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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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slyrich
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Yep olikv, compleetly agree with royal road - a great resource. even better, I have it on my kindle so can always dip into it no matter where I am!
Ikswonilak
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Lorayne's The Magic Book should be included as a must-read for beginner's. Despite what Mr. Lorayne says about his own work!

AK
Harry Lorayne
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The Magic Book is re-written, updated, etc., along with Star Quality and The Card Classics of Ken Krenzel, in my current TCC volume. You can learn a bit more about it if you go to the third link listed under this post. HL.
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RichMagish
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What an impressive list for beginners! Thanks, everybody. I have a lot of reading to do . . .
Bicycle Rider
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+1 on Mark Wilson's magic book. It wasn't my first book, and yet I can still learn so many things from it. I love the varieties it provides Smile and lots of lots of pictures make it very easy to follow. I only wish it provides some references for each trick.
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Rainboguy
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Bobo's Modern Coin Magic; Abbott's Encyclopedia of Rope Magic; Rice's Encyclopedia of Silk Magic; The Tarbell Course in Magic, and pretty much every book that Harry Lorayne put out.

I love Mark Wilson's book, too...but honestly, the list of books above will serve any magician for a lifetime of Magic.
Gerald
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Quote:
On 2011-02-15 19:38, Nesquik wrote:
As a beginner myself I would add The Ostrich Factor by Gerald Edmunson. It is not a how to technique book but explains how to practice and rehearse. For people who are new to magic this may prove to be helpful. You won't learn any tricks or moves but I found it to be very helpful and worth the small investment.

Nesquik,
Thank you for your comments about The Ostrich Factor. I appreciate your interest in the book. Reviews can be found here: http://www.geraldedmundson.com/tof1/TOFReviews.htm

Thanks again!
Gerald
CardStudent
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Here's yet another list, along with reasons why I recommend them. Some of these books have already been recommended, and some of them haven't. Except where noted, the books can either be purchased from your favorite magic dealer or through Amazon.

Magic: The Complete Course by Joshua Jay

An alternative here would be the Mark Wilson book, and indeed there has been much comparison. I would suggest that most of the material in the Wilson book is contained in the other books I am going to mention anyway, with the exception of the illusions, which you probably won't have the opportunity to perform very often anyway.

Joshua Jay's Amazing Book of Cards

There aren't many tricks in this book, but the few that are there are good. Plus, you will learn to do a number of interesting things with a deck of cards that will really add interest to your presentations of other effects.

The New Modern Coin Magic

I agree wholeheartedly with those who have recommended that the hardbound expanded edition be hunted down. The material in its extra chapters is more than worth the effort and small additional expense.

The Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks
The hardbound edition edited and complied by Gabe Fujuri combines the three previously written volumes into one easier-to-use tome which you will surely cherish for years.

Rice's Encyclopedia of Silk Magic Vols. 1-4

These huge books are available as a set of 4 .pdf files on one CD ROM which is worth its weight in gold.

The Complete Cups and Balls by Michael Ammar

Every magician should learn a good cups and balls routine even if you don't perform it. The things you will learn about timing, misdirection, and acting will serve you well in all of your magic. This book is available as a download from L&L Publishing's new ebooks site.

Switch by Jon Lovick

This is some more advanced material, but still well within the grasp of any dedicated student. Plus, it's all very strong. You'll be able to do almost anything with almost any bill after you've read this, both close up and on stage.
"Cards are the poetry of magic." J.N. Hofzinser
malamoney
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Can someone tell me about the single book The Original Tarbell Lessons In Magic?

How much of the original 8 volume set does it leave out?
CardStudent
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Quite a bit, actually. However, the 8 volume set was not original. The single volume book is actually a collection of the original sixty lessons. The material in those original sixty lessons, which were mailed to students on a weekly basis, is scattered throughout the volumes of the complete set. In fact, volume seven wasn't even written by Tarbell. It was written by Harry Lorayne, who frequents the Magic Café. If you are deciding between the two, then by all means, go for the complete set. Even though they are more expensive, you can get them one at a time and find deals on them if you pick them up used.

Once you have decided which genre of magic you like best, you might want to consider my previous recommendations as well. If you decide you like cards best, you should add Royal Road to Card Magic to my previous list. Once you have mastered that, if you're up for a challenge, the Expert at the Card Table is also a wonderful book. I would get the annotated version by Darwin Ortiz.

If menatlism sparks your interest, then all the previous recommendations for 13 Steps to Mentalism and Practical Mental Effects are spot on. Still, all that said, Tarbell remains a good place to start.
"Cards are the poetry of magic." J.N. Hofzinser
malamoney
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CardStudent,

I am actually not new to magic. It's just been many years since I really dedicated any time to it. But over the years I have put together a nice collection of books and dvds, knowing that I would one day find the time to return to my magical studies. I actually posted a message in the books forum asking for advice on the best order to start absorbing the books and dvds I currently own.


Here is a link to that post:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......m=110&10

And here is a list of the books and dvds:

Greater Magic
Strong Magic
Designing Miracles
The Magic of Michael Ammar
Approaching Magic
Power Plays
Maximum Entertainment
Magic and Showmanship
Expert Card Technique
The Amateur Magician's Handbook
The Stein and Day Handbook of Magic
The New Modern Coin Magic
Magical Mathematics
The Magic of Alan Wakeling
Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic
The Great Illusions of Magic
Encyclopedia of Suspensions and Levitations
The Seven Basic Principles of Illusion Design

The Art of Card Manipulation Set
Fantasio Live at the Magic Castle
The Magic and Manipulation of Geoffrey Buckingham
Levent's Ultimate Guide to the Billiard Balls
Shimada's Manipulation
Tim Wright's Multiplying Balls
McBride's World Class Manipulation set
Royal Road to Card Magic 5-DVD Set
Encyclopedia of Card Sleights Set
David Roth's Expert Coin Magic Made Easy
Encyclopedia of Coin Sleights Set
The Band Shark
Laflin Silks Set
Fiber Optics
and a couple others.

While I would love to get the Tarbell Course Set, it's hard to convince the wife to spend more money on magic stuff, when I have shelves of unread (and some unwrapped) books.
Harry Lorayne
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Quote:
On 2011-10-03 05:22, Merc Man wrote:
Without question, one book springs to mind for recommending to ANYONE interested in magic - but particularly the beginner.

Harry Lorayne's 'The Magic Book'.

This is the book that really fueled my enthusiasm for not only close up magic using everyday objects and sleight of hand, but also the book that drummed home just how important and enjoyable it is to READ magic books AND learn from written instruction. I can't remember the amount of times over the years when I've had enough up my sleeve to perform instant magic with odds & sods just lying around - including taking out my shoelace for the ring and string routine (more than once!) and writing numbers in wet sand on a beach in Tenerife!

The content far surpasses other titles I've read because the tricks are just so strong. Moreover, it will take you through a raft of the necessary sleights that you will need - and explains their technique better than anything I've read since. The reason it's so good is that the author (HL) works hard on conveying the written word so effectively; or to put it in my kind of talk - he grafts bloody hard...and I like that in a geezer. Smile

This was my Christmas present back in 1978 when Ken Brooke sold it to my Father for me (and we often only got one present in those days) AND to this day I use the material within. It's also a book that I often refer back to as it's such an enjoyable read. Moreover, although I've read it from cover to cover many times over the past 33 years, there's always something new to learn; such as a performance tip that you missed before.

It also got me interested in Coin Magic; the branch of the art that I adore most. How I'd love Harry to write a coin magic book - with the countless excellent effects in this book (not to mention the years of coin magic brilliance within Apocalypse) I'm sure it would be a winner (or what about 'The Magic Book Vol 2' Harry?) Smile

So there you go - my unreserved recommendation for the cream of the cream that makes learning and practice so enjoyable. To my mind (and placing the tricks aside for a moment) THESE attributes are the most important aspects that you will get from this masterpiece - obviously before moving on to more advanced texts. That said, with the wealth of material within this book, it's all that you really need not only to amuse friends BUT to actually go out and make a living/reputation from.


It's also re-written and updated in my lates THE CLASSIC COLLECTION. Check it out. HL.
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Andy Young
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As a beginner you don't get better then Harry Lorayne. By making you read how the effect is done rather than just telling what the effect is engages a beginner to really take a look at what goes into an effect. Just remember you will be extremely tired after you start reading Harry's books because you won't be able to put it down.
danhughes
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Two books by Mark Wilson are repeatedly recommended here:

Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic
Mark Wilson's Cyclopedia of Magic

The Complete Course is a huge 9x11 book, 472 pages.
The Cyclopedia is a tiny 4x5 book, but with a whopping 638 pages.

They are 95% identical, word for word.

The differences: The Cyclopedia lacks about 35 pages of minor material on cards and coins, and 9 pages on billiard balls.

That material has been replaced with 30 pages of "Make-At-Home" magic.

Other than that, they are the same book.

So if you have one, you essentially have both.
dader76
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There's a lot of repetition but I think that says a lot about what beginners should focus on from people who have walked the walk. I will give my praise to the Wilson Book, Harry Lorayne's (as well as Close Up Card Magic which is very accessible), the Bill Tarr books and even the more 'modern' Joshua Jay course. I will add that there is so much on youtube and the internet with some wonderful insights and performances such as 52kards (http://52kards.com/) and on youtube Decks & Contests. I personally have the Ammar videos, most of them, and still reference them a lot. I like Patrick Page's work on sponge balls and the shell and pea. I still find that I spread myself very thin, trying to learn too many things and not focusing enough on a few, but I guess that's why I'm still a beginner after all these years. One more spot I'd go to is, again Youtube, is Julian Mather, Julian's Magician School. He's got a free download of a book on going about this and his magic, while quite simple, is classic and compelling. I hope this helps.
Mercutio01
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Quote:
On 2013-03-06 23:33, danhughes wrote:
Two books by Mark Wilson are repeatedly recommended here:

Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic
Mark Wilson's Cyclopedia of Magic

The Complete Course is a huge 9x11 book, 472 pages.
The Cyclopedia is a tiny 4x5 book, but with a whopping 638 pages.

They are 95% identical, word for word.

The differences: The Cyclopedia lacks about 35 pages of minor material on cards and coins, and 9 pages on billiard balls.

That material has been replaced with 30 pages of "Make-At-Home" magic.

Other than that, they are the same book.

So if you have one, you essentially have both.
That's actually really helpful. I just came across a used copy of the latter (The Cyclopedia) that I picked up, but I wasn't entirely sure if it was the same. Amazon reviews weren't terribly helpful (they usually aren't for anything, really).
~Cameron Mount
Magic Pierre
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Amazon reviews weren't terribly helpful (they usually aren't for anything, really).
The problem with reviews is that they are usually very subjective. I have written a number of reviews for Amazon (my "handle" there is Critical I), and I try to make my reviews useful to people who might read them later, but the truth is that, if I write that a book is awful, that is just my opinion, although I'm usually right ;-). So if the reviews you are reading are no more than venting about a book being "bad", it is probably only going to be useful to you insofar as your taste is like the taste of the reviewer.
On the other hand, with magic books, there are real objective things that can be said for or against a book. Things like "The instructions are technically wrong. If you try to do what is described you are told to wave the wand with your right hand over cards that, one paragraph before, you were told to hold in your right hand". Or "the photographs in this book are muddy and only make the instructions more confusing", or, "The instructions leave out a critical step. It's just not there". These sorts of things would render a book seriously useless, and a reviewer would be doing a service by pointing them out to people before they buy the books.
On the other hand a criticism like "This book sucks! The reviewer is a pompous, self promoting blow-hard" is a relatively useless review, because it simply states the reviewer's personal opinion of the author which you might or might not agree with.
IMHO
Mercutio01
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My question was how comparable were Cyclopedia and Complete Course, as I had access to the former but not the latter, and wanted to know if I should pass by the Cyclopedia. I had essentially the same question recently with a Bob Longe book (Giant Book of Card Tricks) compared with some of his smaller books, and whether I should just pick up the smaller ones or if Giant contained the others within it. Amazon reviews were once again unhelpful, but elsewhere in the Magic Café I came across the information.

/end thread derail (or my part in it anyway)

The major complaint that people have over Cyclopedia (that it's hard to hold the pages open while trying to reproduce effects) is legitimate, but it hasn't been all that hard to work around it, yet.
~Cameron Mount
Roy the Illusionist
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I recommend Joshua Jay's "Magic," it contains pretty much every kind of magic and it comes with a DVD.
Are you watching closely?
peterdgr8
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While the Mark Wilson Course is certainly a great starter book there's one I've found that is also quite good if not better: Einhorn's "Practical Encyclopedia of Magic". In the past I'd found it in bargain bins but you may find dirt cheap copy on Ebay or places like that. The book is well written and offers some of the best effects for a total neophyte. From some the most basic to much more advanced in cards, coins, silks and beyond. Along the way you learn the classic sleights that will stay with you for a lifetime. Einhorn has also continued to publish other books which while I have not actually seen them are probably quite good and comprehensive.

From there it's your choice of where you may want to go. The book offers plenty of suggestions but if you want some guidance, like many others in this thread I would strongly recommend either the new classic Giobbi's utterly masterful Card College series for cards (Royal Road to Card Magic is also good but if you're going to go for it, I say go for it!) and of course Bobo's Modern Coin Magic if you like coins. What you'll learn here is the basis for nearly 98% of the effects you'll see everywhere else. You'll soon learn how many effects are often based on a previous effect by so-and-so, etc. Magicians are constantly trying to streamline and improve existing effects for greater effect.

The rest is up to you.

You might go check out Harry Lorayne's books which are great places to pore and learn for a lifetime. He's sort of like the Bergdorf Goodman of magic in that he's pretty much scanned everything that's out there and has collected for you only the best and the strongest in his terrific books. His writing style is like having a teacher or friend guiding you.

If you like the more offbeat, check out Paul Harris' three part tome, "The art of astonishment".

Beyond that, well every top guy with a reputation has a collection of effects published by someone. You just have decide whose effects you want to learn and go for it.

Have fun! There's a lifetime of learning.

P
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