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Terrible Wizard
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Aimed at beginning magicians, what would you include in it (assuming you had all the necessary permissions)?

What chapter headings would you have?
What tricks would be explained?
willtupper
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If I were to write a book aimed at beginning magicians, I wouldn't.

In my opinion, there's no need.

Instead, I would give a beginning magician a copy of the book, "A Book of Magic for Young Magicians: The Secrets of Alkazar," by the great Allan Kronzek.

A vastly underappreciated book, Mr. Kronzek couches each effect the book teaches in a concept necessary for performing good magic. Misdirection. Handling. Presentation. Patter.

Each chapter discusses a concept, then teaches a few effects that illustrate that concept. Kind of like "Royal Road to Card Magic," only much, much easier to read.

And also, shorter. I love that it's (IMHO) a "humble" book. It starts the student off small. The book only has 15 effects. But, by the end of it, the student/reader will know how (with ample examples included) how to routine, how to script. How to put together a performance for close-up, or parlor, or the stage.

It is a wonderful, wonderful book, and I've long thought that there would many more magicians in the world if, when starting out, THIS was the book they were given.

Rather than the archaic language of "Royal Road." Or the wonderful (perhaps wonderfully overwhelming?) Mark Wilson's Complete Course.

I am on my second copy. I read, then reread, and then reread again, my first, until it fell apart.

Can't recommend it enough.
WitchDocChris
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To more or less echo that - I can write a book for beginners right here:

Chapter 1 -
If you want to learn card magic, study Royal Road to Card Magic.
If you want to learn coin magic, study Bobo's Modern Coin Magic.
If you want to learn general magic, study Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic (But don't point at your hand when vanishing things)

Chapter 2 -
No, seriously, study one of those for like a year, and find some places where you can perform some of the tricks because we all know it's too fun to wait until you've practiced as much as you'll realize you have to later down the road.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Harry Lorayne
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According to new user willtupper there's no need for any other book but the one he recommends. Well, here's another opinion (by an "old user" - Merc Man) which may "work" better within this thread:

"Said it before but it's probably worth saying again.

In 1978 (aged 14) my Christmas present was THE MAGIC BOOK by Harry Lorayne. Maybe hard for teenagers these days to believe but back then, there were families who did not have a lot of money; and apart from a few sweets (candy) a book would potentially be your main present.

When I started reading Harry's The Magic Book, I felt as if I'd been transported to a parallel universe; whereby superb close-up magic, with every-day items, was indeed possible.

We are now nearly at Christmas again - almost 40 years later. As I type this post sat at my kitchen table, there are 2 books in front of me - may the Lord strike me dead on the spot if I'm lying. Harry's 'The Magic Book' and Quantum Leaps (I was cross referencing something last night). I'm looking at The Magic Book as I type. It's battered and bruised - having been regularly read. More than any other magic book that I own, there's bits of torn cigarette packets with notes written on, sticking out of it. The odd torn playing card with other references scribbled. And of course, the more recent post-it note.

The fact is this book has been my inspiration in magic for nearly 40 years. I have used literally everything within. Despite, like many of us in our adult lives, having wasted a lot of money over the years on the latest magic 'flim flam' it IS the material within this book that I return to time and time again. Because one thing I have learnt about how magic is perceived by an audience is that you earn the greatest respect by performing with borrowed, or 'normal' items. For example, there is hardly anything within the card section that cannot be performed with a beat-up, borrowed pack of cards. Nothing within the coin section that needs expensive gaffs (in order to produce a similar effect in the eyes of spectators). Where else can you get so much workable material with a piece of paper & a pencil? A handkerchief, table items, etc.

What's more, it taught me the most important elements of magical entertainment - presentation, routining and misdirection.

It also taught me a very, very important lesson. That it is the basic, clearly defined easy to follow plot that gets the best reaction.

Over the years, I've spent time and money learning different versions of 'The Colour Changing Deck'; or buying gaffs to get Aces to transpose, etc. I've spent money on further gaffs to get coins to go through a table; or pass from hand to hand. I've bought (and sold on) these gimmicks and flim-flam; along with countless others that achive matrix-style routines, etc. The reason being that all most gimmicks do is over-prove what you don't need to be over-proving anyway.

The classics of magic will live forever; because they have an easy to follow plot. When you use ungaffed or borrowed items and throw them into the mix, it's just so much more rewarding. Added to which 'less is more'. If you can go out with minimal props, you will generally work harder on your presentation - because you are building upon the basics - by actually using the basics. Does that make sense? I hope it does. In other words, you tend to put more energy into your performance. A prop isn't doing the work for you. I've worked with other magicians that rush at break-neck speed from prop to prop; akin to a magic dealer demo (only to then vanish to re-set their gimmicks). However, arrive at a table; borrow a few contrasting coins and a table napkin, and you are ready to entertain. And what I can genuinely say to guys (still reading my rambling here) is that people aren't stupid. If they can see you are working AND entertaining them with what are clearly not 'magic props' you will get one hell of a lot of respect.....and in many cases, you will stand out.

Harry (I believe) wrote this book for people who had an interest in starting out performing magic. It has the clearest of instruction; and covers so many useful principles of magic.

I would not only unreservedly recommend this book to people starting out; but also to any magician that wants to make a living as a professional, magical entertainer.

Indeed, it's title of 'THE Magic Book' could not be more deserving.

It is, in my honest opinion, the GREATEST book of magic ever produced.

Words cannot express my most sincere gratitude and thanks, to the Master himself.......Mr Harry Lorayne"

[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
Dick Oslund
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YUP!

Harry just saved me from typing a whole page, or two, or three!!!

I didn't have Harry's book, when I started. A friend loaned me his 5 volume set of Tarbell, and I "'memorized" that! Otherwise I probably would have asked Santa for Harry's book.

The important point is to keep in mind that PRESENTATION is as important, or even more important than the trick itself. (It aint WHAT ya do, it's HOW ya do it!)

I'm a BELIEVER in using GENERIC props, too. (I started out, before Tarbell, as a "box, tube, can, pan, and red velvet bag on a stick magician"! I very soon realized that that was not the right path for me! Cards, coins, silks, rope, etc. along with the knowledge of how to perform with them, have helped me to KEEP IT SIMPLE & MAKE IT FUN, A N D, make a good living all my life!

Thanks, Harry, for that marvelous post!


P.S. I like Will's and Chris's comments, ALSO!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Terrible Wizard
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Interesting. As much as I love The Magic Book (the best of the ones mentioned), and the others (RRTCM and MWCMC), I still think there's room for improvement and updating - especially since licence was given to include any and all effects available.

I have, of course, a few ideas of my own - but I'm interested to see what others post. I admit I wasn't expecting people to just post 'see book x'!
willtupper
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Thanks, Mr. Oslund (are you tired of reading that? Because I'm nowhere near tired of typing it Smile).

Mr. Lorayne, first and foremost: it's an honor to speak (type?) to you, here. You're a living legend, and a magician I deeply admire.

You can definitely pitch me in the pile of people who loved (and love, and will continue to love) THE MAGIC BOOK. However, I do sometimes suspect that your book, much like Mark Wilson's wonderful work, much like Tarbell's Complete Course, can leave a beginner feeling overwhelmed.

You go from wanting to learn magic to... there's suddenly SO MUCH TO LEARN. I'm pretty sure the term for it is "paralysis analysis." Having so much (a bounty of magical treasures) that you're unsure of where (or how) to start.

That's why I liked Mr. Kronzek's book so much. It's 121 pages. 10 concepts. 15 effects.

That's it.

If I were to advise a beginner (woe unto that beginner), I would enthusiastically recommend THE MAGIC BOOK as a wonderful SECOND book. After a simpler, easier-to-digest, and perhaps less overwhelming foundation had been laid.

I hope that makes sense. I certainly didn't mean any offense.
Terrible Wizard
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Although I can understand some thinking the Mark Wilson course somewhat overwhelming, I never got that impression from The Magic Book. It's a nice amount for the beginner, IMHO. Indeed, I would have more rather than less! Smile. But I'm greedy like that. Lol. Can you imagine a The Magic Book the length of Wilson's course!? That'd be awesome Smile

I have no hesitation in recommending any of the given books so far - but I still think there's room for more, and better. Onward and upward Smile. And if we're listing already existing good beginner books, I'd also recommend Joshua Jays Magic Course and Zenon's Street Magic books.
willtupper
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Between Tarbell, Mark Wilson's, and Mr. Lorayne's, I would definitely say THE MAGIC BOOK is the best "beginner-sized" of that bunch.

It does strike me as a bit big for a beginner, but perhaps that's just me.

I would definitely have preferred to have less FIRST, and then MORE.

I've no proof of it, but I've long speculated that one reasons magic is such a "niche" pursuit is that beginners start out with one of the larger texts, get overwhelmed fast, and then quit.

I've both enjoyed and benefitted from Joshua Jay's and Paul Zenon's books, as well.

Have you read, "A Book of Magic for Young Magicians: The Secrets of Alkazar" by Allen Kronzek? It's $7.95 on Amazon (you can even sample a bit of it on the site).

Like I've already said, I'd recommend it highly for any beginner.
Harry Lorayne
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Most all the people - all over the world - and over the decades - have not been "overwhelmed" by The Magic Book. Nor should they be "overwhelmed" by any book if studied piecemeal - from the beginning. Read Merc Man's long post above again - he was 14 years old and NOT overwhelmed. It is, of course, up to the writing, the teaching, and so on. So, yeah, it's "just you."
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

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Harry Lorayne
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Of course, another thought comes to mind --- if there's a choice between "underwhelming" and "overwhelming" - I'd much rather overwhelm!
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DaveGripenwaldt
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Hey, TW,

The thread sort of got away from your question, valid though the individual points may be. I'll assume there is a need for another book and throw in 2 cents.

As far as tricks taught, instead of listing some, let me just lay out what would be my guiding principles for their selection. First I'd give it variety. I assume it's a book for someone to get a taste of different types of magic so I'd go with a Mark Wilson, Joshua Jay approach and make the material cover cards, coins, mentalism, parlor, etc.

I'd also look into selecting effects based on what principle they could teach, like a trick that is a great example of misdirection, or using a gaff or audience management, etc...so you are not just "learning a trick" but learning generally applicable concepts.

If it were me, I'd include information on basics of theater, entertaining, plot, story/script writing, etc. The last thing we need is another magician doing play-by-play patter.

Finally I'd include tips on ways to practice as well as a "Next Steps" section that deals with where to go next if you discover a specific genre of magic floats your boat....the sort of thing this thread began to talk about..."If you like x, then look into x".

Just a few of the cuff thoughts...
Dick Oslund
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Whenever I have "adopted" a new magician "wannabee", the first thing that I say, is: "I cannot TEACH you anything. I can only help you learn!" ('cuz, learning is an ACTIVE "process".)

They start with Harry's "The Magic Book", the Wilson CCIM, or Volume I of the "Tarbell Course", whichever they prefer. They are often slightly overwhelmed by the "challenge". So, I use that old question: "How do you eat an elephant?" and the answer, of course is: "One bite at a time!" That, seems to help them realize that, "it can be done"! If they already have Tarbell, Wilson/Gibson, or Lorayne, that's where they begin.

Actually, my longterm goal is for them to read/study all three! The point is that,"When you are through learning, you're through! (I remember hearing the title of Allen Kronzek's book, but haven't seen it. I'll get an order off to Denny Haney,)

Right now, no one in our little group, is working his way through Harry's book. I'm quite sure though that there will be another learner, coming along, and, I will "sell" him on that. One good thing about this "system" is that they can discuss various authors and, how each treats a subject. I just "referee".

I keep getting letters from those who are now, doing shows, and, it's a joy to hear of their successes.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Terrible Wizard
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What I would have LOVED when I first started, as an alternative to Wilson (as book + DVD set):

1) Key Ideas: Practice, Don't Repeat, Don't Tell, Script, Perform
2) A Brief History of Magic, and its Varieties
3) Great Easy Tricks to Keep in Your Wallet: Dotty Spots; Age Prediction Cards; Safari Cards; Kolintrol; Crazy Compass

4) How to Practice and How to Review
5) At the Café/Bar: Napkin in their hand + 10 count + two in the hand; Cork Transfer; Bottle Cap Matrix; 3 Betchas
6) At the Café/Bar 2: Mini-Wand or Cig Vanishes + Up the Nose + Behind the Ear; 2 More Betchas

7) A Word about Performing for Family and Friends
8) Propless Stunts: Thumb through Ear; Multiplying by 11; Cube and Fifth Power Roots; The Invisible Dice Trick
9) Hanky Mischief: Stretching Hank; Dissolving Knot; Blowing Nose Gag; Fatima; Hypno-Hank; The Mouse; Pen through Hank

10) A Brief History of Cards, their Types, their many Uses, and Forms of Card Magic
11) Handling Cards: Grip; OHS; Hindu Shuffle; Spreading; Riffle Shuffle; Swing Cuts; Charlier Cut
12) Crucial Card Sleights: Jog OHS Control; Keeping top/bottom card false shuffles (OHS, Hindu, Riffle); False Cuts (Ose, to Table); Forces (Hindu, Cross Cut, Cut Deeper); Glimpses; Key Cards
13) Twenty-One Great Card Tricks: Lie Detector; Box Reveal; I Should Have Done it Myself; Circus Card Trick; 3.5 Clubs; Gemini Twins; Cowboys & Indians; Quickie Card Trick; Piano Card Trick; Jack the Bounty Hunter; Your No. Is?; Packet Lie Detector; Pre-Prefiguration; Overclock; Sloppy Triumph; Nervous Card; Think Stop; Invisible Card; Chinese Writing; Automatic Ace Triumph; Further Than That
15) With Just a Few Cards: Twisting the Aces; Dr.Daley's Last Trick; 3 Card Monte
16) Where to go for the Next Stage of Learning Card Magic

17) Mental Magic: Types, Terms, Principles and Brief History
18) 10 Mental Tricks: The Trick that Fooled Einstein; B'Wave; Free Will; Hoy's Book Test; Haunted Key; Swami Predictions; Headline Prediction; Clipline; Si Stebbins Card Reading; Becker's Matrix Lock
19) Going Beyond: How to Progress in Mental Magic and Mentalism

20) Clowning Around, Parlour Magic, & Tricks for Children: Some Theoretical Points
21) Some Classic Siliness: Look-No-See Letter Gag; Using a TT; Using a Change Bag; The Magic Colouring Book; Break Apart Wand; Using a Squeeker; Gag Bag; Invisible Ball to Paper Bag
22) A Simple Spongeballe Routine
23) A Simple Rope Routine
24) A Simple Chop Cup Routine

25) A Final Few Words About Performing, Scripting and Routining
Harry Lorayne
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I honestly think that if I included all that "stuff" my books wouldn't ever sell as well as they've sold over the many decades.
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Dick Oslund
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I certainly agree with you, Harry!

I repeat! Eat that elephant, ONE BITE AT A TIME! --Just as you and I have!

I fear that his 25 "items" would make up a VOLUME, weighing over TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Terrible Wizard
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I was thinking in terms of Wilson, but I reckon my contents a lot less Smile
Terrible Wizard
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Just did a few rough estimates - my book would be much shorter than Wilson. I'm guessing about a 100 or so A4 pages, and a DVD. Maybe a little bigger than Joshua Jay's book and DVD combo. Very difficult to guess.
willtupper
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100 or so A4 pages? So you're talking, what? Like, 2-point font?

(Ha ha).

I do like your outline a lot. However, to me it looks more like two, maybe even three books. But at least two.

I do hope you write it. I'd certainly like to read it.

The world can always use more magic.
Terrible Wizard
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Nah - a lot of the things I listed are really short and easy to explain. Just look at how little space similar items take up in Wilson or The Magic Book or Bill Tarr or Hay etc. Smile

It just looks a lot because I've listed everything individually one at a time. Imagine you did that with Wilson? Now how big would it look, lol.

I could never write it because I didn't invent those tricks.
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