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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » How to Study Magic Books for Beginners (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Dr. JK
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Sandusky, OH
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When you're just getting started, everyone has recommendations for books, and you begin your magic library collection. After just a short period of time, you have lifetimes worth of magic on the shelf. Historical greats have poured their lives into the written word, and for most of us, the books just sit there gathering dust. I created this video to share my thoughts on "How to Study Magic Books," which I hope means more of these ideas will go from a static state of ink and paper to a dynamic state of sharing, performing, and entertaining. As a new performer, I think you need this information sooner rather than later to get the most from your magical education. Of course, if you're a more seasoned magician, I want to hear your tips, too, so be sure to add your comments to the feed. There should a lot of good info on how to get the most from your magic books! Can't wait for you to see this video! Smile

https://youtu.be/SSzuAhxzliw
- Jeff Kowalk, The Psychic CPA
www.youtube.com/eruditemagic
IG: @erudite.magic
FB: @eruditemagic
Harry Lorayne
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New York City
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I can only speak for myself, but I doubt if lessons on how to study my "for beginners" book, THE MAGIC BOOK, are necessary at all. Or necessary for any of my other books. As I said, can only speak for myself and mine.
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
Noweli
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East London, SA
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As a begginer I'd really like to try everything
thanx for sharing
EndersGame
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Reviewer EndersGame
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Quote:
On Aug 2, 2020, Harry Lorayne wrote:
I can only speak for myself, but I doubt if lessons on how to study my "for beginners" book, THE MAGIC BOOK, are necessary at all. Or necessary for any of my other books. As I said, can only speak for myself and mine.

What did you think of the video, Harry?

I know you're a huge proponent of studying magic books and reading "the good stuff". So I figured that of all people, someone like you would be totally behind the ideas suggested in this video.

Of course your books don't need lessons for how to read them. But there are good and bad ways to use books. There is some excellent advice here about how to get the best mileage out of good magic books like yours.
Harry Lorayne
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I didn't particularly respond because there are good points/suggestions therein but some that I'd rather were not applied to my books. I prefer my books read from the beginning, etc. I really can only repeat - to each his own. Most I assume read and work with a book in a way that works best for them.
I'm not saying others shouldn't suggest - as I said, the top post offers some good suggestions. I just would not go into any sort of detail in advising how to read any of my books - except pay attention and from the beginning.
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
allabtkrish
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Good thread to post my first comment. Thank you Harry, I'll get your books
EndersGame
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For something a bit more up-to-date, I'd highly recommend that anyone who is serious about learning card magic begin with Roberto Giobbi's Card College books. It is a modern gold standard text that is easily the best book on the market. And for a good start with card magic, you don't need all five volumes, because if you just master volumes 1 & 2, you will be an accomplished card magician.

There's also a companion video set that is well worthwhile: Card College 1 & 2: The Complete Course. You can get the first 30 minute lesson as a free download (Lesson 1: Fundamental Techniques). See here for a review of the whole course. It's head-and-shoulders above most youtube video tutorials you'll find anywhere. Don't consider it an expense, but an investment!
funsway
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old things in new ways - new things in old ways
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Some very good and useful material here, captivatingly presented. Keep up the work.

But (always that) - opinions based on writing magic books and getting people to learn magic by a variety of modalities.

Methinks you assume a universal scaffolding of education, vocabulary and learning abilities on the part of the student,
and that all books are equal in clarity and organization of describing sleights, effects and theory.

There are a lot of "turn offs" in books, especially for those who did not learn the value of books before age seven.

Harry is correct in that his books are "inclusive," consistent in presentation, and a good balance of photos and text.
By inclusive I mean limited references to other books you must buy are read to understand the current one - a big turn off for me.
But, Harry is a bit wrong in that his books assume readers who were brought up reading and appreciating books -
and capable of putting a book down on lap and using imagination to roll-play the effect in mind. Many younger age cohorts have limited ability to do this.

There is also confusion over those who want to learn "tricks" and those who want to learn "magic." Take you cookbook analogy for example.
Most folks only look up a specific recipe to replicate some memory or to sue some collection of left-overs. (tricks)
But if the objective is to learn how to prepare a "dining experience" with all of the concepts of color balance, ambience, conviviality and disguised nutrition involved,
then reading entire cookbooks can help with no specific objective, and those with some cultural side notes even better. (the why of it)

Yet, while I would certainly recommend reading the entire Tarbell set from cover to cover, I recognize the danger of so many effects being dated or for audience setting not extent today
and vocabulary distractions. A 'beginner' might form a bias against certain types of effects before understanding the reasons why those effects worked back then and can still work today with modifications.
A hidden value is grasping why a certain move or sleight was used when there were other options. There is a tendency today (opinion) for a magician to just swap in some favorite sleight and abandon
the years of development of the original effect by the creator/author. Back to a desire to learn magic vs. tricks.

You make an excellent point on setting up an isolated environment to learn effects for books or other modality. Crating an environment where magic might happen,
(or the learning of such) requires restricting distractions of focus. What should also be stressed is the eventual need to replicate that environment for observers.
The attitude of "no cell phones or YouTube" during learning should apply to performance setting also - tough to control but the attitude should be there.

Here is a big advantage to learning from books. The essential inclusive environment can condition the beginner to late envelope the audience in the same environmental bubble

I guess my point is that getting benefits from reading magic books is conditional on the learned desire of the student to want to learn from books,
the abilities to "suspend disbelief" as to setting, prop or vocabulary, and the ability to extend written description into mental imagery. Thus, any suggestions
of "best books" has to be mediated to student - a very difficult task.

This is why the Mark Wilson book or one of Harry's can be a best introduction. In Wilson, each effect is shown in photos from two perspectives - one that of the performer, the other the audience.
This learning for the beginner in asking "what does the audience see, what don't I want them to see" can be more valuable that any specific effect.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
EndersGame
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Quote:
On Sep 2, 2020, funsway wrote:
But, Harry is a bit wrong in that ....

Good post. But wait, did you actually say that Harry Lorayne is a bit wrong? Smile
Harry Lorayne
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Ha!
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
jojoleb
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As an beginner to intermediate at this, I enjoyed the post. It was also a great way to find your YouTube channel. The major take away for me was to use a journal to keep things organized and so you can remember what you did on a particular day, what you liked, and didn't like. I also liked the idea of using a folded sheet of paper to write down specific notes pertaining to the book.

FYI, I've been using the ad cards and old cards as bookmarks for my magic books. This is by no means a new idea, but somehow appropriate, especially for card magic books.

I do see why Mr. Lorayne isn't keen on having instructions regarding how to read his magic books. As a relative newbie, I only recently 'found' Harry Lorayne's magic books. I do not have an extensive library yet, but I have to say that Harry's instructions are so crystal clear that his books are the first I've read where I never have to puzzle over an effect or a sleight. I can just grab my cards and work along with him. Additionally, there is something quite intuitive about his organization. Related effects and sleights are grouped, pictures highlight key positions, and the books progress in a logical fashion such that it makes the most sense if you read and practice a Lorayne book serially. No strategy needed. Sadly, this is not the case with many magic books--even classic books--which require a lot more work on the part of the reader to parse out what is going on. Especially if you are new at this.

(This is my very first post here, so be kind...)
kShepher
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Washington, DC
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Welcome to Magic.

Harry Loryane books were absolutely the most helpful to me when I got back into card magic after 40 years. Harry does not assume you know the sleights mentioned, he teaches them during the trick explanation. That is invaluable for those starting out.


Eventually you will gain experience and those books you don't like now wil become pure joy.

One step at a time.

Kevin
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