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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Recommended books for beginners (67 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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bigdw1
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Royal Road to Card Magic and Erdnase book are the top of my list in that order.
KN_Magic
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Books I found most useful were:

Mark Wilson's cyclopedia.
Karl Fulves Self Working Range.
Bobo for coins and Anneman for mentalisms will provide enough ideas for YEARS!

Also, not really a very beginner's book, but for someone who wants to be stretched, try Henning Nelm's magic and showmanship. Some of the theory and how to BE a magician is great. Still re-reading it.

Kevin.
My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - it gives a lovely light!
Edna St. Vincent Millay
mouliu
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I searched here before I bought any book. My choice was Mark Wilson's The Complete Course of Magic , Karl Fulve's on eveyday's objects, and Practical Mental Magic.

For several weeks, I'm busy with the first one and too busy to read the other two. In fact the book was separated into 2 parts very soon because of frequent reading. Very clear, steps by steps illustration, a must for beginner.

I learn tricks from Mark Wilson's book, but I find it more importantly, I learn showmanship and the philosophy of magic from Henry Hay's Amateur Magician's Handbook. IMHO, I find the latter is even more important: it's easy to learn trick, but it's difficult to perform well. Henry Hay's book helps a lot.

If you're serious into this form of art, I'd advice reading Amateur Magician's Handbook (at least the parts about showmanship and philosophy) BEFORE going out and showing your tricks.

And I forgot mentioning the first magic book I read, "The Art of Magic and the Sleight of Hand". Large step by step photos as if a kid's book. You just can't get lost! A little of history, a little of sleight, a lot of tricks, excellent layout.
A novice't reflection: I like watching my audience's jaws drop, but sadly in reality I'm just too busy to enjoy it. Smile
ruaturtle
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An old, worn-out copy of "The Amateur Magician's Handbook" by Henry Hay was what started it all for me...
I have found that I do not suffer from insanity... instead I rather enjoy it! : )

Poodle... the other white meat.
smartie_28
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Mark wilson's cyclopedia of magic was one of the first books that I got and it has tons of information.
Euangelion
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A personal favorite of mine is The Magic of Michael Ammar because it contians some essays on magic theory and Michael has some deveolped routines in it.

Another great book for entirely different reasons and one that should still be important to beginners is Miboure Christophers The Illustrated History of Magic.

For those performing primarily with kids and families any of Karrel Fox's books are excellent.

For wanting to venture into mentalism Anneman is a must.
Bill Esborn

"Lutefisk: the piece of cod that passes all understanding."
maiglesias
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I would have to vote for the Mark Wilson Encyclopedia.
Marcos Iglesias MD
milamber
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Being a relative beginner myself, I would recommend the following:

For Coin Magic:
The book "Bobo's Modern Coin Magic" & the DVD "The Complete Introduction to Coin Magic DVD" by Michael Ammar. I started with Bobo's book and personally struggled with it (being that English is not my first language), and Ammar's DVD is really helping me clear some things up (I just received it).


For Card Magic:
The book "Royal Road to Card Magic", or if you have the funds I recommend the books "Card College vol. 1 & 2" for starters. While you're working through these books you may find it helpful to get video references. The ones that helped me the most were Gerry Griffin's "Complete Card Magic" DVDs, in particular volumes 6 & 7. Also found Ellusionist's "Crash Course 2" to be very helpful once you've acquired some basic knowledge of card sleights...

I have also recently invested in three of Michael Ammar's "Easy to Master Card Miracles" in order to learn more effects, based on recommendations I've read on these forums.


I also recommend that any beginner (who's a wee bit serious) acquire "Strong Magic" by Darwin Ortiz; and/or "The Magic of Ascanio" (this one I just purchased and have only briefly perused it, but if it's anything like Strong Magic I would highly recommend it), to learn proper presentation skills.

Steve
Gerald
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Great listings! I think it is worth repeating again and again: you can not go wrong with THE AMATEUR MAGICIAN’S HANDBOOK by Henry Hay. IMO, if you buy only three or four books, this should be one of them.

Gerald
MagicJared
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For sleights I'd say Bill Tarr's Now you see it now you don't books.

Abbotts rope magic is a nice source also, and cheap. actually any of the dover series of books is good for getting started.
maiglesias
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I just started reading Jim Steinmeyer's book on Chung Ling Soo: WOW!! It is very well written, interesting and a boon to all magicians, but especially recommended for the beginner as it will give him or her an appreciation of the history and art of magic. Hiding the Elephant, Mr. Steinmeyer's previous book, is also highly recommended.
Marcos Iglesias MD
KSMagic2007
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If no one has mentioned, it MAGIC AND SHOWMANSHIP, amazing book.
Kyle
Foucault
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First, my very short list of the books I would currently consider most helpful for someone who wants a start in magic, but doesn't know exactly what branch of magic is for them:

In order:

1. Magic for Dummies - David Pogue
2. Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic

I think we all have a soft spot for the book that started us on the road to all things magical - that's certainly what I see reflected in many of the posts above. I can't remember the first magic book I read, but I now have quite an extensive magic library, and the list above is based on reading many of the books and revising my thinking.

Now, I still consider myself a beginner. I've had an interest in magic since I was a child, but I've had several "false starts" over the years. This is one reason I have many books. Most recently, I've decided that I really want to commit the time to mastering the art, and I've begun reading yet again.

Up until very recently, I would have recommended Mark Wilson's book as the first book to get for beginners, but I feel it has some insufficiencies; most notably to do with misdirection, showmanship, patter, routining and practicing.

"Magic for Dummies" was quite a revelation to me. Some of the tricks may seem "lame" to many magicians, but this isn't the point. One thing that I loved about the book, is that the first part is all about getting over stagefright and learning to entertain, rather than "just do tricks." Therefore, the early effects taught in the book are (by the author's own admission) not exactly magician-foolers.

There is way more in this book than the tricks themselves. There is a ton of advice about how to put together your patter, routining, what to do and say when things go wrong, etc. There are very little tricky moves used; the emphasis is on the entertainment aspect. Yet many of the tricks themselves are contributed by magicians with a huge amount of real-world experience; people like Jeff McBride, Greg Wilson, Johnny Thomson, Daryl, and so on. There are some strong effects here, many streamlined for the beginner.

Some tricks are introduced purely to illustrate a particular point. For example, The Pencil and Quarter Double Vanish (contributed by Tony Spina of Tannen's) is a perfect example of how one can use misdirection, a point that's not often mentioned in the numerous books it appears in. All the effects feature little icons designed to point out various aspects of the trick, such as points where you can pre-empt problems with spectators, for example.

There is also a liberal sprinkling of very useful mini-essays ("Truths of Magic") in the book, and those alone are worth the price of the book.

Magic for Dummies is one of the few magic books aimed at beginners that explains about things other than the tricks themselves, and it does that very well. It's just a shame that the title, and the fact that on the surface some of the tricks may look a little simple may put some people off.

Once you've read Magic for Dummies, I would definitely recommend the Mark Wilson book next. It introduces a huge number of the basic building blocks used in many different fields of magic.

I also recently read Henry Hay's "Amateur Magician's Handbook". There is a great deal of information in this book, but compared with some more modern books, it's a bit of a tough read. Again, it's a good overview of different types of magic, and there's a lot of time devoted to presentation, etc., but it's not an easy task to learn a trick out of the book. The photos were a good idea, and a great improvement on the methods used in older books, but compared to a wonderfully illustrated book like Wilson's, it's lacking.

Phew, that was a long first post, but I was inspired!
Dan Ezell
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It appears the same books are mentioned over and over, which should provide confirmation of their greatest to those who are starting out. I would like to add another plug for Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic. In my opinion it is the best book for the beginner. For the beginner it will provide the kind of information you can immediately use. I recently decided I would flip through it to remind myself of the contents and I was surprised at the many, many tricks I regularly perform. Even if you are a veteran magician, I urge you to pick it up again for a quick browse.
Dan
Dr. Dan The Magic Man
MagicDove.com
As a univesity professor in special education I advocate the use magic to increase self-esteem of children with disabilities. Also, many magic tricks can easily be tied to academic lessons. More importanly, magic can be used to create friendships with children with and without disabilities. Smile
peterdgr8
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The posts here have some top notch recommendations which I agree with. But yesterday while I wandering around in a Border's Book store in Mt. Kisco, New York I came across a book they were trying to get rid of (judging by the $5.99 price) that may be one of the best introductory books on magic I've ever seen: The Practical Encyclopedia of Magic by Nicholas Einhorn published 2002, 2003 and 2004 by Hermes House. What's great about this is the clarity of the most basic of sleights that will be useful for years and give you the tools you need for any other book written (I've found that beyond these basics) most books describe the method performed by the author) and the wonderful photographs to guide you into the right fingerings. There are tons of great 'self-working' card tricks as well as slightly more involved ones utilizing some of the more 'advanced' sleights. Plus a good sampling of effects involving coins, cups, balls, rope and everyday objects.

I'd never seen this book before. And quite by happenstance I came across it. And reading this thread I heartily recommend it to anyone at any age interested in starting out in magic. Very very strongly recommended along with many of the others here.
sayer
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Royal road to card magic is my most favourite. Highly recommnded!!!
ChristianR
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I'd have to agree with some of you on Magic for Dummies, what makes it such a great book is the small gems and things other then effects. The 10 magicians worth knowing, magician contact info, magic store list, presentation tips, and more is what makes this such a good book
Tarbell!
NCR
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Magic for dummies is great, along with royal road, mark wilsons complete course in magic, and maybe modern coin magic.
kirkmax
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Sorry if this is a repeat question but what is the best video to go with BOBO?
Foucault
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I'm really finding Michael Ammar's Complete Introduction to Coin Magic to be useful. There's a lot of useful stuff, not just on the sleights and tricks, but some useful theory and advice as well.
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