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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Cold reading resources (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

katarinag
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Looking for recommendations for your favourite books on cold reading and also any clues about where to purchase either paper or PDF copies?

I have some Richard Webster, and have been trying to find Bob Cassidy’s The Real Work of Cold Reading (finally found a pdf copy on Lybrary.com but nowhere else).

Any other resources would be much appreciated. Online book or video are all fine (I prefer books but I’ll take a good lesson in whatever form).
Mr. Woolery
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In what context do you plan to use the cold reading skills?

Will you be doing psychic readings with an oracle of some sort? If you use tarot or palmistry, you don't need any cold reading books. They will be useless to you, really. Learn your oracle. I really like both palmistry and tarot. For several reasons. Not least is that if people see a source for what you say they are not going to look for tricks in what you have to say. My votes are for Julian Moore's Speed Learning Palmistry and Paul Voodini's palm reading video. Webster's Cold Reading book is actually a very good primer on palm reading, not on throwing stock lines. (I was disappointed when I got it because I was expecting it to be how to deliver lines from nowhere. It turned out to be an excellent resource, however, and more useful than what I thought I wanted. But it took me a little while to realize that because I was expecting something else.)

Will you be trying to just do "pure psychic" readings, with no oracle visible? In that case, I suggest learning something like Webster's Psychometry A-Z. I'm a fan of Ron Martin's Ken System, which works on a similar concept, but requires learning a different oracle first. In both cases, they are based on Ken DeCoursey's Systematic Seer. The idea is that you can deliver approximately the same reading the next time you see this person, which means you also know what you said last time. Even if it is 5 years later. This is great stuff.

Do you want a resource on how to come up with "fits-all" lines? Ian Rowland's Full Facts book is not very expensive and you can find it on his site. He's also a very pleasant person to do business with. I don't think I've ever once heard a negative opinion of him and I do think he delivers among the most consistently high value for money in this business. For stock line approaches, Rowland is the go-to guy. If anyone does it better, I've never heard of them.

Now, my own suggestions:
Pick two systems for generating readings and learn them well. I would nudge you toward palm reading and numerology. You can read a palm as long as you have a person offering you a hand. You can apply numerology to anything. (My favorite numerology book is The Vitruvian Square by Scott Grossberg, but that's out of print and hard to get, so just look online for basics - you don't need layouts for my suggestion, only the meanings of the numbers.) Want to read playing cards? There are only 17 things to learn! You need the 10 digits, a basic meaning for each face card, and the meanings of the 4 suits. Put them together and you can tell fortunes with playing cards. Want to create a short reading in your head for any situation? Allow any three digits to come to you, apply them to the situation, and interpret the meanings. Roll a D10 if you like. Roll dice or draw dominoes and interpret the numbers. Put symbols on bones that will relate to the 9 or 10 digits (Grossberg does have a meaning for the 0, though most conventional numerology does not) and cast those on a cloth. Interpret by which ones are up, which down. Do a reading on someone's phone number, age, address, or number of buttons on their shirt. Seriously, it is very versatile.

Now, here's the part that I resisted for too long and I think many people out there resist. You have to go out and practice on real people. You have to dare to fail. Are you willing to look like a fool to a complete stranger? If not, no number of books or PDFs will help you learn this skill set.

If you are learning palmistry, you have to tell people you are learning palm reading and ask if you can look at their hands. You have to. Otherwise you will never be able to give a palm reading.

There is a very useful exercise you can do for learning how to give a tarot reading or other oracle that answers questions. Find some Dear Abby (or similar agony columns) and read the question. Don't read the answer yet. Do your spread, interpret it out loud (very important, because you will eventually be giving readings out loud), then compare your answers to those Abby gave. See how succinct hers are and compare to how verbose yours are. Listen to yourself speaking when you do this and eliminate the ums if you can.

But if you have another reason for learning cold reading, none of this may apply, so really, what do you want to use it for? In what setting or context?

-Patrick
j100taylor
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Great post Patrick! A great resource for cold reading is Sybil.
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IAIN
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As ever, there's a dual reality with the term cold reading...

It's used by some heree as doing a reading cold, to others they mean using stock lines...

Then there's what some actors use, and go to an audition 'cold' and read...

So, if you want to learn stock lines, my advice is...please don't...

If you want to learn to give readings, that are different and based on the rules of the oracle you are using, then pick one that fits your persona best...

Graphology is good if you want a psychological edge...

If you want traditional, then tarot and palmistry is the most common, then runes...

I can't recommend one cos I don't know who you are nor how you present yourself...

It's a muddy and murky world though. There's lots of threads about the morality of cold reading... Might be worth a read...
ddyment
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I publish a free online collection of useful cold reading resources that all are welcome to use.
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Mr. Woolery
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I’m sorry I forgot to mention your site, Doug! There’s great value there through your generosity.

Patrick
bevbevvybev
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'You can tell a lot about a person by what they're like' - Harry Hill
Matt Pulsar
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Just a note as I saw him last week. I hope you bought Richard Webster’s books on it and didn’t just find free ones online. We talked a lot about the changes in publishing over the years and it’s amazing how badly torrent sharing has hurt the lively hood of prolific authors and publishing companies.

I recommend you don’t study cold reading. Don’t learn stock lines. Learn to read tarot (or another oracle) and learn it from someone who is a master and read books. Learn to trust yourself and your intuition. it takes years to get great at it. It’s of high value. But if you try to fake it there’s not point.
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BillyAcre
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Why does everybody bag on stock lines and readings? Throwing them into a tarot reading here and there helps fill it out and gives you something to build out. Let's be frank, if you really get down to it it's all stock lines. Does anybody really say anything completely original?
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katarinag
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Thanks all, especially Patrick for the extremely detailed response and for the reminder about numerology - that's something I was heavily into in my 20s and have actually forgotten about! Time to dust off those old books.

To clarify, I'm not looking for stock lines (though I think @BillyAcre is right, having a few stock lines in your back pocket to flesh out a reading can be super helpful), but am looking to hone techniques in comfortably incorporating a "reading" (for lack of a better term) into various contexts.

In some cases, I do use astrology / tarot, and that works as its own system, but not every routine is a tarot routine. Sometimes, I'm just doing a simple mentalism effect with playing cards, and want to jazz up my patter by incorporating something personal about the participant who is helping me - but it's not something I have a lot of experience or comfort in doing.

For example, I'd rather say "you seem like a person whose emotions run deep, so I think you chose a heart, but you also strike me as a no-nonsense person who doesn't like to be overwhelmed with too many choices, so I think you might have gone for a simple, low number" instead of just saying "you chose the three of hearts." But that's not something I can just do off-the-cuff in any context and with any effect (or selected card).

So what I'm looking for is resources in helping me think creatively about how to build up my comfort and vocabulary when it comes to "reading people", and how to incorporate and practice these techniques effectively into my patter. I don't claim to have psychic powers, so it's more about being able to find a charming way to flatter or intrigue my participant "based on my careful observation of them", while I guess their card or whatever.
Smoking Camel
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Psychic directions by Jerome Finley and his random acts of kindness
I no longer smoke camel cigarettes.
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