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Topic: Cold Reading
Message: Posted by: chrispa1 (Aug 15, 2004 01:52AM)
What is the best Cold Reading Book?
Message: Posted by: bluefred (Aug 15, 2004 03:27AM)
That's a good question? I don't know which is the "best" but I have some favorites like king of the cold reders by bascon jones ,the full fact book of cold reading by ian rowland , the dance by brad henderson and some articles from the oort magazine by philemon vanderbeck these are some of mi personal favorites but I think that all the books in CR have something to offer a diferent tool for a diferent work.just mi oppinion.
Message: Posted by: procyonrising (Aug 15, 2004 03:54AM)
If you're just starting out, try Lee Earle's Classic Reading. I made thousands with it.

Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Aug 15, 2004 03:58AM)
The Dance by Brad Henderson is an excellent book. Get this alongside the Full Facts Book by Ian Rowland and you would want for little more.
Message: Posted by: Mystery (Aug 15, 2004 04:03AM)
I hear so many great things about Brad's book.
Didn't buy it yet, though. I've read Herb Dewey, Nelson, Webster, Rowland, Waters and Cassidy.
If I were sure that there still is much to learn, I would probably go for it...
Ah, perhaps one day...
Message: Posted by: Steve Martin (Aug 15, 2004 05:36AM)
Chrispa1, is that question phrased so as to get the answer out of me, so that you can pretend you already knew it?
Message: Posted by: Bambaladam (Aug 15, 2004 06:02AM)
Message: Posted by: chrispa1 (Aug 15, 2004 10:06AM)
Lol I am not psychic, so I know nothing. Thanks everyone and procyonrising I will check out Classic Reading. Does anyone know where I can get this?
Message: Posted by: Matt Andrews (Aug 15, 2004 10:31AM)
As a beginner in the field of mentalism (reading Corinda, Anneman and watching Osterlind and Banachek), which book or video would you recommend to learn cold reading ? I was considering getting Ian Rowland's book, but it might be just too much for a beginner.

The "best" book on cold readings is not necessary a book for beginners.

I also heard a good review on Blair Robertson DVD (Master Mystifier here on the café), which is more on numerology.

So any advice will be extremely appreciated.

Message: Posted by: chrispa1 (Aug 15, 2004 11:00AM)
Matt I guess I am in the same boat as you, I have Theater of the mind, and 13 steps to mentalism along with Banachek's PSI and Osterlind's DVD's all VOl 1.

What is the next step?

Message: Posted by: Bambaladam (Aug 15, 2004 11:31AM)
Get the DVD Matt Andrews mentioned. It is the best beginner's source I have ever seen.

Message: Posted by: chrispa1 (Aug 15, 2004 12:06PM)
Thanks Bamba
Message: Posted by: Laughing Otter (Aug 15, 2004 12:31PM)
Chrispa1, most of my cold reading texts are very old. My favorites are from Robert Nelson and Hester & Hudson.
For a fun way to pick up some practical applications, read a few Sherlock Holmes titles. Seriously.
If you want to study the topic in depth, I would strongly recommend Jung's "Man and His Symbols". This will help you translate what you cold read into what is relevant to your audience and what they want to hear.
Message: Posted by: Bambaladam (Aug 15, 2004 01:17PM)
I think Laughing Otter's suggestions are good as well.

It is important to find a way to stay awake and really LISTEN. This isn't easy to do with contempt for the sitter (Rowland) or canned scripts.

Brad's book is also excellent.

Message: Posted by: Seth speaks (Aug 17, 2004 07:06PM)
The Dance is really excellent. Brad goes into some good techniques, but I found it most invaluable for his philosophy on readings, and his expert view on the psychological aspects. Highly recommended.

Don't be put off by people who bash Rowland's book either. Full Facts is easily the most encyclopedic resource around, and it is excellent. Ian lays out all the minute details of the reading framework. (Yes, he writes with doses of humor and skepticism, but when people start claiming that ramshackle pamphlets like "Quick and Effective Cold Reading" are better books on the art, you just KNOW it's about personal grudges!)

Go to books and other resources for information. Your attitudes and feelings are your own responsibility.

Message: Posted by: John Nesbit (Aug 17, 2004 11:07PM)
Why don't you ask some of the authors of cold reading books what they think of Quick and Effective Cold Readings. Richard Webster hardly does anything even close to "ramshackle".

And really, no "grudge" on my part.


Message: Posted by: Seth speaks (Aug 18, 2004 12:01AM)
Okay, I'm up to the challenge. Does Brad Henderson count as a cold reading author? He has said that Ian Rowland is a great guy, and that Full Facts is a great book which complements his own. He's said Ian's is on the "craft" of CR while The Dance is on the "art". I agree. And of course, quotes from many other pros in the field such as Derren Brown, Banachek and others, can be found [url=http://www.ianrowland.com/ItemsToBuy/ColdReading/ColdReadingReaderComments.html]Here![/url]

And, okay, perhaps "ramshackle" was a hard word. It isn't trash, but c'mon, give both books to a neutral person (who hasn't heard of Ian or Richard) and you really think he'll say that "Full Facts" blows and "Quick & Effective" rules? I'm not trying to pick a fight, but <giggle> I honestly can't fathom that.

I love all of Richard's shut-eye books you can buy at the bookstore. They're comprehensive, detailed and reasonably priced. By comparison, I felt Q&E was vastly inferior. (And I realize I may be the only one to feel that way, as surprising as that is.)

And in all honesty, I should say that Q&E is the only one of Richard's cold-reading books for the fraternity that I've seen, so obviously I can't say anything about the others.

I know Richard's something of a sacred cow, but I'm not knocking Richard. I am knocking ONE book that he wrote a long time ago, and that is my opinion.

Peace back at you! :)

Message: Posted by: John Nesbit (Aug 18, 2004 12:12AM)
Hi Seth, Ian's book is awesome and so is The Dance. If you didn't like Richard's Quick and Easy... that's all right. Cold Reading is kind of a reactive topic. It affects people differently. To have it done, and like on here, talking about it.

Years ago, I once owned Red Hot Cold Reading, and got nothing out of it. I'm looking at the whole concept differently now. Lee Earle's The Gentle Art Of Cold Reading is a wonderful approach and study of the practice. He has blazed new trails in this field and then some. I do recommend his work, a lot of heart and soul there.

So styles will vary and so will preferences. I hope one day to read your book on this, Seth. After reading your posts, it is easy to see you you do have Spark! ;-)

Thanks for the Posts.


Message: Posted by: Seth speaks (Aug 18, 2004 12:36AM)
Hey John,

Thanks! What a nice post. Man, now I feel bad about knocking Quick & Effective. I promise I'll take another look at it. I do know CR books can affect one differently after some time has passed.

And I think you're right. CR is one of the most divisive topics in this forum; I should be a bit more careful what I say! I'll have to check out "The Gentle Art of Cold Reading". Does this update "The Classic Reading" quite a bit?

Take care,

Message: Posted by: John Nesbit (Aug 18, 2004 01:54AM)
Thanks Seth,

This has been a very "enlightening" experience here for the "both" of us. I just received some "inspiring" messages from "some special" people due to our posts to each other.

Yes, Lee Earle has updated his previous work. It is beautiful! I tried it out at a Resort/Spa where I work earlier tonight, with several ladies. And the results were beyond what I could have expected. "I felt like a kid hitting a grand slam home run in the big leagues, in my first at bat" ! LOL

Thanks for "your" message Seth, and keep smiling, especially when doing "Cold Readings"! :)

All The Best,

Message: Posted by: David Numen (Aug 18, 2004 03:20AM)
Ian's book will teach you how to be a "fake" psychic. Decide yourself whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. It's certainly not the same as learning to be a "psychic" - and whether or not you believe in "psychic" abilities is not the point.

If you are doing readings to help people (and even if you only do readings in an entertainment setting you should be looking to help your client) then having the mindset of "I'm a fake and I can pull the wool over your eyes" as Ian seems to recommend is simply wrong. Learn to do it "for real" and your mindset will be totally different.

The Dance is excellent although you need something else to go along with it. Brad recommends Ian's book so who am I to argue. I would say Bob Cassidy has a book 1000 times better.

Cold Reading has evolved over the years. Learn a "proper" system and use the latest in Cold Reading techniques to enhance your reading rather than letting Cold Reading be the basis of it.


Message: Posted by: Bambaladam (Aug 18, 2004 03:38AM)
I would disagree entirely.

Ian's book will never make you a reader. I don't think anyone would need more than Q&E to become a reader. More might help, but Ian's book is only useful way down the road, and only in an encyclopedic sense.

It is also unhelpful in the contempt it teaches.

Message: Posted by: David Numen (Aug 18, 2004 04:35AM)
Bamba - another Rowland non-fan - wonderful!

The question you must ask yourself is why you want to do readings.

If your answer is that you want to be a smart-alec schmuck who can do Cold Reading, then Ian's is the book for you.

If you are TRULY interested in helping people and being regarded as a warm, gifted person to know, then check out Kenton's work, sprinkle in The Dance and learn a proper divination system.


Message: Posted by: carpenter (Aug 18, 2004 07:18AM)
I believe I may have something to add to this discussion. since I have been in the business of doing readings for many years.
I believe I have studied it inside and out, backwards, forwards and sideways.

I believe especially at the beginning that EVERYTHING should be studied on the subject if you are going to do readings in a serious way. If however you just want to learn it for short entertainment type readings you may not have to be so thorough.

I do think the Rowland book is useful, although I certainly agree with Bambaladam that you cannot possibly learn to be a reader from it without studying other stuff. It is certainly a comprehensive and well-written book with a lot of practical and useful information. However it could have done without the ridiculous chapter about baiting psychics.

I also would have preferred it if the author had more experience in the subject he was writing about although I do know that this is not an absolute essential for an author if he knows his research.

The main deficiency of the book is that it tells how it is done, not how to do it. Nobody could possibly become a reader from studying this book alone. The proof is that Ian for all his knowledge is not a reader himself and never has been. I say this with all due respect to his lucid descriptions and obvious writing ability.

To say that "Quick and Effective Reading" by Richard Webster is "ramshackle" is heresy, and I respectfully say that it does show a lack of experience for someone to post such a denunciation.

This book is an absolute classic and after reading it you will know how to read palms very quickly. When you have finished it you will actually be able to do readings. You won't get this from the Rowland book.

Although I have stated that you should study everything, actually all you need is Richard Webster. You could actually ignore everything else ever written and concentrate on Richard's books (for the trade) alone and that is all you will ever need.

There is a major omission in his works that have always puzzled me. He has written very little about the Tarot. I would recommend Joe Riding's little book about this even though I seem to remember that Bambaladam didn't like it. He (or is it she?) seems to have a strong shut-eye element to her opinions and there is nothing wrong with that either.

The key element in a reading is compassion. That is what is missing in the Rowland book.
Message: Posted by: David Numen (Aug 18, 2004 08:03AM)
Welcome aboard, Carpenter, very insightful comments.

I've been in the readings business a fair while myself ao know where you are coming from.

You are spot on about the missing element from the Rowland book. Joe Riding is a VERY well-known close-up magician in the UK (by well-known I mean he is known within the magic community), and his Cold Reading stuff is usually excellent grounding.

There's actually lots of bad advice on not knowing your subject matter in the Rowland book and he is waaaay off the mark here. Far too many people are knowledgeable about tarot and the like these days for you to get away with pure bluffery. There are ways to cover up a lack of knowledge with a very simple claim, but Rowland does not disclose this in his book. It is in Wonder Readings, however.


Message: Posted by: Bambaladam (Aug 18, 2004 08:07AM)
[quote]There's actually lots of bad advice on not knowing your subject matter in the Rowland book and he is waaaay off the mark here. Far too many people are knowledgable about tarot and the like these days for you to get away with pure bluffery.[/quote]

That's the problem I have with Riding.

Message: Posted by: David Numen (Aug 18, 2004 08:28AM)
On 2004-08-18 09:07, Bambaladam wrote:
[quote]There's actually lots of bad advice on not knowing your subject matter in the Rowland book and he is waaaay off the mark here. Far too many people are knowledgeable about tarot and the like these days for you to get away with pure bluffery.[/quote]

That's the problem I have with Riding.


But if you use his system you have an excellent hook to hang the information from legit tarot books. And many of his meanings are fairly standard stuff in the tarot anyway - plus, as I always say to clients, if you buy six different books on the tarot you'll get six different interpretations for each card.

I think anyone doing CR needs to think on their feet, and if you learn the Joe Riding system and are capable of thinking on your feet then you have a good grounding in tarot.
Having different interpretations for the cards is slightly different from some of the BS Rowland comes out with in his book.


Message: Posted by: Bambaladam (Aug 18, 2004 09:09AM)
Yeah, I guess I just don't like it. I am certain people can use it with success.

Message: Posted by: mysticz (Aug 18, 2004 09:32AM)
I have commented on this subject many times on this forum, and I guess I'll do it again. My experience in the craft of psychic readings comes from over two decades of successful professional application in the areas of psi parties and corporate functions.

In my opinion, much of what is available on this subject on the magic/mentalism market is pretty useless to anyone with the desire really to develop the skills needed to perform successfully credible psychic readings. A few of the exceptions would include Richard Webster's collected works, Ron Martin's Tarot Reader's and Palm Reader's Notebooks, Ford Kross' Out of the Deep Freeze, and Brad Henderson's the Dance. These are works from real world readers who actually provide useful insights.

In my opinion, some of the worst material would include dreck like Completely Cold which purports to offer a linguistic shortcut to convincing readings. There are no shortcuts to learning much of what you need to know to excel in this craft.

The true secret to credible, successful readings is a sincere life-long interest in understanding people and their situations in life, a thorough study of sociology and psychology, an overall familiarity of occult lore and specific methodologies involving divination, and a desire to put the well being of your clients first. And it doesn't hurt to be well based in the performance arts and the concept of showmanship.

But most of all, you should actually like people and sincerely care about them.

Joe Z.
Message: Posted by: Ian Rowland (Aug 19, 2004 04:58PM)
Thank you, Bamba and Mysticz, for your loving comments.

To answer the question, there is no 'best' book on cold reading. Likewise, there is a 'best' car to choose to drive, no 'best' rock band to listen to and no 'best' card trick. It all depends on you, your performing persona, what you want to learn and to achieve, and which kinds of sources you like and respond to.

One point that can never be stressed enough is that many mentalists find applications for cold reading which have nothing to do with actually giving readings as such. CR is often used as a grace note, an embellishment to a routine which has other mechanics at its heart.

For example, at a gig last week I was doing a routine which involved divining the star sign of someone that a spectator was merely thinking of. Now, cold reading wasn't how I got the star sign right. Credit for that goes to Larry Becker and a little something called a Versadex. But I also began to DESCRIBE the person the spectator was thinking of, and she agreed that everything I told her was accurate. That part of it was pure CR. Put the two bits together, and you have a nice routine.

Which brings me back to YOU and what YOU want to achieve.

Brad Henderson's book is adored by many, and I'm a fan of both the book and its author (a very nice guy). Richard Webster has written more about cold reading and the various divination systems than anyone else I know; he is obviously very practised and knowledgeable and he explains things in a very clear manner.

Lee Earle's tape on The Classic Reading is one I learned from countless years ago when I was beginning to learn this strange and beautiful art. Some people like my book and have found it useful, and some don't and haven't. This may say something about the book itself, or it may say something about the people making the comments. Who knows?

The fact is, learning about cold reading is like learning about anything else. It is going to take time, and you are probably going to consult several sources (each with something to contribute) before you really develop the working knowledge that you want.

As always, there is no substitute for actually doing it, and 10 minutes actually putting cold reading into practice is worth 10 hours of reading ABOUT how to put it into practice.

I don't know if you're London-ish based, but if you are and you want to meet up informally to learn more, I'm happy to help if I can. I'm contactable via my website.
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Aug 19, 2004 05:53PM)
On 2004-08-15 04:27, bluefred wrote:
...I have some favorites like ... some articles from the oort magazine by philemon vanderbeck [/quote]

This might be a good time to mention that "The Supplemental OORT (a compilation of the second and third years' worth of newsletters) is now available.

Your favorite magic supply store can order it from Magic City wholesalers, or you can buy it directly from me at http://philemon.vanderbeck.home.comcast.net/store.htm
Message: Posted by: Seth speaks (Aug 19, 2004 06:57PM)
I have great respect for Richard Webster, primarily through his shut-eye books. I've been doing readings professionally for almost two years, which is less than a tenth of mystics experience, so I obviously have much to learn.

I guess if I had used "Quick and Effective" to start my education on readings, I would have a different viewpoint and wouldn't have been as shocked as I was a few months ago when I finally bought it. But I started with info on the web, then began actually doing it, and bought Ian's "Full Facts" early on, gradually expanding my CR educational resources as I practiced.

I was reading Q&ECR again last night, wracking my brain for the answer to "what IS it about this booklet that makes people go so bonkers over it," and admittedly I CAN see how someone could take Q&E and go out and immediately do some readings. He briefly describes the major lines and mounts of the hand and gives a few dozen clever CR phrases that can go with them. It justs seems to me a bit superficial and simplistic, rather like paying $50 for a collection of excerpts from a good $10 book.

On the other hand, I find his public palm-reading books to be a fabulous treasure trove of CR lines and phrases, not to mention *vastly* more informative about palm reading. But I do understand that the simplicity of Q&ECR is probably what people like about it.

I agree with Ian that there is no "best" book on CR. His post carried his trademark even-handed respect shown by too few others in these forums. I will say again that "ramshackle" was perhaps the wrong term to use in describing Q&E, but I maintain my personal view that it is a fair, but unspectacular, teaching text for cold reading.

I think FF is better. (I also maintain my view that respect and empathy for a sitter come from within you, not from what you perceive an author's opinion to be; trashing the wealth of knowledge that FF offers simply because Ian doesn't believe in psychics is silly.)

In summation, may I say that carpenter, above, was exactly right in calling my assertion "heresy." The second definition of heresy in my Webster's Collegiate is: "dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion or practice." However, I think the FIRST definition fits better: "adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma."

I usually find the heretics to be more interesting and informative. Thanks for the compliment.

Message: Posted by: Bambaladam (Aug 20, 2004 03:29AM)

I feel my comments were neither loving nor spiteful. I was discussing the merits of different books for people who wish to get started in giving readings.

If someone wants to add some pzazz to a mental effect a stock reading would definitely suffice. Why spend money on your book when stock readings are available virtually for free in the horoscope sections in almost every newspaper in the world? Just remember a new one every night and you have added the pzazz you wanted! This is why I think your book is ultimately not a wonderful product, except in the encyclopedic sense I mentioned above. I feel like it examines a lot (not all) of the parts of a "machine", describing the pieces various shapes and sizes, but does little to explain what the "machine" does or how it works.

I am actually making an effort to be fair. I don't think your book is particularly useful to someone just starting out, but I do not think it is entirely useless to everyone, even though I do think there is a lot of material one should procure first, and even though I disagree with a lot of the sentiments you express in the book.

I'm sorry if you can't accept that.

If you would like to discuss this, or something else with me I suggest you PM me and we continue this in private.

All the best,
Message: Posted by: Ian Rowland (Aug 20, 2004 03:35PM)
Hi Bamba,

I had no intention of implying that you were being spiteful. Apology #1 if it came across that way.

I accept that you weren't.

I know you disagree with me on some things, and I most definitely 100% do not have any problem accepting this. Apology #2 if it sounded as if I _did_ have a problem with it.

I have a very healthy regard for people who disagree with me. After all, maybe you are right and I'm wrong, in which case perhaps I can learn a thing or two from you. It wouldn't be the first time.

As for the 'pzazz' thing, I think I know what you mean, but I was definitely not referring to relying on a 'stock' spiel which, as you rightly point out, can be obtained from anywhere. When I told the spectator about the person she was thinking of, there was nothing 'stock' about it. It was very specific (or so it seemed to her).

Sorry, don't do the PM thing here on the Café, but I can always be contacted via my site.