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Topic: David Ben - Advantage Play
Message: Posted by: James Alan (Nov 23, 2006 02:10AM)
This isn't a new book (2001), but I just finished it and couldn't find a review so here goes.

The full title is Advantage Play - The Manager's Guide to Creative Problem Solving. If the title weren't enough for you, the price ($25 Hardcover) should tell you that this isn't exactly a book for magicians. It does, nonetheless, have some interesting ideas inside.

The book paints the picture of the "Advantage Play Executive". A person who uses the methods of the gamblers to achieve advantages for him/herself. He uses as his model, a text he is intimately familiar with - Erdnase. Try to picture Erdnase without any playing cards in it.

Like the Dai Vernon biography, it is extremely well written and is littered with personal performance anecdotes as well as stories of two of his magic idols Stewart James and Dai Vernon.

There is also a surprising amount of magic inside. There are two prediction effects with cards, a version of Tossed Out Tech with several varations, a detailed explanation of The Trick That Cannot Be Explained, tips to improving your psychic reading, a strategy for cheating at a casino blackjack table and a foolproof method for getting out of jury duty.

Granted nothing in the book is terribly original. Most of the strategies are recycled methods for "thinking outside the box" and the magic - even though the presentations are quite interesting - is IMO nothing extraordinary. It's merely taking some old ideas and putting a new perspective on it. I think that anyone can take something from this book and magicians will enjoy the constant comparison to magic and gambling notions.

All things considered, I give it 2 out of 3 Paul Fox cups.
Message: Posted by: Andy the cardician (Nov 23, 2006 03:24AM)
Sounds like on of these management books . . .

thanks for this
Message: Posted by: doug brewer (Nov 23, 2006 01:25PM)
I love David Ben's work, but this book has been a bug up my backside since it first came out. You do realize this is sold at his management seminar's, right? These are sold to laymen managers and exposes the Tossed Out Deck, among other secrets. I can only assume he does this during his seminars too. I was disappointed with Mr. Ben when this came out because I absolutely loved the article on him in Genii and his book called "Tricks". But I could see no real reason for this, other than it provides an angle for his seminar presentations. Oh well . . .
Message: Posted by: James Alan (Nov 24, 2006 12:14AM)
In all fairness to David Ben the routines explained in the book are his. He's not exposing anything that he doesn't have the right to - The Tossed Out Deck is HIS routine and he represents the Vernon estate.

And lets face it, magic secrets aren't that well hidden these days. My copies of Expert at the Card Table and Expert Card Technique both came from Chapters (the reigning book stuperstore in Canada) and together they still cost me less than Advantage Play.
Message: Posted by: doug brewer (Nov 26, 2006 10:38PM)
He exposes the modus operandi of the Tossed Out Deck. Period. This is done by performing the trick, then explaining the method to the seminar attendees. He then tries to apply the method to corporate "advantage play" - assumptions, etc. when making a deal. I don't deny that it's clever. But it is exposure, nonetheless. To be honest, I wouldn't care if it wasn't such an important trick like TOD. This is an effect that is in the active repertoires of many magicians today. It is possible it could do damage. Not quite sure what the "represents the Vernon estate" has to do with his exposure of effects. Really, I don't care. Mostly I felt somewhat taken for my money, as it was pitched as a David Ben book of effects and theoretical real world applications. I was disappointed when I read the book, as it slowly dawned on me what this really was. Sorry, "Vernon estate representative" or not, it's not right.
Message: Posted by: Xiqual (Nov 27, 2006 01:52AM)
[quote]
On 2006-11-24 01:14, Jameson wrote:
In all fairness to David Ben the routines explained in the book are his. He's not exposing anything that he doesn't have the right to - The Tossed Out Deck is HIS routine and he represents the Vernon estate.
[/quote]

The concept for tossed out deck belongs to David Hoy, so he doesn't have a right to expose it. I also think if a magician sells his tricks to other magicians, he does not have a right to expose those tricks, even if he was the magician that invented the trick.


[quote]
And lets face it, magic secrets aren't that well hidden these days. My copies of Expert at the Card Table and Expert Card Technique both came from Chapters (the reigning book stuperstore in Canada) and together they still cost me less than Advantage Play.
[/quote]

Let's really face it. It's pretty hard for a person not versed in magic to wade through Erdnase. Expert at the card table also reads a bit dry. I wonder how Mr. Ben would feel if a book exposed his handling of the Germaine water jars?

James