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Topic: Still my favorite magic book...
Message: Posted by: Brad Burt (Jul 24, 2007 04:45PM)
There will be many entrants in this type of catagory and topics along this line have been broached before, but how about this: If you could name just 'one' and only 'one' magic book as a favorite what would it be?

For me it Close-up Card Magic by Harry Lorayne. To this day I still do more routines I one form or another from this little green tome. Considering how long it's been about I still find it an amazing resource of solid commercial entertaining magic effects with cards. Flash Aces and Harry's Ambitious Card routine are stand outs, but the list could be as long as the table of contents.

Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Jul 24, 2007 07:30PM)
Thanks for the kind words, Burt. And all re-written and updated in LORAYNE: THE CLASSIC COLLECTION. Best - HARRY L.
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Jul 24, 2007 10:13PM)
An almost impossible question to answer...

Oh, what the heck... I'll just say "13 Steps to Mentalism". After that everything else is simply refinement of technique!
Message: Posted by: MagiClyde (Jul 24, 2007 10:29PM)
Definitely Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic. There is plenty to learn in nearly all branches of magic and the learning never truly stops.
Message: Posted by: PirateJohn (Jul 24, 2007 11:11PM)
I still like my Royal Road to Card Magic book. I need to read that one again -- I haven't looked through it in ages.

Two of my card staples come directly from that book.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jul 25, 2007 07:06AM)
Sorry to sound contrary, but it's in my nature. I have real problems with the very nature of this question. It's like asking what your favorite tool in a toolbox is. My favorite tool is the one I need for the job at hand. If I had to answer, it would be a toss up between "Tarbell" and "Mark Wilson's Complete Course..." mostly because, in my opinion, those two works are tool boxes, rather than tools.
Message: Posted by: jcards01 (Jul 25, 2007 10:06AM)
Stars of Magic
Message: Posted by: Mark Wilden (Jul 25, 2007 10:24AM)
My favorite tool in my toolbox is my hammer. Seriously. It's just the right weight and fits comfortably in my hand. I wouldn't use it to drive screws, but it's still my favorite tool.

Message: Posted by: AngeloR (Jul 27, 2007 07:38PM)
Let me open my tool box :) hmmm...:

To master new sleights: Card College (5 volume set) by Giobbi

Cards-only book: Lorayne's Close-up Card Magic

Mixed-bag (cards, coins, etc.): Bannon's Smoke and Mirrors

As someone once said: "Different strokes for different folks."
Message: Posted by: Andy the cardician (Jul 27, 2007 07:54PM)
For a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail
Message: Posted by: AngeloR (Jul 27, 2007 08:29PM)
Ahh yes... indeed. Quite profound Andy-san. Sometimes writing and reading posts can be "wrenching" experiences ;) .
Message: Posted by: Nedim (Jul 28, 2007 01:02PM)
Hi everyone,

I'm Nedim from Turkey. I love card magic and stage manipulation. My favourite magic book are Tarbell Courses, Jeff McBrides Mystery Book. Also Eugene Burger have some wonderful books. I didn't read Harry Lorayne before but I watched his Dvds. I think they are wonderful. I saw the best 3 card monte I ever saw.

magicially yours,

Nedim Guzel
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Jul 28, 2007 05:55PM)
Hey Nedim: Start reading the good stuff! hl
Message: Posted by: Nedim (Jul 28, 2007 08:19PM)
Hi Mr. Lorayne,

I'm always interested in reading and books. I always hear about yours. I will.:)But I think watching your Dvd is also a good start to learn your magic.?

magicially yours,

Nedim Guzel
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Jul 28, 2007 09:49PM)
If it has to be one book, I don't think Tarbell would qualify without a lot of glue. And the performance aspects and psychology aren't the best. But for tricks, you can't beat it.

If I had to base a career off one book, Wilson's would be the best rounded.

I think Strong Magic is the one I most universally apply.

If my library were on fire. I wouldn't risk singeing my knuckle hair to rescue:

The Great Book of Magic
Dunninger's Complete Encyclopedia of Magic
All of Karl Fulves' books (Clynim and Airship like them. Just not for me.)
Card Tricks Anyone Can Do
Blackstone's Tricks Anyone Can Do
The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Card & Magic Tricks
How to Entertain Children with Magic You Can Do
Houdini's Escapes and Magic
Magic with Everyday Objects
Scarne's Magic Tricks (Clynim likes this one as well)
Houdini on Magic
Dusheck's Thumb Tip Magic
Bell's Book of Tricks
Bell's Magic Book
Message: Posted by: Andy the cardician (Jul 28, 2007 10:16PM)
The real issue is that once we master a book, it remains a sentimental value to us . . .
Message: Posted by: Nedim (Jul 29, 2007 03:27AM)
Tarbell Courses are the basic books of magic. I think every magician must get one of these series. There is 8 books. If you have a good library for magic you must have the Tarbell Course.

magicially yours,

Nedim Guzel
Message: Posted by: Jay Austin (Jul 29, 2007 10:22AM)
It is hard to pick only one book. It is easier to pick a book based on a subset of magic. For instance, Bobo's Modern Coin Magic would be my choice for coin magic. For learning card slights it would be a toss up between Royal Road or Card College. I also love Close-up Card Magic for tricks. It is almost impossible to pick just one book.
Message: Posted by: Cryozombie (Jul 29, 2007 10:54AM)
Being fairly new, I only have 3 books and 4 dvds, but of what I have Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic is the best overall... but my basics of sleeving DVD by Rocco Silano is a close second for favoirtes. (oops, that's not really a book is it?)
Message: Posted by: andre combrinck (Aug 1, 2007 12:36PM)
Between Stars of Magic, 13 Steps, AOA, Books of Wonder --I'd go with ...Stars
They're all brilliant, but Stars has the edge--all the effects are classics and not all that difficult to do.

Message: Posted by: One Man (Aug 1, 2007 09:28PM)
The Commercial Magic of JC Wagner...followed by The Secrets of Bro. John Hamman.

Message: Posted by: dpe666 (Aug 1, 2007 09:39PM)
Scarne On Card Tricks. :devilish:
Message: Posted by: Ted Danger (Aug 1, 2007 10:14PM)
13 Steps to Corinda, and Magic for Dyslectix. How many can we list?
Message: Posted by: Nedim (Aug 2, 2007 04:22AM)
Hi everyone,

I started reading Jeff McBrides and Eugene Burgers Mystery School Book. And nearly it became my favourite. Its very different from others. I think you must have in your library.

magicially yours,

Nedim Guzel
Message: Posted by: JeremyM0411 (Aug 2, 2007 04:35PM)
I would have to say that Tarbell books are the best.
Message: Posted by: Julie (Aug 2, 2007 08:40PM)
Hi Guys

I would say Tarbell, too.

However, if pressed to select just ONE individual book I would choose Greater Magic for its variety, practicality and overall complete and easy-to-understand instructions in just about all categories of Magic.

Fantastik for Beginners and Professionals alike!

Message: Posted by: gaddy (Aug 3, 2007 03:30AM)
I changed my mind. my new ONLY book is Martin Gardner's "Book of Impromptu Magic"

out of print, hard to find ETC..... but you will NEVER again be at a loss for some trick to pull off at a moments notice!
Message: Posted by: Brad Burt (Aug 3, 2007 02:05PM)
My original idea for this post was to focus on that 'one' book .... IF there is one for 'you' that has given the most to your magic performance. As noted above some folks just can't carve it down that fine and I appreciate that! But, some of us can.

I have any number of 'favorite' books: Stars of Magic, Greater Magic, Tarbells 2,3,4; the Card Magic of Paul LePaul; Routined Manipulations vols 1-2 by Ganson; The Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay is so close a second to Harry's wonderful book that it was a close thing, but in the end....

It's interesting to me to know what that 'one' book is that had the most influence upon a person. If it's not possible to pare the selection down to one I totally understand.

One of the things that I do find interesting looking at the list above is how many of the books sited are 'older' books. 25-50+ years old! Close-up Card Magic, 13 Steps, the Martin Gardner book, etc. There have been some extrodinary books published in the last 10-15 years, but I find myself forever pulling out the oldies! As noted above...if you have copy of Greater Magic, how can you resist going through it again for the zillionth time and happening upon a gem that you missed the first zillionth times through? Tarbell is the same. I have never been able to just read 'through' Tarbell and thus I can pick up a volume and find things that just tear me up.

What fun. My best to you all,
Message: Posted by: Sk8erBoi9305 (Aug 4, 2007 03:24PM)
J.B. Bobo's modern coin magic.
Message: Posted by: MagiClyde (Aug 4, 2007 08:38PM)
[quote]The real issue is that once we master a book, it remains a sentimental value to us[/quote]

The real question is "Do we ever truly master a book?" If we're always going back and learning new things from it, or finding tricks that we dismissed the first time round, I would have to say the answer is NO. Even Dai Vernon kept a copy of [i]Expert at the Card Table[/i] by his bedside to reference nearly every single day of his life, once he discovered this gem.

Josh, The reason I picked the Fulves and Scarne books that I did is because I like the fact that a GOOD self-working trick, once learned, can help a beginner master presentation, which I consider far more important than just knowing how to do a trick. In my opinion, a good trick without good presentation is still just a trick. A lousy trick, presented well, can not only entertain, but might even come close to being considered art.
Message: Posted by: dpe666 (Aug 4, 2007 09:17PM)
On 2007-08-04 21:38, clynim wrote:
[quote]The real issue is that once we master a book, it remains a sentimental value to us[/quote]

a GOOD self-working trick, once learned, can help a beginner master presentation[/quote]

Are you suggesting that self-working effects are just for beginners? I have been in magic for almost 30 years, and I still love a good self-working effect. :devilish:
Message: Posted by: MindMyst (Aug 5, 2007 07:50AM)
My recommendation would have to be: "Now You See It, Now You Don't" by Bill Tarr. He has put together the strong basics of sleight of hand for cards, coins, and other small objects. Then, he continues on with the concepts of putting together tricks from those sleights. Finally, he develops the work into ideas for stringing together several tricks into basic show routines.

For one book to 'pull' someone into the art, this book has it all.

My 2 cents.

Message: Posted by: Erdnase27 (Aug 5, 2007 04:46PM)
Dear mr fantasy
Message: Posted by: sirbrad (Aug 7, 2007 12:05AM)
Sorry but a tie between my first two magic books ever. "The Amateur Magician's Handbook" by Henry Hay, followed by "The Magic Book" by Harry Lorayne. I still do 'Mental Message' till this day thirty years later. I still have both original copies in great shape, although yellowing some.
Message: Posted by: jmoran76 (Aug 25, 2007 12:29PM)
I agree with Burt...I love Close Up Card Magic. A close second for me is Terry LaGerould's Pasteboard Presentations.
Message: Posted by: cosmopop1 (Aug 26, 2007 09:48AM)
The Royal Road to Card Magic. It has some absolutely phenomenal stuff in there!
Message: Posted by: Hawkan (Aug 27, 2007 01:55PM)
As I´ve said in earlier threads: The Magic Book (Harry L.)

Message: Posted by: DLarkins (Oct 2, 2007 10:28AM)
For me it would be Art of Astonishment v.1 - Paul Harris

I'm a little surprised that no one has mentioned it yet...
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Oct 2, 2007 03:30PM)
On 2007-08-05 08:50, MindMyst wrote:
My recommendation would have to be: "Now You See It, Now You Don't" by Bill Tarr. He has put together the strong basics of sleight of hand for cards, coins, and other small objects......

My 2 cents.


I thought about putting this one in instead of 13 steps as well... even if you didn't speak any english and just found this book on a desert island you'd be able to begin to master sleight of hand. Sometimes the illustrations are not perfect, but for the most part they are very accurate.

Good choice!

Message: Posted by: Montethrower (Oct 2, 2007 03:51PM)
Nothing's more nostalgic to me than opening my Stars of MAgic hard-cover. It just smells old and wonderful, all of the stuff it contains. Good memories...

Message: Posted by: gardini (Oct 3, 2007 07:12AM)
If I had to choose one book that I coundn't do without it would be the Dai Vernon Book of Magic, so much to learn from it, and if I could only keep one DVD set it would be Dai Vernon Releations,the effects, theroy and history is a must for all magicians no matter how many times I watch theese I always learn more about magic.

Message: Posted by: Magicray69 (Jul 26, 2008 11:19PM)
Close-up Card Magic by Harry Lorayne.
Message: Posted by: tcted (Jul 27, 2008 05:34AM)
[i]Royal Road to Card Magic[/i] for me, but I do have Harry Lorayne's [i]Classic Collection[/i] on it's way, and I'm guessing that will soon be the new favorite (judging by everybody else's favorites).

Message: Posted by: danedover (Jul 27, 2008 07:12AM)
On 2007-07-25 08:06, JackScratch wrote:
Sorry to sound contrary, but it's in my nature. I have real problems with the very nature of this question. It's like asking what your favorite tool in a toolbox is. My favorite tool is the one I need for the job at hand. If I had to answer, it would be a toss up between "Tarbell" and "Mark Wilson's Complete Course..." mostly because, in my opinion, those two works are tool boxes, rather than tools.

I have to agree, the classic books of magic are still the best. I would also add Corinda's [i]13 Steps to Mentalism[/i].
Message: Posted by: DomKabala (Jul 27, 2008 09:57AM)
I have to say Henry Hay's "Amateur Magicians Handbook", which was my 1st "real" book of magic and has great sentimental value because it survived the '04 hurricane season (in Florida) which destroyed most of my magic collection of books and props.
:) :bwink:
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Jul 28, 2008 02:43PM)
New entry for me: the omnibus "Secret Ways of Al Baker". Just... Wow!
Message: Posted by: SilentTuba (Jul 28, 2008 07:36PM)
What a great topic! There are plenty of books being talked about here I have not previously heard of but will definitely look up.

Right now, my collection consists of really only two books....[i]Royal Road to Card Magic[/i] and Mark Wilson's [i]Cyclopedia of Magic[/i].

[i]Royal Road[/i], while a great book, is a little tough to understand. I have to read a passage 2-3 times carefully before I get what they're saying--not a bad thing, though.

The Mark Wilson book, I adore. It was my first magic book (given to me by a friend in High School, who knew I was interested in magic), and I still refer to it for some great tricks from time to time. Very well written and easy to understand, too.
Message: Posted by: T. Sebastian (Jul 28, 2008 10:20PM)
The most important book in my collection is Ken Weber's "Maximum Entertainment".
Message: Posted by: cenafreak0709 (Jul 29, 2008 01:00AM)
Mark Wilson's [i]Complete Course in Magic[/i]. I also like [i]Amateur Magicians Handbook[/i].
Message: Posted by: gillesA4 (Jul 29, 2008 02:46AM)
So, nobody likes 'The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings'???
Message: Posted by: Malus (Sep 14, 2008 05:30PM)
On 2008-07-29 03:46, gillesA4 wrote:
So, nobody likes 'The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings'???

I don't have that book...yet. But I am seriously thinking about getting this book. :) Maybe it would become my favorite once I get it.
Message: Posted by: The Burnaby Kid (Sep 14, 2008 07:19PM)
Still love Royal Road to Card Magic, although it's a bit of a bittersweet love. At some point somebody really should take another crack at that kind of book, but include modern touches where they are needed -- eg: improving the Ambitious Card routine, including small packet work (like the Elmsley Count or some such), etc.
Message: Posted by: Donal Chayce (Sep 14, 2008 11:15PM)
I know I'm a little late to the party, but for me it's "Classic Secrets of Magic" by Bruce Elliott.
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Sep 15, 2008 12:50AM)
Message: Posted by: spatlind (Sep 18, 2008 12:14PM)
Smoke and Mirrors - John Bannon
Message: Posted by: NurseRob (Sep 18, 2008 11:37PM)
I just got my copy of Stars of Magic, no sleep for me tonight.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Sep 19, 2008 03:20AM)
"Now You See It, Now You Don't" - Bill Tarr. I learned a lot from that book as a amatuer.
Message: Posted by: Sammy J. (Sep 19, 2008 10:36AM)
On 2008-09-19 04:20, Dynamike wrote:
"Now You See It, Now You Don't" - Bill Tarr. I learned a lot from that book as a amatuer.

Ditto. The first magic book I ever owned.
Message: Posted by: mike greene (Oct 13, 2008 09:09AM)
For me, it has to be Greater Magic

I picked this book up when I was relatively new to magic, and being a naiive young performer I overlooked it as being a dusty old book full of boring card tricks.

However, I recently had another read through it and was overwhelmed by the amount of useable material in there, even for a large book. Just over the last few days, several items from this book have forced their way into the repertoire.

In case anyone is even mildly interested, these are :

The new vanishing glass (Percy Abbott)
'Tearing the pack trick'
Two card location, and Saliva sorcery (Paul Rosini)
Two cards and a coin
The floating match

Having been very pleasantly surprised by this book, I'm now going over all of my earliest books to try and gather some more gems from them. Another example that a book should never be judged by its cover.
Message: Posted by: magicbern (Oct 18, 2008 05:07PM)
For me my favorite magic book would also be Harry Lorayne's The Magic Book - I think I performed all the card tricks taught in the first three chapters (and still do some to this day!). I finally got round to buying Classic Collection 1 and 2 - and must say that the tricks and nuances are golden! Thanks Mr Lorayne for all your contributions to magic!
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Oct 18, 2008 07:17PM)
Thank YOU, Magicbern, and I applaud your excellent taste and judgment! HARRY LORAYNE.
Message: Posted by: rjthomp (Nov 30, 2008 11:40PM)
For me its Amateur Magician's Handbook by Hay. The first "real" magic book I ever got and still one of the best.

Message: Posted by: vpatanio (Dec 1, 2008 10:49AM)
Bobo's Modern Coin Magic and Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic. (I have a small, yet concentrated library and these 2 are my favorites....for now)

After reading this I see I need to look into Harry Lorayne's book.

Message: Posted by: wackyvorlon (Dec 2, 2008 10:16AM)
I think my favourite at the moment has to be either Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz or Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms. Strong Magic gave me a greater insight into the nature of belief, and the role of emotional belief vs logical belief.

I find the theory side very interesting, and I think it really speaks to certain fundamental aspects of human nature.
Message: Posted by: Erdnase27 (Dec 2, 2008 12:22PM)
My favorites at the moment:

- Darwin Ortiz: Strong Magic & Designing Miracles
- Ian Rowland: Full facts book on Cold Reading
- Brad Henderson: The Dance
- Herb Dewey books on Cold Reading(Red hot COld Reading, King of the cold Readers & Mindblowing Psychic Readings)
- 13 steps to mentalism by Corinda
- Practical Mental Magic by Anneman
- Anthony Jacquin - Reality is plastic
- Tarot for dummy's
- Psychology books

ive been studying these books over and over again. They really are my favorite togethet with Hauntiques and capricorninan Tales by Chrisian Chelman ;)
I cant stop reading them, I don't even need to buy another book haha
Message: Posted by: wackyvorlon (Dec 2, 2008 12:46PM)
What variety of psychology books are you reading?
Message: Posted by: Erdnase27 (Dec 2, 2008 12:50PM)
Ow theyre in dutch so I hope I translate them well

Social psychologie(multiple books)
Adolescent Psychology(multiple books)
Psychology by Marc Brysbaert
Development Psychology by Feldman
Liebermann and Carnegie books on influencing people.
I have zillions more but I read all of them(for my study).
Message: Posted by: Jimeh (Dec 2, 2008 01:23PM)
Close-Up Illusions (Gary Ouellet)
Message: Posted by: Colin Mandel (Dec 2, 2008 09:54PM)
My actual sleight of hand library consists of 386 book. I counted today!

Glue them altogether and you have my favourite book.

If, on the other hand, you are out of glue, one of my absolute favourites is Expert Card Technique by Jean Huggard & Frederick Braue. Anything by Harry Lorayne or Dai Vernon is an instant classic, and Card College is the ultimate reference.

But I have never bought a magic book I didn't like except for... and I'm going to be slaughtered for this... Mark Wilson's Complete Course In Magic. A lot of basic stuff, bad instructions, and the card chapters are almost completely useless to any true card magician.

Please don't kill me.

Message: Posted by: Colin Mandel (Dec 2, 2008 10:40PM)
Oh.. and you'd be mad to leave out Revolutionary Card Technique by Ed Marlo... Absolutely loved it.
Message: Posted by: Donal Chayce (Dec 3, 2008 01:57PM)
My "new" favorite magic book: "The Experience of Magic" by Eugene Burger.

I can't believe I've not gotten around to reading this book--written in 1989--until now. To say that it hasn't just changed my magic, it's changed my life as well, would not be an overstatement.
Message: Posted by: muse (Dec 3, 2008 02:42PM)
Lewis Jones' 'Seventh Heaven' for the wide range of great ideas about cards and all manner of other things / Harry Lorayne 'Classic Collection 1' for a mass of cracking card tricks and sleights / John Bannon 'Dear Mr Fantasy' for beautifully elegant card tricks, edited to something close to perfection / Jon Racherbaumer 'The Greater Magic of Eddie Fields' for a great flavour of the man's life and times, and tricks that show you that sleight of brain can be as powerful a tool as sleight of hand / 'The Card Magic of Nick Trost' for very clever tricks that you think are too simple mechanically to really impress people, and yet they get some of the best reactions.

Of all my books, I'd be happy to be stuck somewhere for a very long time with any one of them. So that's my one book. (That's cheating, isn't it?)
Message: Posted by: SplitSpades11 (Dec 9, 2008 07:11PM)
Harry Lorayne's Close-Up Card Magic, Stars Of Magic and Sankey Unleashed!