Inventor, magician, and student John Stessel, 21, says his skills that have grown like an oak tree from an acorn out the gift of a basic magic kit when he was a child have taken him from shy, young boy in a complicated family who found comfort in practicing, practicing, practicing card tricks; to bullied high schooler who hid his emerging talent because of fear of being ridiculed; all the way to confident and charismatic young man who has already appeared as a contestant on television's Wizard Wars with master magicians Penn and Teller, and more. Stessel also runs a successful line of commercial magic products through which he has already developed and marketed several best-selling tricks. Additionally, he is a consulting technician for the likes of rising magic star Dan White, who is currently performing in an off-Broadway show called The Magician, and who was coached by Stessel before appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Stessel's mentor at Monmouth University, Director of the Kislak Real Estate and NJAR/Greenbaum/Ferguson Professor of Real Estate Policy Peter S. Reinhart, Esq. said: "John is a wonderful student who has all the gifts and talents to become a difference maker in the world. His passion for learning coupled with his terrific work ethic, his magnetic personality, not to mention his talents as a magician, make him a pleasure to have as a student and to know as a person. I expect great things from John in the future. We will be reading about him."
It seems almost counterintuitive that Stessel, who does not perform publicly often, gravitated at such a young age toward what seems the most difficult of pursuits in the field of magic-developing tricks for sale to illusionists. He said while he does not dislike performing (and he hopes to grow more in that art), Stessel feels he made a smart choice by finding a way to earn income from magic that did not involve performing sleight of hand tricks at children's birthday parties.
After submitting the concept to several companies, the product (called FLUSH) was on the market by the time Stessel turned 15, and it became a world-wide bestseller with magic retailers. Since then, he has released six tricks and three of these have become bestsellers.
Monmouth University professor John Buzza who teaches classes on entrepreneurship in the Leon Hess Business School finds Stessel gifted with not only talent, but also with a determination to succeed. Professor Buzza said: "Anyone who has a true passion for what he does can ultimately be successful. Successful entrepreneurs are rooted in passion and the ONLY way to make your business successful is through passion.
"Customers today are very savvy and they can see through the pretenders. Being honest, ethical, and always giving one hundred percent to what it is you do is truly what successful business is all about. From my observation, John Stessel has that formula."
If passion is a tool for success, then a deck of cards in Stessel's hands is his main tool for sharing his unique passion. Stessel has a way with cards that lures people into a universe where what is seen cannot be believed, let alone understood. It is no understatement to say that this is a young man with a mature talent and with a head start to a compelling future.
Wayne, New Jersey
Faculty Member Influence
"Professor Peter Reinhart is awesome. He is a mentor in every sense of the word. He is helpful when I need help and he is supportive of my professional development. He tells it like it is and that, for me, is so valuable."
How Monmouth helped me achieve my goals
"Monmouth allows me to grow and mature not only as a student, but as a person. The faculty are so caring and so supportive, and that support is authentic. I know the University is invested in me, in my goals, and they are ensuring that I tackle my career goals and ambitions in the best possible way."
Why I'm proud of Monmouth
"I could not say enough good things about Monmouth University. Sincerely, this is a place that has nurtured me, made me feel I belong, and has given me the confidence to create possibilities for myself that I could only have previously dreamed of achieving."