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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » HN Review 81: Making Contact -Satori (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Harvey Nerzof
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HN Review 81: Making Contact -Satori

AD:
Contact Mindreading, sometimes called ‘Muscle Reading’ can be, when correctly executed, the closest thing to ‘real’ mindreading you can get. This little book has what looks like the ‘real’ work on this fascinating subject. Years ago I played with Contact Mindreading and had some small success with it. A wonderful and powerful demonstration when it works. Satori appears to have given up all the information anyone would need to insure that success is near 100%. Solid book with needed info on this obscure subject.

REVIEW:
A 68-page softbound publication from H&R Magic Books, which could have taken a couple of paragraphs. From this point of view, the book sadly reminds me of Mark Strivings’ “Miracles from the Hip”: an age-old concept excruciatingly expanded and repeated over and over and over until it borders the unbearable.

It would be tempting to label the book as “useless”: however, its pseudo-scientific feel, the care shown in the publication and the fact that absolutely nothing is exposed in terms of magical methods, gimmicks or psychological subtleties (apart from the single Hellstromism technique obviously) allows you to leave it on your coffee table and start a specific conversation.

Overall rating: Back of the room item

H.
Mark Strivings
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Harvey, I'm just curious. How many paid, professional shows do you do a year?

In lieu of that, how many amateur, full length shows do you do a year?

In lieu of that, how much performing do you do for real people, meaning people who are not your friends or relatives?

I'm just curious.

Mark
Mark Strivings is the owner of the largest all-mentalism mail order supply business in the world, "Mental Connections", carrying materials not available anywhere else. For complete info, drop Mark a line at MarkyApril@aol.com
Nir Dahan
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Mark,

it doesn't matter how many shows he does, his reviews are the only ones I count on - and so do many others.
there is an unproportional amount of biased reviews here in the Café - everything is good, especially if it as published by one of the big names.
I prefer reviews that are more on the negative side, than the over-hyped reviews that you find here usually.

and btw if you look at his posts, he was trying to be fair in his reviews and gave a few good ones that were justified.

Nir.

p.s. I don't even know Mr. Nerzof - just for the record.
Adam
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Nir,

I completely agree with your sentiments. Too many 'creators' out there oil each other's machines with the aim of squeezing as much money as possible out of consumers. Now we even have some of these guys stooping to the level of personal challenges vs. anyone who does not think uncritically about the material. Mr. Strivings implies that somehow HN must perform professionally, or as an amateur in a full length show, or to anyone who isn't a friend/family member. This is ridiculous: Strivings and his buddies release material publicly. They do not only take money from people who perform as per the 'requirements' above. They were happy to let HN purchase the item and should be receptive to HN's verdicts as he is a legitimate consumer.
nimrod
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I completely agree too. Mark, as long as you sell your products to the average consumer you must be ready to recieve his criticism. if it was an item for the pros only your criticism would be valid, but this isn't the case. most of the consumers aren't real life performers and lets face it: without them all magic-mentalism sells would be decreased in 90%. in hebrew there is a saying that maybe sounds good in other languages too: "don't spit to the well you are drinking from !"

Nimrod , Israel
Bill Cushman
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Mark,

I'm on your side here. Harvey's reviews seem grossly uninformed and lacking in useful and/or accurate information. The frequency with which he gives negative reviews of books and products that are lauded by the pros, as well as many "consumers," amazes me, as does his defensiveness when called on his hostile statements. His working in an insult to Mark's excellent "From The Hip," is a prime example of Harvey's need to attack what he doesn't understand.

Sure, there are many of you who rely on Harvey's reviews but there are just as many, or more, of us who read them primarily for amusement. It has been said more than once that it is the mark of success when Harvey trashes your product, kind of like getting spoofed on SNL.

Harvey, please refrain from your usual defensive comments as they will only serve to prove my point. I have no intention of responding as I only wanted to more clearly address what Mark was being so tactful about.

Bill
Adam
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Quick summary: Those who disagree with HN's reviews attack him personally rather than explain why they disagree.

A product review that is only positive is of no use to consumers, believe it or not. If one wants to read an overly positive review, one only has to consult the ad for the product (in the magicworld, as you know well, these ads err on the side of hyperbole). If someone feels so strongly about the usefulness of a product, a simple "I agree with the ad" would suffice. Going on about how wonderful something is the REAL WORLD and how DIABOLICAL the product is doesn't help discerning consumers, especially on the internet, where anyone can write anything (a creator can even write a review of his/her own product under an pseudonym). So stop being so childish and let those with a critical eye have their critical voice. Perhaps HN has been defensive about his reviews - why shouldn't he; he does them for no material rewards and helps others. Its the silly defensiveness of magic creators who can't deal emotionally with critiques of their products. Bullying will work, as many a schoolchild knows, so I'm sure that this cycle will continue. But what a shame, for everyone involved.
nimrod
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Adam,

you need to understand the politics here in the Café. its all about politics here. I've been talking to some of the pros (and I won't mention names but I mean PROS) and they told me they don't believe 99% of what is being said here (reviews). people like HN try to change it, and eventhough I don't agree with all of his reviews (and I don't have to!) I know one thing for sure: he really speaks what he thinks. this is more than I can say about many members here at the Café (Bill and Mark, this words aren't aim at you, I'm generally speaking).

Nimrod , Isral
tboehnlein
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Harvey never posted a reply which is his choice, but in regards to Mark's post I want to know the reviewers credentials or performing background before placing any importance on the review. Their background is important to me so I can see the review from their standpoint rather it be a hobbyist or full time performer, rather they are a technician or one who prefers cruise control magic.
Bill Cushman
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Re: " So stop being so childish and let those with a critical eye have their critical voice." I'm rubber and you're glue; whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you. If this is the level of discourse you'd prefer to have, I'm sure you can be accomodated.

Re the second clause in the above quote: "let those with a critical eye have their critical voice." Let's think about that for a moment; are you suggesting that only includes Harvey and those who agree with him? My criticism of Harvey's reviews is every bit as valid as anything he, or anyone for that matter, has to say.

I've never read Satori; I was PO'd by the gratuitous insertion of an insult to Mark Striving's work. How you can support this as appropriate in the review of Making Contact, I can't begin to understand. Even if Harvey were correct about From The Hip (and I don't believe he is even close. Do a search on Harvey's original review of From The Hip if you want specifics) how would this help anyone, especially those who had never read Mark's book?

My take, and what led to one of my now rare posts, was that many months later, Harvey still felt the need to get another dig in about FTH, perhaps due to the criticism of his review of FTH, so he squeezed it into the review of Making Contact. Not quite kosher, if I'm allowed to have a critical opinion.

Nimrod, you are absoultely correct about pros (whoops, I mean PROS) not believing 99% of what is posted on the Café. Hence the great migration a while back of many of said PROS to the far more collegial, honest and productive atmosphere of TRI (originally, the Nailwriter). I do thank you for pointing out that at least I'm saying what I think.

Tboehnlein makes a good point; wanting to the know the credentials and background of a reviewer is a valid request. Not only did Harvey choose not to respond to Mark's request for such information, but I don't recall him ever responding to prior similar requests. If I'm wrong, or I missed such a response, I apologize to Harvey here and now. If I'm right, hmmm....
cheesewrestler
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H&R is a respected outfit, and Satori is a very successful exponent of contact mindreading. These are matters of fact, not opinion.
Based on those facts, I'm gonna need more than Harvey's unsupported assertion that this book is of no practical use. Perhaps if he'd provided even one single example of an important point the book omits or misrepresents ...
The second paragraph of the Review section doesn't seem to make sense: it's tempting to say the book's useless, however due to various factors you can "leave it on your coffee table and start a specific [?] conversation." Huh?
Based on this review I won't be trusting any future comments from this source.
truthteller
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Only have time for a quick comment.

I have read and studied many if not most all of the texts available for the teaching of advanced mind reading techniques such as contact mind reading. I feel the Satori book is the best teaching text for that technique which has ever been written, probably for the same reasons our initially reviewer didn't care for it.

To read the book, I can see how he would find it repetitive; however if he used the book as a learning tool he would see how carefully crafted it was.

Contact mind reading is difficult to do and even harder to learn. Satori has created a simple step by step process that takes the student from square one to advanced techniques. Now, if someone is merely "reading" the book I can see how it would seem to be repetitive, however there are small nuances in each section which when communicated to the student help them learn at a more efficient pace. To have thrown all of these ideas out at first I think would have created a "lock up" of the student and they would have too much to focus on, and in contact mind reading, that is a prescription for failure.


I think Harvey's background and intention in regard to the book is at issue. If he is a hobbiest just looking to collect information this book is probably not right for him. However, if one's intention is to "learn" these techniques and use them (in a professional or amateur context) then I think this book will serve you well as a teaching text.

But let's face it. Ultimately the concept of muscle reading CAN be explained in two paragraphs, but having read those two paragraphs are you equipped to go out and find an object lost in a room successfully?

That is the intent behind Satori's text and in that he succeeds.

For those wishing to learn I recommend first the Satori text and then Banachek's Psychophysiological Readings. It is a great follow up to Satori and takes the techniques taught into more conceptual realms. However, remember, muscle reading is basically what the title implies. Don't expect a treatise where all is revealed to be a turn key operation, but a system to help you learn this amazing tool which can produce miracles.
Harvey Nerzof
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Nir, Nimrod, Adam: thank you for your sincere comments.

Mark: I shouldn’t have mentioned your PW book again, sorry (but honestly, I thought about you several times while reading Making Contact…)

Bill: you wrote “Harvey's reviews seem grossly uninformed”. Having spent the last 20 years purchasing magical items, your comment seems totally out of place. Please be specific - if you need clarifications or justifications on ANY of the reviewed products, feel free to ask.

Tboehnlein: you're right, the validity of a review certainly depends on the knowledge of the author, and his capacity of honestly comparing the reviewed items with similar products. His performance venues seem irrelevant, though…
One question you should always ask to a reviewer is: are you selling something?

Cheesewrestler: I do not care if Richard Hatch and his buddy are nice fellows, if H&R is a respectable outfit, if Satori is a successful exponent of CMR and if his wife cooks mouth-watering strudels. I am reviewing a specific book.

Truthteller: allow me to expand on what I previously wrote.
In Making Contact, Satori did not add ONE single idea to the existing muscle reading books (published half a century ago). I previously studied Fitzkee’s Contact Mind Reading Expanded, Nelson’s Hellstromism and Schwartz’s Practical Contact Mind Reading - hopefully a sufficient background on the subject, coupled with about 5 years of relevant muscle reading performances.

After the long, worn out historical overview, Satori reminds us of the well-known wrist hold (first exposed at the end of the nineteenth century) and painfully describes an interminable number of DUH! examples:
Finding an object on a table
Finding an object in a room
Finding a person in a room
Finding an object in a house
Finding a seat in a theater
Etc.

It has been said more than once that vol. 2 will include the following routines:
Finding a softbound book in a library
Finding an hardbound book in a library
Finding an under-aged brunette in a Nevada brothel
Etc.

Seriously truthteller, I did not find any of the progressive nuances you mentioned – could you please give us an example, because I may have missed something? I’m also here to learn.

The publisher has to justify the price of the book by increasing the number of pages, but here the whole book is a filler. I pretend something more than a nice layout and the repackaging/regurgitating of age-old information. I paid to receive new ideas, not to assist to a Q&A act for God sake!

A counter-example now: Banachek’s Psycho-physiological thoughts. Nothing revolutionary, but you get enough information to perform the contact mind reading effects (with backup tricks for beginners), different presentational angles, info on dowsing, pendulum works, no-contact mind reading etc… Basically, a small treatise on ideomotor methods, which contains the same basic concept of Making Contact, plus many others. Banachek didn’t invent anything, but collected a number of methods from several sources, credited the originators, added his own personal touches and sold it at a reasonable price. This is a correct way of dealing with the issue IMO.

Hope these specific information can help in the evaluation of the product(s).

Cheers,

H.
cheesewrestler
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Hey, Prof Hoffman described the Rising Card way back in the 19th century ... sure has been a lot of paper wasted on rehashing that effect ever since, huh? And all those books describing the same old card sleights ...

Seriously, the first "review" above was completely useless. At least your reply includes specific objections and gives reasons for them. If you're going to do any more reviews, please do them that way from now on.
Mark Strivings
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It seems I have hit a nerve.

I asked the questions above for one very simple reason which I will get to momentarily. Harvey is perfectly free to say anything he wants (and indeed he does). I have no qualm about that. He openly took another shot at one of my works. Obviously he doesn't like my book. I have no problem with that. He is entitled to his opinion. I have long understood that the instant anyone does anything that puts them 'on the line' so to speak, they become a target. Hence I have been and always will be a target. I have no problem with that either. I'm sure there are those who won't believe me on this, but I did not post my questions to Harvey because he took another shot at one of my books. I asked the questions I did for a very fundamental reason that goes way beyond what he may or may not think of one of my books.

When it comes to knowing what REALLY works in this (or any other) business - in this case what works in the real world of performing for real people in real situations - there is only one thing that counts. That is real world experience. Any performer who does more than a few shows can tell you that you can read all the books in the world and you will have, AT BEST, a mildly informed idea of what may or may not work in the real world. BUT, until you put yourself on the line, in front of unforgiving audiences who couldn't care less how many books you have read, or how long you have been interested in whatever it is you are doing, there is simply no way in the world that you can possibly know what it really takes to be a successful performer. Until you have had to entertain people who you do not know, in situations you couldn't possibly have forseen and make it WORK, for real, over and over and over FOR YEARS, there's no way you can possibly know what it takes. I know there are those who will debate me on this, and I promise my retorts will be few (if any) and very short because these are the facts.

It is quite clear that there are many who are basing their opinions on the opinion of others who have no real world clue what they are talking about. Since Harvey has chosen not to answer any of my questions about his qualifications we can only draw assumptions, and I think you already know what my position is and will continue to be.

I learned long ago that if you really want to learn how this stuff works in the real world of performing - not in theory, not an educated guess (at best), not from years of experience sitting in a chair - then you should listen to those who DO make this work, everyday, on the front lines, with real audiences, in real situations. Those are the people I listen to and the are the ones I would encourage all of you to listen to as well.

What prompted my questions to Harvey was the painfully obvious fact that he has never had to make muscle reading (the subject of the manificent work he so soundly stomped) work with any consistency in actual shows, ever. I was merely curious what performing experience (the REAL yardstick that defines a persons qualifications to express a truly informed opinion) he really had. Since he's not talking about that, my guess is virtually none. I find no fault with that. If Harvey is an enthusiastic amateur or hobbiest that's fine with me. There is plenty of room for that and I would encourage anyone to pursue this as a hobby if that is what they want. Every hobbiest in the world is completely entitled to their opinions. However, the opinions that I will be paying attention to come from those who truly know, from long-time personal and professional experience, what they are talking about. For they are the one's who truly DO know what they are talking about and are not making a guess. This is the reason why the major magazines (with a couple of very minor exceptions) actually have professional entertainers to do their reviewing. Whether one chooses to agree with the review or not is their own preference. But at least they can know that the initial review was an informed one that can be backed by professional experience.

I'm more than certain there will be a very vocal bunch out there who will loudly disagree with much of what I have just said. That's fine, please voice your opinions. The one thing I would recommend for those of you on the sidelines and those of you who may be sitting on the fence on this issue, take note of who screams the loudest and carefully analyze what their performing credentials may or may not be. Yes, it's entirely possible that you may find a heavy hitter who will disagree with the above. I would love to hear their perspective. But I will venture the guess right now that the overwhelming majority of those who disagree with what I have said here will not be professional performers. And candidly (for those are about to jump at my use of the term 'professional' as a criteria), ANY performer who does more than a few shows every now and then would fit into this category. I'm stretching pretty far here and giving a lot of latitude. I'm still quite willing to bet that the above position will stand as I have described it.

I guess my bottom line would be this. Be careful who you decide to put your trust in. I can already hear the screaming about me selling things to some of you. Like I said, I already accept the fact that I am a target. Fire away. But the bottom line remains the same. My opinions (as well as the materials I choose to release and/or carry as a part of my service to mentalists around the world) are based on professional performing for thousands of people and hundreds of paid performances every year. When I post (or publish, or sell) something it is not based on theory, it is based on experience. Some of my colleagues will occasionally post an opinion as well. My bottom line is that if a true performer posts a positive review of anything, I will pay attention to it. Of course you are free to do whatever you want. Just make sure you fully understand where the information you are relying on is coming from.

So, let the screaming begin. I will be very surprised if this topic isn't locked very soon. Just a hunch.

Mark
Mark Strivings is the owner of the largest all-mentalism mail order supply business in the world, "Mental Connections", carrying materials not available anywhere else. For complete info, drop Mark a line at MarkyApril@aol.com
nimrod
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Mark,

I agree with some of the things you say; I meyself prefer a review from a full time working magi-mantalist than from a hobbyist. but not here on the Café anyway. when I want to hear if something good I ask Lior, Amir or Haim (my friends) personally. they are all full time working pros, and they will tell me the thruth. I must sadly admit that HN is the most reliable reviewer I found here on the Café (dont take it persoanlly Harvey, it only says something about the others). I won't take a review from someone who wants to sell, or a friend of someone who wants to sell. I've been burned too many times.
and I must agree with HN. the Satori's boook is "an age-old concept excruciatingly expanded and repeated over and over and over until it borders the unbearable". (I'm a working pro by the way).
its a good concept (and HN says it himself) but the book SCREAMS "filler !!!". the basic effect is repeated over and over again. as a consumer of magic product I hate to see that happen.
as a side note: contact reading is a tool more of the hobbyist than of the pro. I've seen many shows: (Manor, Conover, Bauer, Salem, Osterlind, Brown, Lustig, Goldenberg, Hickock) and none use this tool in their real life professional shows. its a nice thing to know, but lets face it: when I come to the real world of performing I won't count on it. as a sideshow, maybe. I know some big names used to do it a lot in the past but today only few does it regulary, and I personally know of none. its a thing more for the non-conventional situations rather the conventional ones, more for close-up than for stage, don't you agree ? btw, do you use contact reading in your regular shows ? (this is a real question. I'm very interested).
to conclude: contact reading is a great tool that every serious mentalist should have in his arsenal, but Satori turned a 10 pages booklet into a book, and this without even adding something new to it. this time I fully agree with HN review.

Nimrod , Israel
Mark Rough
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Quote:
On 2004-02-04 18:58, Harvey Nerzof wrote:

Bill: you wrote “Harvey's reviews seem grossly uninformed”. Having spent the last 20 years purchasing magical items, your comment seems totally out of place. Please be specific - if you need clarifications or justifications on ANY of the reviewed products, feel free to ask.



Harvey,

Purchasing magical items for 20 years is not the same as performing for 20 years. I don't mean this as any kind of attack. I'm glad your on the Café. Sometimes I agree with your reviews, but most time I don't. That's okay. We're obviously different people.

I just think that products need to be tested if you're going to review them. READING this book is not enough. Reading, trying, and performing the material inside of it would give you the background to write a credible review.

Mark
What would Wavy do?
Harvey Nerzof
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Quote:
On 2004-02-04 19:58, cheesewrestler wrote:
Hey, Prof Hoffman described the Rising Card way back in the 19th century ... sure has been a lot of paper wasted on rehashing that effect ever since, huh? And all those books describing the same old card sleights ...


I shouldn’t be writing about cards… But consider Kundalini Rising, for example. Jeff Mc Bride took an age-old concept as well, but added an original twist to the presentation and sold the gimmick at a reasonable price. Again, this is a correct behavior.

Quote:
Seriously, the first "review" above was completely useless. At least your reply includes specific objections and gives reasons for them. If you're going to do any more reviews, please do them that way from now on.


Glad you found something useful. I strive for briefness, and cannot always write such lengthy reviews due to time limitations and exposure concerns. However, I gladly respond to specific queries (i.e. “assume a defensive attitude”, to quote Bill Cushman).

Quote:
On 2004-02-05 01:49, Mark Strivings wrote:
When it comes to knowing what REALLY works in this (or any other) business - in this case what works in the real world of performing for real people in real situations - there is only one thing that counts. That is real world experience. Any performer who does more than a few shows can tell you that you can read all the books in the world and you will have, AT BEST, a mildly informed idea of what may or may not work in the real world.


That’s correct. Having performed since 1984 for real people, in the real world, in real close-up situations, with hecklers, suckers, erratic hosts and arrogant would-be tricksters, I constantly bash abstract pipedreams and impractical props. On the other hand, being only a part-time, low profile and unassuming performer with no real economic concerns, I can afford spending more time on “involved” effects I like instead of mechanically relying on easy walk-around tricks.

Quote:
I learned long ago that if you really want to learn how this stuff works in the real world of performing, then you should listen to those who DO make this work, everyday, on the front lines, with real audiences, in real situations. Those are the people I listen to and the are the ones I would encourage all of you to listen to as well.


Right on again. The HONEST opinions of our top performers (and you probably are one of them, Mark) are much more valuable than mine. However, those are rarely expressed publicly.

Quote:
What prompted my questions to Harvey was the painfully obvious fact that he has never had to make muscle reading work with any consistency in actual shows, ever.


?? Mark, please read my previous post before drawing assumptions – I had already answered your question.

I only use CMR in informal performances, as a genuine lead-in to “tricky” mentalism. The concept (not the Satori book) is very enjoyable because you actually do what you’re claiming – such a rarity in our Art!

Thanks again for your interest,

H.
cheesewrestler
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Whether CM is usable in real world performing is a valid question. Kreskin used to do (still does?) his "find the paycheck" routine that way, right? Other than him I can't think of anyone. But who's to say somebody may not come along, take the concept, and make something amazing out of it?

Try another analogy: go into a bookstore, you'll see a dozen or more books on learning Spanish in the Languages section. Do you throw your hands up in rage at this apparent redundancy? Or do you look through each one to see which explains the principles and lays out the learning process in the way you find most effective?
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Kreskin peeks.
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