Trained as a watchmaker, he developed a passion for magic. He produced some of the most amazing mystery clocks and automata ever.
His home in Blois, France is open to the public as a museum and theater. Here is a short promotional clip of the Maison de la Magie (House of Magic).
There are many books by or about Robert-Houdin. Dover published an inexpensive reprint of his memoirs that you can probably find used. Steer clear Houdini's book on The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin, unless you are interested in exploring Houdini's misguided attempt to defame Robert-Houdin.