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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » Why do magicians still love buying magic books? (33 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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sirbrad
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REAL magicians buy books, a lot of books. At least intelligent magicians do. They don;t look for shortcuts as shortcuts ultimately lead to shortcomings. I come from the old school of learning so I have literally thousands of books on magic and many other subjects. I love big, old, magic books and yes they are expensive. But you get so much more info in a book than a DVD, or single effect. They also only become more valuable as time goes on. I have collected magic books, DVDS and tricks for almost 40 years now. I love having a vast supply of knowledge and resources at my disposal as it always gives me something to look forward to, and finding all the hidden gems in books that most will never find because they are too lazy to read and look for quick answers online etc. For me books are special and offer a great journey, and is how I got my start in magic.

I love looking at walls of books and knowing that I can just pick one up and turn to any random page and study a trick or read them completely. I was brought up learning the hard way, and the correct way as there are no short cuts to true greatness. You also become more literate and intelligent overall through reading. I also love DVDS as it is great to watch sample presentations, timing of sleights and movies, patter, misdirection etc. So books and DVDS compliment each other well. Books just give you way more information for the price, and are far more valuable. I thought the Tarbell set was expensive back when I got my first set almost 40 years ago, but they paid for themselves after about 3-4 shows as a kid. You can also take a book with you almost anywhere you go and do not have to reply on batteries or electronics to view them, at least not in the day time.

So for me they have a strong appeal, but I also love DVDS as well and I feel both combines offer the best learning experience. I especially love "encyclopedia" type DVDS so I can look up moves that may not be totally clear in print. I always loved getting the biggest, most technically difficult books that I could find. I also especially love magic theory type books as well since I also post a lot of essays on that subject as well, and of course Magic Periodicals are one of my favorites if not my favorite overall. But I love them all, especially the big, old, OOP ones that are hard to find now.

I prefer a real book over an ebook also, but I will take an ebook if I have to and I do have all ebooks as back ups as well for ease of searching keywords etc. So really they are all important. But books is how I started long ago and still give the most bang for the buck. But I do love DVDS also, especially large sets, and encyclopedia ones as I said. I love all of the periodicals especially Apocalypse, Hugard's Magic Monthly, Pabular, The Phoenix, The Jinx, The Sphinx, Magic Menu, Best of Friends, Magical Arts Journal, Topps, Spell-binder, The Gen, Magic Wand and all the Magic Magazines etc. Hard to find many in book form but I got most of those and many more in book and ebook form. Also Genni, MUM, The Linking Ring, Magic Magazine etc. HUGE books, The Secret Ways of Al Baker, Greater Magic, The James File, Tarbell, Mind, Myth , Magick, Stanyon's Magic, and sets like Definitive Sankey. AOA, etc. So I know I will always stay busy for at least a few more lifetimes lol.

Funny also I said on here a few years ago that it would be nice to see a Tarbell DVD set, or videos of every trick. Most scoffed at the idea in my thread and said it would not be possible and take too long etc. Then it happened when Dan Harlan took on the project and turned out to be a great visual reference for the books. They are still making them and have many to go lol. I look forward to having them all also.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
sirbrad
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Also REAL magic is not just about "secrets" or "free secrets." It is a journey, and if done correctly proves to be very rewarding in the long run. Usually if information is accessed too easily and without much work it is not appreciated, and treated with less respect. Whereas us old school magicians had to earn out way the hard and long way through many hours, days. months, and years of reading. We also became better magicians for it, and do not expose what we learned because we respect the art and make a living doing magic. Kids these days get something for free and easy on the internet, so then they do the same thing because they were never taught the value of it, and why this should not be done. They are more concerned about getting attention because they are insecure and self-centered. For them magic is nothing more than a passing phase.

All of those kids who made exposure videos years ago are long gone and no longer post, and since they only focused on secrets their performances were lousy. Had they worked on the effect long enough to be able to do it proficiently they may have respected it more. But they were more concerned about exposing it and causing outrage and getting attention on themselves. But as I said luckily these types do not last long. They don't read books either, they just look for pirated videos. So all of the good stuff is safe anyway. Jeff McBride quoted Richard Hatch in his video on "Essential Magic Books", "If you want new ideas read old books, if you want old ideas read new books."
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
SvenSigma
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On Mar 12, 2017, sirbrad wrote:
Funny also I said on here a few years ago that it would be nice to see a Tarbell DVD set, or videos of every trick. Most scoffed at the idea in my thread and said it would not be possible and take too long etc. Then it happened when Dan Harlan took on the project and turned out to be a great visual reference for the books. They are still making them and have many to go lol. I look forward to having them all also.


Just waiting for the opportunity to start the subscription from lesson 1 because I started at 59. You get 1 through 8 at reasonable prices, but filling up 50 lessons at 20$ each is prohibitively expensive. In another thread Dan Harlan mentioned that this "subscribe from 1" is on the roadmap, but so far no date has been promised. Hopefully not, wenn the last lesson is "on air."
It takes a baby in the belly six months to learn how to put the thumb in the mouth.

The rest of life is essentially the same problem.

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SvenSigma
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On Mar 12, 2017, sirbrad wrote:
REAL magicians buy books, a lot of books. At least intelligent magicians do. They don;t look for shortcuts as shortcuts ultimately lead to shortcomings.


I imagine that shortly after magic books became popular magicians said "REAL magicians don't read books. They search and learn from a mentor and meticulously take their own notes. They don't look for shortcuts as shortcuts ultimately lead to shortcomings." And they would have been right as well. In comparison to that approach, magicians are spoon fed by books.

Which makes me wonder if reading books is more a matter of social distinction. It could also a sign that "old school" magicians are threatened by the disruption caused first by VHS video, then by DVD, now by online videos (streaming or download). I think in the past many magicians had a nice income not only from their shows but also from tutoring fees. Now some outstanding magicians (like Dan Harlan with his Tarbell course project) can live very well from that, while the others get nothing any more.

In the end it does not matter from which medium an information comes. Also the argument of information density of books does not count in my eyes. Any one who owns hundreds of magic books and states that he has read all of them and really retained substiantially more than one or two percent of the information is either a genius (rare) or not quite truthful to himself. Not different from people who watch hundreds of hours of magic lessons on video, if it comes to that.

Summing it up it could be that magicians buy magic books for the following reasons, not all of the valid for everybody:

1. Books are really a great (if not the best) medium for learning magic.
2. It makes them feel like REAL magicians. Which does not necessarily mean that they ARE real magicians.
3. They can look down upon people who do not prefer books as medium for learning magic. So even mediocre magicians can look down upon great magicians that have not learned from books but from videos.
4. They want others to use books as primary learning medium. Selfishly so, if they write books and do not also make videos. Not selfish, if they just believe 1. to be true.

and, a final bonus:

5. Magic is just an extremely conservative business. It is old. It is a stronghold of male brotherhood. Innovation outside of inventing new effects and methods questions this. New media are an innovation, therefore they threaten the old school guys. *Turning on irony.* Even women can download magic videos nowadays. In the old days no decent magic shopkeeper would heave let them into the store. Next you see women producing magic videos as well. Beware! *Turning off irony.*
It takes a baby in the belly six months to learn how to put the thumb in the mouth.

The rest of life is essentially the same problem.

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sirbrad
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On Mar 13, 2017, SevenSigma wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 12, 2017, sirbrad wrote:
REAL magicians buy books, a lot of books. At least intelligent magicians do. They don;t look for shortcuts as shortcuts ultimately lead to shortcomings.


I imagine that shortly after magic books became popular magicians said "REAL magicians don't read books. They search and learn from a mentor and meticulously take their own notes. They don't look for shortcuts as shortcuts ultimately lead to shortcomings." And they would have been right as well. In comparison to that approach, magicians are spoon fed by books.

Which makes me wonder if reading books is more a matter of social distinction. It could also a sign that "old school" magicians are threatened by the disruption caused first by VHS video, then by DVD, now by online videos (streaming or download). I think in the past many magicians had a nice income not only from their shows but also from tutoring fees. Now some outstanding magicians (like Dan Harlan with his Tarbell course project) can live very well from that, while the others get nothing any more.

In the end it does not matter from which medium an information comes. Also the argument of information density of books does not count in my eyes. Any one who owns hundreds of magic books and states that he has read all of them and really retained substiantially more than one or two percent of the information is either a genius (rare) or not quite truthful to himself. Not different from people who watch hundreds of hours of magic lessons on video, if it comes to that.

Summing it up it could be that magicians buy magic books for the following reasons, not all of the valid for everybody:

1. Books are really a great (if not the best) medium for learning magic.
2. It makes them feel like REAL magicians. Which does not necessarily mean that they ARE real magicians.
3. They can look down upon people who do not prefer books as medium for learning magic. So even mediocre magicians can look down upon great magicians that have not learned from books but from videos.
4. They want others to use books as primary learning medium. Selfishly so, if they write books and do not also make videos. Not selfish, if they just believe 1. to be true.

and, a final bonus:

5. Magic is just an extremely conservative business. It is old. It is a stronghold of male brotherhood. Innovation outside of inventing new effects and methods questions this. New media are an innovation, therefore they threaten the old school guys. *Turning on irony.* Even women can download magic videos nowadays. In the old days no decent magic shopkeeper would heave let them into the store. Next you see women producing magic videos as well. Beware! *Turning off irony.*


I never said DVDS were bad I stated I love them as well, and I am not threatened by videos as I said you just get so much more info from books. I have retained A LOT over reading books for 40 years now, especially since magic has been my profession for about 30 years. I doubt books were ever shunned upon as they have been around so long and reading is how most people have learned stuff for a very long time.

I don't agree with finding and needing mentors because in my area there were not mentors or other magicians, and till this day there are none in my local area. I did not meet any other magicians until many years later when I traveled, and usually I was the most experienced magician when I finally did. I travel about 60 miles to clubs once in awhile and none of them live near me there. As I said I love all forms of learning and I combine them, but books have a wider appeal to me for the reasons stated. However one can be a mentor through a book, and obviously a teacher. There is just no back and forth interaction. That is a great bonus but certainly not necessary. I wish their were other magicians when I first started, and even the closest magic shop was like 60 miles and still is.

But I learn from all types of media. I am not against video as some are, and I am old school but I use what works. I just find that books give more value and information for the price. Especially when you have the time to read a lot of them.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
sirbrad
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On Mar 13, 2017, SevenSigma wrote:
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On Mar 12, 2017, sirbrad wrote:
Funny also I said on here a few years ago that it would be nice to see a Tarbell DVD set, or videos of every trick. Most scoffed at the idea in my thread and said it would not be possible and take too long etc. Then it happened when Dan Harlan took on the project and turned out to be a great visual reference for the books. They are still making them and have many to go lol. I look forward to having them all also.


Just waiting for the opportunity to start the subscription from lesson 1 because I started at 59. You get 1 through 8 at reasonable prices, but filling up 50 lessons at 20$ each is prohibitively expensive. In another thread Dan Harlan mentioned that this "subscribe from 1" is on the roadmap, but so far no date has been promised. Hopefully not, wenn the last lesson is "on air."


Yeah I asked Dan why they went up in price as they were $4.99-$9.99 up until like Lesson 20 or something. So I got all of those and I wanted to buy them all at once for $9.99. I could buy them all anyway at $19.99 but would be quite awhile before I Was able to get through them all. So I will probably buy them in chunks of 5 or at the very least once a month would be perfect and work on each one per month. I would prefer them all on DVD so I do not have ti worry about storing them or being online.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
sirbrad
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Also I would not consider books being spoon fed by any means. It is a lot more work and far more time consuming to get through a lot of books than DVDS. Although I have been doing so for about 37 years now I have not even come close to reading all that I have. But I don't have to, nor do I need to retain all of the information. I pick and choose and I have everything that I like to do on file, and at one given time I only keep about maybe 10-20 effects in my repertoire that I change in and out. But the knowledge is all there and waiting for me when I am ready for it. I can pick and choose what I want when I want. I also do this with DVDS as well, or IDL's that I have. I utilize them all but books are still my favorite as far as how much info is available. But I still love the visual reference of videos.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
SvenSigma
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On Mar 13, 2017, sirbrad wrote:
Also I would not consider books being spoon fed by any means. ... But the knowledge is all there and waiting for me when I am ready for it.


This is what I meant with my remark on "when magic books became popular." Sure, nowadays nobody will understand books as spoon-feeding. Let's just assume that in 2077 you can get it uploaded directly into your brain, then nobody will understand today's discussions Smile
It takes a baby in the belly six months to learn how to put the thumb in the mouth.

The rest of life is essentially the same problem.

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SvenSigma
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On Mar 13, 2017, sirbrad wrote:
Yeah I asked Dan why they went up in price as they were $4.99-$9.99 up until like Lesson 20 or something. So I got all of those and I wanted to buy them all at once for $9.99. I could buy them all anyway at $19.99 but would be quite awhile before I Was able to get through them all. So I will probably buy them in chunks of 5 or at the very least once a month would be perfect and work on each one per month. I would prefer them all on DVD so I do not have ti worry about storing them or being online.


Especially since the card magic stuff in Tarbell may be good but there is so much material out there, including great DVDs, that the money for value of Tarbell card magic videos is less than for other topics. Just thinking of Card College and the stuff from Big Blind Media...
It takes a baby in the belly six months to learn how to put the thumb in the mouth.

The rest of life is essentially the same problem.

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sirbrad
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Yeah I already went through all the books countless times over almost 40 years but it is just cool to have them all on video and see someone else do the routines. I have a ton of repeat material with cards of course so don't really need to see it all again and again. But I love the encyclopedia nature of it.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
sirbrad
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On Mar 13, 2017, SevenSigma wrote:
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On Mar 13, 2017, sirbrad wrote:
Also I would not consider books being spoon fed by any means. ... But the knowledge is all there and waiting for me when I am ready for it.


This is what I meant with my remark on "when magic books became popular." Sure, nowadays nobody will understand books as spoon-feeding. Let's just assume that in 2077 you can get it uploaded directly into your brain, then nobody will understand today's discussions Smile


Yeah I can already see the advertisements, "Upload to your brain instantly!" Lol. Not to mention back the day all I ad was a black and white catalog with vague product descriptions, and line drawings. Then it took 6-8 weeks to get the stuff and you did not know if it was any good or not until you got it. That is why I love video reviews, and the invention of the VHS demo was awesome back then so I could actually see the tricks performed. No BS edited, bells and whistles, music crap like today just the raw trick. That is what I like. Just like a magic shop demo. Today everyone wants their stuff in two days, now that is what call spoon fed lol.

It is far more accessible today and also less appreciated. But old school guys like myself appreciate it a lot, as well as the old ways of learning still today. I am glad that I can still get those big, old books and much faster, and that there is a broad range places on the internet to find them. So for me I am still the same I am just saving a ton of time canceling out those 6-8 weeks waiting and wondering when my stuff is coming. It was always a journey and I never told anyone a thing as far as secrets as I earned them the hard and through hard labor as a teen lol.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
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On Mar 12, 2017, Rachmaninov wrote:
Oh what a pity you hold your deck with your right because you think your left hand has to de the work. I strongly disagree with that. As for the piano, the left hand is the leading and smart one, which sustains everything, giving the tempo, the atmosphere amongst other things.
Maybe it is not too late to change. Or you have reached high proficiency this way. When you are watching you performing, try to see if there is a feeling of dissonance between your hands movements and general body language.


Actually, playing the piano and playing lead guitar are totally different. I own a Yamaha Conservatory Grand and play it often. The fingering of the lead guitar fret-board takes far more strength and dexterity to play, pull off, hammer on, stretch 9 frets, etc than a piano keyboard.

Having said that, I have started to do right handed fans, as well as left handed. I am adding one handed cuts to the mix, cutting 2 decks at the same time. Not sure if I will ever move over to the "Dark Side"!

Here is a good one........I am 56 years old, have played music most of my life, and STILL cant read music!
Cordially Yours,

Jim Rose
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Lempereur, fortunately, reading music does not make the musician ! It just gives easier and faster access to learning scores. I'm a very bad reader too, I hate that, it is not a convenient system for me.
As for the guitar, I know nothing about this instrument but looking at others playing it. I can see the efforts of the left hand indeed, especially stretching.
Fingers strength and dexterity in piano are very demanding too. In both hands. I'm playing a lot Rachmaninov and Scriabin pieces, so marvelous but difficult to play. Both of them had very big hands and you easily reach your physical limit. Even with the 10 inches spread I have.
I have a kg2 Kawai grand and I can remember hesitating between this one and the Yamaha conservatory. The later has a better sound but the former has a super good reputation regarding durability and solidity.
Lempereur
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On Mar 13, 2017, Rachmaninov wrote:
Lempereur, fortunately, reading music does not make the musician ! It just gives easier and faster access to learning scores. I'm a very bad reader too, I hate that, it is not a convenient system for me.
As for the guitar, I know nothing about this instrument but looking at others playing it. I can see the efforts of the left hand indeed, especially stretching.
Fingers strength and dexterity in piano are very demanding too. In both hands. I'm playing a lot Rachmaninov and Scriabin pieces, so marvelous but difficult to play. Both of them had very big hands and you easily reach your physical limit. Even with the 10 inches spread I have.
I have a kg2 Kawai grand and I can remember hesitating between this one and the Yamaha conservatory. The later has a better sound but the former has a super good reputation regarding durability and solidity.


I don't play the piano as good as the guitar, but enough to write songs. I forgot to mention the Yamaha Piano is also a Disklavier player piano.
Absolutely wonderful when you just want to listen to someone else play! Its also great at Christmas playing the Charlie Brown Christmas songs!
Cordially Yours,

Jim Rose
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Rachmaninov:

Here is a good icon that reflects my delima! Smile
Cordially Yours,

Jim Rose
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Oh nice, I remember when I was a croupier, there was a grand piano who has this feature, it was awesome, and the keys where playing by themselves, it was not only the sound heard.
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On Mar 15, 2017, Rachmaninov wrote:
Oh nice, I remember when I was a croupier, there was a grand piano who has this feature, it was awesome, and the keys where playing by themselves, it was not only the sound heard.


Another fun thing I love about it is to load up may favorite Mozart or Beethoven, set behind the keyboard and just watch how they played the piece! Most of it is astounding. Now I now spend most of my free time watching slow motion DVD closeups of Ackerman, Ortiz, Daryl and Harry's hands! (And reading the corresponding books when ever possible).

It sucks about Daryl. He was one of my top favorites.
Cordially Yours,

Jim Rose
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Oh no ! The info didn't reach Europe. Your sentence drove me to make a net research. What a sad news. His warm and nice smile is a big lost for our community.
sirbrad
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On Mar 16, 2017, Rachmaninov wrote:
Oh no ! The info didn't reach Europe. Your sentence drove me to make a net research. What a sad news. His warm and nice smile is a big lost for our community.


Check this thread out I posted more recently and some tributes from others. http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......&start=0
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Lempereur
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On Mar 16, 2017, Rachmaninov wrote:
Oh no ! The info didn't reach Europe. Your sentence drove me to make a net research. What a sad news. His warm and nice smile is a big lost for our community.


Daryl was truly one of the best magic teachers. The act this his Encyclopedia of Card magic Series STILL sells at it's original list price, almost 30 years later.

He made you feel good about card magic, and gave you that great smile from the opening to the closing.....
Cordially Yours,

Jim Rose
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