty of magic because I think, you know, in magic, my view is that it’s not really about pulling an ace out of your pocket, or whatever. I mean, those are beautiful moments and fun, enjoyable moments, but I think it also leaves an audience with an extra feeling that you know, if that’s possible, maybe anything is possible. So I think there’s a gift in that that we’re giving when we perform magic.”

If you would like to hear the rest of the podcast you can find it here:

More from John…

If you’d like to hear more from John, one of the first places you can go is The Daily Magician Tapes collection:

This exclusive interview features:

  • How he uses magic in keynote speeches and why it’s such a powerful tool.
  • The power of being on stage (and why you should assume that everyone is ready to be inspired)
  • The exact 4 sentence ‘mantra’ John recites before every performance
  • How to be a great public speaker (John’s top tips)
  • Why being an ‘expert’ does not necessarily make you a good speaker (and why speaking is about so much more than reciting facts)
  • Why John Guastaferro believes that knowledge is in fact NOT power (and what real power is)
  • The three things John believes you need to be successful in business
  • The power of smiling (and why you should do it constantly)
  • Why calling your performance an ‘act’ is an incomplete definition (and how you should think about it instead)

And for more information about John Guastaferro here is his website:

You can also check out his latest masterclass here:

Recent Posts