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Topic: Review: Meant To Be - John Born's Book On The Any Card Any Number Plot
Message: Posted by: Cody S. Fisher (May 8, 2006 11:30AM)
Review: “Meant To Be” By John B. Born

This is the latest book from John Born…and I must say that I am torn in writing this review. To be honest I don’t really want anyone to know about this book! (It’s that good) If mine were the only copy in existence I would be one lucky guy.

It all started at F.F.F.F. a few weeks ago. John and I were in the lobby discussing the “Any Card Any Number” plot. We were exchanging ideas and talking about various methods and presentations. He told me of his new book on the subject and that he would be performing his “contest winning” version later that day. I could hardly wait!

My anticipation grew as his performance drew near. When the performance was over…I found myself looking around the room at all the magicians with blank looks on their faces. It was nice to see so many magicians fooled so badly! For the rest of the convention I watched many magicians follow John around in hopes that he would “tip” the method…but I don’t think he told anyone. I like many others immediately pre-ordered a copy of his book and am glad I did.

When it arrived in the mail I was “shocked” yet again. I was expecting a set of lecture notes or maybe even a comb bound book of sorts. When I opened the box I was surprised to find a beautifully produced hard bound book.

It begins with an introduction by Ken Krenzel and the list of contributors is incredible. (Ken Krenzel, Allan Ackerman, Barrie Richardson, Banacheck, Martin Joyal, Josh Jay, Tony Miller, and Paul Cummins to name a few!)

The book does not jump right into methods. The first chapter is a wonderfully written essay on just about every aspect of the “Any Card Any Number” plot I have ever read. John has really put a lot of thought into this plot and shares many ideas on how to take this effect to the next level. So many times this effect is presented as a “coincidence” effect. John’s thoughts on how to properly present this effect are very innovative and in my opinion take this from a mere coincidence and transform this into a beautiful piece of card magic.

The next section of the book deals with John’s wonderful “Meant To Be” system for ACAN. I have been “collecting” methods for the ACAN plot for many years…and this has got to be the most clean and direct handling for ACAN I have ever read! Briefly…the cards are in the box…a card in named…a number is named…the cards are openly removed from the box and handed to a volunteer…the number is counted to…the card is there! This is exactly what ACAN should look like!

In this chapter John outlines his preferred handling and also several other optional handlings using the “Meant To Be” system. Later on in the book John even outlines this “award winning” routine!

Another aspect that I found particularly helpful was John’s thoughts on “calculations” when using a memorized deck. For me…performing several calculations during a performance has always been a struggle. Through one simple ruse, John has drastically simplified the calculations for the memorized deck versions.

The rest of the book is devoted to many ACAN effects. They range from completely self-working to some sleight of hand required. Just about every version is a winner.

The last part of the book contains a “History And Credits” section. Here John gives a VERY comprehensive outline of many ACAN effects in print. This alone is an excellent resource for you ACAN fans.

If you are interested in the Any Card Any Number effect then I would HIGHLY recommend this book…you will not be disappointed!

Only available at: http://www.johnborn.com

I hope this helps,
Cody S. Fisher
Message: Posted by: Daegs (May 8, 2006 12:00PM)
Just have to say that having been there when he did win the contest with this, it is gold as is all of John's stuff.

Highly recommended.
Message: Posted by: shomemagic (May 8, 2006 12:54PM)
I am not familiar with John Born other than I knew he put something out a few years ago..However I do value Cody Fishers opinions and thoughts on magic.If he puts merit in somethingits has to be great. So this is now on my want list base upon his praise.
Message: Posted by: Cody S. Fisher (May 8, 2006 03:48PM)
Thanks for the kind words Mike...I really appreciate that!

I don't ususally endorse magic items as I feel that one mans trash is another mans treasure. However if you really like the ACAN plot then I am sure you will be very happy with this book.

FYI Mike...John has one version in particular that is perfect for strolling. I don't want to give away any of John's stuff...but let me say that his strolling version is a very locial ending to any ambitious card sequence.

Cody S. Fisher
Message: Posted by: Steve Haynes (May 9, 2006 12:29AM)
Ken Krenzel in his book CLOSE-UP IMPACT has a version just as you described,from the card case,which is a very nice solution.
I too have studied this effect for years,and hope this book will be worth the money for someone who is well read.
I just placed my order.
Message: Posted by: Mike Powers (May 9, 2006 08:41AM)
I met John a couple of years ago at the Midwest Magic Jubilee. I had already purchased his book w/disk Matrix God's Way which contains some of the coolest coin ideas I had seen in a long time. I have since watched John peform some of these items and fry everyone in the room.

One thing John and I share is a love of magic that seems truly IMPOSSIBLE. This is the stuff that leaves everyone scratching their heads and talking about it for days after witnessing it. John won the close up contest at the MagiFest on the strengh of one of his Any Card at Any Number routines. This routine was also a tremendous hit at FFFF this year. It was one of the items that was talked about throughout the convention since it just seemed totally impossible.

I will leave you with three words of advice - get this book!

Message: Posted by: Peo Olsson (May 9, 2006 02:59PM)
Just ordered my copy.
When both Cody and Mike say something is good, it MUST be exellent.

Message: Posted by: Caliban (May 9, 2006 03:48PM)

What was the postage charge to Europe? It doesn't say on John's site.

Message: Posted by: Cane and Able (May 9, 2006 04:55PM)
Hey all,

Can this version be done standing on stage?

Have a great day!
Message: Posted by: Cody S. Fisher (May 9, 2006 05:10PM)
Cane & Able,

There are many versions in the book. Like I said earlier...some of the best methods I have ever read. (and I collect methods for this!) John has some great methods for close up and stage. Oh and yes you can do all of these methods standing!

I hope this helps,
Cody S. Fisher
Message: Posted by: Peo Olsson (May 9, 2006 05:14PM)
On 2006-05-09 16:48, Caliban wrote:

What was the postage charge to Europe? It doesn't say on John's site.


Look at the bottom to the right:
"Foreign Orders ($55 + $10 Global Priority Mail"

Message: Posted by: Cane and Able (May 9, 2006 06:25PM)
Thanks Cody.

It sounds great!
Message: Posted by: Illusion77 (May 9, 2006 06:52PM)
This sounds VERY interesting - I was wondering, are there any extra moves (without being specific) that are left out of the description that might make the effect look not as clean?

Again, please give no info that may infringe on methods, just wondering exactly what the audience sees.

Message: Posted by: Cody S. Fisher (May 10, 2006 12:29AM)

John give so many methods that it will be impossible to describe them all. The primary method...John's "Meant To Be" system is beautiful. The audience will not perceive anything more than you taking the cards out of the box and handing them to the volunteer. There are no 'apparent' moves when this takes place. It looks SOOOO nice!

I hope this helps,
Cody S. Fisher
Message: Posted by: Mentalism (May 10, 2006 07:21AM)
Just ordered my copy and I can not wait to get it!
I think it will be great!

Message: Posted by: Illusion77 (May 10, 2006 10:41AM)
Thanks Cody! I definitely trust your judgement - and I appreciate your thoughts!
Message: Posted by: Christopher Williams (May 10, 2006 11:44AM)
How does Johns differ from the amazing version I think called The Grail. Alakazam sold the effect and its one I use a lot, and think it is incredible
Message: Posted by: mushi (May 10, 2006 12:59PM)
I've ordered my copy yesterday. I am addicted to an ACAAN effect.
Message: Posted by: Cody S. Fisher (May 10, 2006 03:17PM)

The grail is good...I like it. John's book has many methods for the ACAN plot...including his "Meant To Be" system and his award winning ACAN routine. I can't really go into much detail without giving away John's unique thoughts on the ACAN plot. In short...most of the time I have seen this effect presented...it is more of a coincidence effect. John's thoughts on presentation are what elevate the ACAN plot from a mere coincidence to a flippin' miracle!

Even if you decide to still perform The Grail you would still benefit from reading this book.

I hope this helps,
Cody S. Fisher

Note: Just so you guys know I have no financial interest in John's book...I bought my book just like everyone else. It's just so rare these days that I get fooled by a card trick...I just wanted to spread the magic...not keep to myself!
Message: Posted by: einhorn (May 10, 2006 05:34PM)
I absolutely agree with Cody.
John Born's version of Any Card At Any Number fooled everyone I spoke to at FFFF. Meant To Be is a beautifully published book full of workable, practible and original methods for this classic plot. However, this is not merely a book of secrets. It is also a fascinating insight into how John's mind works and how he approaches his craft. The essays are written by a man who cares about using magic to create Art. I have become a better magician for reading this book. I am sure you will too if you choose to buy it. Seriously recommended.
Message: Posted by: Kevvy (May 10, 2006 11:13PM)
On 2006-05-10 16:17, fishermagic wrote:

Even if you decide to still perform The Grail you would still benefit from reading this book.



Like Christopher, I perform The Grail often. It is my favorite CAAN. Do you mean that some of the ideas in the book can be incorporated into The Grail? Or that we will find John's ideas beneficial in general.

Either way, I'll get this book based on your recommendation.
Message: Posted by: Cody S. Fisher (May 10, 2006 11:36PM)
Dear Kevvy,

It's not going to change the "workings" of the gral...I just meant that it will give you some ideas on how to make any ACAN effect stronger.

I hope this helps,
Cody S. Fisher
Message: Posted by: Kevvy (May 11, 2006 12:28AM)
Any ideas that may enhance my presentation The Grail (or any Acan) are always welcome!

Message: Posted by: John Born (May 11, 2006 09:36AM)
Greetings everyone!

Wow - Fisher, Powers, Einhorn...thanks for your kinds words on my lastest project. FFFF was blast!

As far as the book in concerned, I am thrilled that it is finally here! Long time in the making. It turned out beautiful - 328 pages, 220 photos, hardboud 5 1/2 * 7 1/2 with black leather spine, read linen front/back and gold stamping. Forward by Dr. Ken Krenzel. Contributors include Dr. Ken Krenzel, Allan Ackerman,
Barrie Richardson, Banachek and Luke Jermay, Martin Joyal, Joshua Jay, Tony Miller, Paul Cummins, Mike Powers, and Jason Dean.

When deveolping the creations given, I want you to know that I had pure magic in mind, and desired a happening so absoutely impossible to the point where sleight of hand could not be the explanation. I wanted to take a coincidental card trick and elevate it to a stand-alone miracle (not a theoretical mircale, but one that could be featured in every show that you perform). Not to mention, I wanted to present an effect that would not only entertain, but would also fry everyone (knowledgable magicians included). In these efforts I have layered prinicples, techniques, and proper psychological subleties to get so far ahead of the audience that it is not even fair (no preshow). This led to the development of the Meant To Be system, as well as intense work on other approaches. There are clearly many ways to get a card at a number through sleight-of-hand. However, I feel that this effect is greatest if you clearly never have to the opportunity to manipulate the cards, or even never touch the cards at all. I feel the contributions from others that I chose fit well, as they are constructed with extremely clever principles instead of unnecessary or hard sleight of hand (such as the pass or center deal).

There are also many other techniques, effects, and ideas included in the book that has nothing to do with the ACAAN plot. For example - two jokers with different color backs are introduced along with a deck of cards. Spectator names any card in the deck. She then cuts the deck into two piles, and places one joker in each pile (outjogged). The piles are assembled into one, and the outjogged jokers are slowly squared into the pack (clearly in different parts of the deck). The magi slowly casts a shadow over the deck, and asks the spectator to spread the cards across the table. She finds that the jokers have travelled through the pack to sandwich one card. She pulls it out to find that it is her mentally selected card! Direct and absolutely magical.


John B. Born
Message: Posted by: Doomo (May 11, 2006 01:11PM)
I gotta jump in here. This book is probably THE book buy of the year! It is a heck of a treatise on ONE effect! There will be those who go "A WHOLE book on ONE trick!?" All I can say is John has taken what is for many a dream effect and turned it into a reality. Yes, I have a version in his book. And YES, I have taken John's ideas and notched MY OWN effect. So if you get the urge to fry the customers (and needless to say - magicians - then buy this book... Wow! TWO books in one year that I have reccomended Either my standards are shot or this is a great year!
Message: Posted by: cfrye (May 11, 2006 03:48PM)
I ordered my copy late Monday night and it arrived in my mailbox today. I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, but John's customer service is excellent.

Message: Posted by: JasonDean (May 11, 2006 10:46PM)
This has been John's baby for quite some time now. I remember when he told me he was going to write a book on the subject and release his version. I thought he was crazy, this material is GOLD! This may seem like hype from me but the moment you see his book without even opening it you know there is something special about it.
Congratulations my brother in magic!

Message: Posted by: Steve Haynes (May 11, 2006 11:02PM)
I have read half the book,and can say I am pleased.
This is a must have for anyone intrested in this effect.
Message: Posted by: John Born (May 14, 2006 07:45PM)
Hello again -

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the outstanding response and support for my latest book Meant To BE...

At this time, Tom Craven is working to schedule a lecture tour for me to feature this book as well as several new DVDs that will soon be released. If you are interested in this lecture coming to your city, or want to inquire for more information, please contact Tom at vipmagic@aol.com. At this time I will be lecturing at the Magic Castle May 21st, the Minneapolis Close-up Convention June 9th-11th, the LVMI 11th-13th, Gary Darwin Club (Vegas) on the 14th, and in Boston June 27th. Hope to see you there!

All the best,

John B. Born
Message: Posted by: Mentalism (May 15, 2006 03:10AM)
I get the book saturday and read it through in just one day and I must say
this book is a KILLER! It is fantastic and absolutly great! For me it is really
the Book of the year! The Meant to be system is the final solution to the ACAAN plot. Thank U John to give such a great idea to all magicians!!I collected much ideas to the plot, but your system is really the best!
Message: Posted by: Peo Olsson (May 15, 2006 03:39AM)
Got my copy today. Fast delivery John. And will read the book the comming days.
Looks really, really interesting. Will give my comments when I have read trough it.

Message: Posted by: joneseymagic (May 15, 2006 05:32AM)
I'll second CFrye's comments.

I live in the UK, and I ordered the book less than a week ago. It dropped through my letter box this morning. If the book is as good as the excellent service from John, it should be quite something! From previous reviewers comments, I'm sure it will be.

I'm certainly looking forward to reading it

Thanks John!

Dave Jones
Message: Posted by: Karl Miller (May 15, 2006 04:59PM)
I can only say that John's service was wonderful. Got my book today. Thanks John!

Message: Posted by: Illusion77 (May 15, 2006 05:07PM)
I'd love to hear more about this from those who have tried the "Meant to Be" system - I'm saving for the book now!
Message: Posted by: Eric Grossman (May 16, 2006 09:24AM)
Man, I haven't posted here in what seems like forever. John Stayed at my house on his way to New York a month or so ago. We sat in my practice room for hours, just jamming and talking. It was a great time, as is always the case when we hang (you too Jason).

Anyway, the stuff he shows me on a regular basis, is some of the most thought out magic I ever get to see. John's depth of thinking is bottomless. He really cares greatly about everything he performs. He is a true problem solver, who won't rest until an effect is literally "perfect".

All of his pet effects and routines look purely magical. If he didn't tip me once in a while, I'd have to kill him before my brain exploded.

He's also a hardcore sleight of hand guy, but his effects don't look "sleighty". I haven't seen the book yet, but he's been telling me about it forever. I can't wait to get my copy. He's one of the best out there, as is Jason BTW, and I'm proud to brag about his friendship, as well.

Congrats JB, and all the best.

Posted: May 16, 2006 11:10am
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. If you run into John at a convention or other appropriate place, ask him to perform his close-up ring routine. It is sooo magical, and sooo good. It's my current favorite thing to watch him do, and I've only seen it a million times.
Message: Posted by: Doomo (May 16, 2006 04:44PM)
Since I see no one else has put John's contact info, here it is... Oh yes... And Tom Gagnon has joined those giveing the book high praise...

Meant To Be…

Principles and Techniques for the Sophisticated Magical Artiste

328 pages, 220 photos, Hardbound 5 ½ * 7 ½,

Forward By Dr. Ken Krenzel

Price: $55

Shipping: All books sent priority mail

Add $5 for priority mail in the U.S

Add $10 for global priority mail

Checks can be sent to:

John B. Born

30-91 44th St. Apt. 3R

Astoria, NY 11103

Paypal - send money to paypal address crazymagicman@yahoo.com
Message: Posted by: Nathan Kranzo (May 17, 2006 05:50PM)
Hi John,

Congrat's on your new release. It looks like a must have for sure!

I saw John perform one of his fantastic versions at the Motor City Close up Convention last year and he killed everyone.

Get it or be fooled!

All the best,

Message: Posted by: Turk (May 22, 2006 09:54PM)
On 2006-05-11 16:48, cfrye wrote:
I ordered my copy late Monday night and it arrived in my mailbox today. I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, but John's customer service is excellent.


Ordered mine early last week (did not use PayPal; direct payment to John); book mailed Priority Mail on Friday and the book arrived in this morning's mail. One week start to finish. Now THAT's great customer service.

Can't wait to get into this book. (Looks like that'll be Wednesday or Thursday at the earliest because of prior commitments. Darn!) I love anthology books and videos and compilation books and videos where a single subject is explored in depth and, in one reference place, you can read about or view many methods to achieve the end result.

Way to go, John!!

Message: Posted by: Eric Grossman (May 23, 2006 09:34AM)
I'm about three days into John's book. The opening chapter is an essay, reflecting his thinking on magic and the conception and development of effects. Like I said, John is a very deep thinker on the subject of magic, and he really got me into some self analysis here.

Following the essay, are his concepts for the "any card/ any location" theme. This is great stuff. If you are interested in this type of effect(you should be), this is a must read.

With contributions from Ken Krenzel, Allan Ackerman, Barrie Richardson, Luke Jermay/ Banacheck, Martin Joyal, Joshua Jay, Tony Miller, Paul Cummins, and Jason Dean, you have a chance to draw from some truly great minds, and one very bright nutcase (he knows who I mean).

John, thank you so much for this book. I haven't been this motivated by a book in a very long time. Great work. Talk to you later.
Message: Posted by: Piers (May 23, 2006 02:07PM)
Does the book mention the David Berglas version of this ?
Message: Posted by: Eric Grossman (May 23, 2006 03:01PM)
Oops, I forgot to mention Mike Powers, too. Man that guy is way too smart.
Message: Posted by: Turk (May 28, 2006 01:27AM)
Man! This is one deep book. A person could sit and ruminate for days (if not for weeks) just on "John's" 8 elements of great magic and the creative process necessary to create great magic. Very valuable material here. Ruthlessly applying these principles to [i]your[/i] magic can't help but make you a better magician. John takes his magic very seriously--and, if only through this book, it shows.

This is not a book that is a light read whereby a brief "skim-through" will have you up and running. John's ACAN version was created as a result of an extensive list of serious "test conditions" attached to it (i.e., must be an absolutely free choice of both the card and the number, no stooges, no rough and smooth, no stripper deck--and about 10 other stringent conditions including using an ordinary deck of cards). Only after setting forth the conditions he wanted his effect to adhere to, did he begin creating his version of this effect. Lots of false starts and lots of trial and error occured as John began to create and shape his final version of this effect--and John briefly takes you through some of them.

With such strict test conditions, John's solution necessarily requires a very strict methodology and lots of practice to "get it right". This is serious stuff and will require serious practice. "No pain, no gain." But what a reward at the end of the rainbow. This is indeed the "test conditions" version of the ACAN effect.

Fortunately, John's detailed explanation helps make this journey as painless as possible. This is not a 30 page book of generalities that kicks you out the door and says "Sorry, you're on your own.". Rather, this is an extensive [b]328 page[/b] treatise on the one effect but with all the moves and methodologies explained in detail--and with many variations of the ACAN effect also explained.

One of the nice things I found about the book was that, because of John's extensive dissertation on [i]his[/i] version of the effect and the blood, sweat and tears he shed while developing his version, I was able to begin to understand, appreciate and evaluate all of the other contibutors' included versions in a whole new light. I began to appreciate the trade-offs (the plusses and the minuses) of each version of this effect more clearly. So, even if you decide not to perform John's version, you'll be better able to make a more meaningful and informed choice as you pick one of the other versions that John has so graciously and extensively described in this book.

To call this a book, denigrates John's efforts here. This is truly a treatise of the first order and magnitude. An instant classic.

Way to go, John.


P.S. $55.00 plus S&H is an absolute steal for this book.
Message: Posted by: mattH (May 30, 2006 05:26AM)
Id like to add to the praise that this book is getting
its very nice quality and well worth the price
and the effects are outstanding
congratulations to Mr Borne on a work of love
Message: Posted by: Piers (May 30, 2006 06:45AM)
Just received mine, also.
Can't wait to get stuck in.
Message: Posted by: John Born (Jun 5, 2006 02:48PM)
Greetings again -

Thanks to everyone for the wonderful comments. Hopefully you have found some ideas and inspirations that you can put to use.

Just wanted to send out a reminder that I will be lecturing at the Minneapolis Close-Up Convention June 9th-11th, at LVMI (Vegas) June 11th-13th, and at the Las Vegas Gary Darwin club on June 14th - so I hope to see you there. If you can make it, please make it a point to introduce yourself and say hi.

John B. Born

Great to see all of you at the conventions this last week. What a blast. New reminder for lectures coming up the next couple of days in MA and CT...

Monday June 19, 7:00 PM
Extended lecture session
Camp Evergreen
166 Jenkins Rd
Andover, MA 01810

Tuseday June 20th 7:30
IBM Ring 122 Boston, Ma.
Magic Arts Studio (617) 926-3949
123 Spring St.
Watertown MA. 02472

Thursday, June 22nd 7:30
Wallingford YMCA
81 South Elm Street
Wallingford, CT 06492

Hope to see you there.

John B. Born
Message: Posted by: John Born (Jul 4, 2006 02:55PM)
I apologize for yet another shameless plug...

However, I am excited to announce that this last weekend I used one of my versions of "Any card at any number" from the book Meant To Be to win first place at the International Brotherhood of Magicians Gold Cups competition.

John B. Born
Message: Posted by: qkeli (Jul 4, 2006 03:01PM)
Congratulations!!!did you used anither version than the one you used at the last competiotion you won ??
Message: Posted by: MBrook3902 (Jul 7, 2006 10:39PM)
As one of the competitors at the IBM close-up contest, I fell victim to John's brillant ACAN and his fantastic close-up rings routine. I also bought a copy of his book and I will 2nd the other opinions...it is great.
Congratulations, again, John for winning and your solid thinking behind your effects. It was a pleasure meeting you.

Millard Brooks (aka BILLY RAY)
Message: Posted by: John Born (Jul 9, 2006 11:50AM)

I used the same version I performed at the Magi-Fest competition.


Thanks for the kind words. Great to meet you as well. Disappointed I didn't get to enjoy your Billy Ray act. Hopefully another time...

John B
Message: Posted by: Andrew Loh (Jul 11, 2006 09:42AM)
I have just purchased John's book and I am looking forward of the book. Must be fantastic book of the year. :) - Looking forward to read the book!

Message: Posted by: Loz (Jul 18, 2006 03:46PM)
I've just finished John's book. It has a hallowed place on my shelf. I loved it. It is one the finest magic books I have read in a long time. I will not give another review as others have already done a fine job.

I would just like to congratulate John on such a fine piece of work (and I look forward to more in the 'series' mentioned in the back - any clues what these will be on?) and encourage anyone looking for great writing, deep thinking, and *powerful* magic to get this book.

Message: Posted by: timofy (Jul 18, 2006 10:59PM)
Their is now a review over at visions, 10/10.
Message: Posted by: John Born (Jul 19, 2006 02:07PM)
Thanks Timofy for the heads up. The review at online-visions.com can be found at


Also - thanks Lawrence. Glad you enjoyed it. There is more to come.

The best,

John B. Born
Message: Posted by: Ruben Padilla (Aug 17, 2006 07:44PM)
Just got my copy today - ordered it a few days ago. Very fast service. The book looks really good. Can't wait to get into it. There's just something inspiring about a book that delves into one subject...it makes it more reverent somehow.

I'm confident there will be some great thoughts contained in these pages...

Ruben Padilla
Message: Posted by: John Born (Aug 22, 2006 12:21PM)
Hey guys...

I will be doing a lecture on Sept. 11th in Boston, MA for Sam 16. It takes places at the magic barn, and starts at 6:00. Directions can be found at http://www.sam16.com. Feel free to PM me with any questions.

The best,

John B. Born
Message: Posted by: Steve Suss (Aug 23, 2006 12:35PM)
Does anyone do any of the versions in John Borns book? How attainable is it for an average magician? I've always stayed away from this effect because I found the calculations necessary showed my thinking. I love MD work but when you add some calculations it becomes difficult to do without showing your thinking.

The book sounds great and I love the effect but would only purchase it if it was an effect I thought I could actually do.


Message: Posted by: bugjack (Aug 23, 2006 08:30PM)
I'd actually be interested in the answer to Steve's question too. I'm tempted...
Message: Posted by: John Born (Aug 23, 2006 08:33PM)
Hi Steve -

Though there are versions in the book that require mental math, there are many GREAT versions of ACAN as well as other effects in the book that are extremely practical and require minimum or no calculations at all. This includes the version I used to win the IBM Gold Cups competition this year. Hope this helps...

John B
Message: Posted by: balducci (Aug 24, 2006 01:23AM)
I'll add to the list of people saying that this is a very fine book. It is a great compendium of ACAN methods. Some of the methods I'd read before in their original places of publication, but it is still convenient to have them all grouped together like this. And there are many ACAN and related effects / methods described in this book that were totally new to me as well.

The book itself (paper, binding, cover) is of very high quality (at least in my opinion), and that impressed me from the start as soon as I saw the book.

I must say that the main method described in the book isn't really to my liking (as a performer, I mean), but it is still ingenious and well crafted and I've learned from it.

Highly recommended.
Message: Posted by: John Born (Aug 24, 2006 12:34PM)
Hey guys...

Here are a few more lecture coming very soon…

Sept. 11th - Boston, MA for Sam 16. It takes places at the magic barn, and starts at 6:00. Directions can be found at http://www.sam16.com. Feel free to PM me with any questions.

Sept. 12th – Binghampton, NY (Directions coming)

Sept. 14th – Bridgeport, CT for The New Magicians Association. The meeting hall is the GERMANIA-SCHWABEN HALL, 416 HORACE ST. BRIDGEPORT, CT.

Feel free to PM me with any questions…

The best,

John B. Born
Message: Posted by: Scott Compton (Sep 1, 2006 04:41PM)

October 13 - Knoxville to that list. I confirmed it with Tom.

Message: Posted by: MrBob102 (Sep 15, 2006 10:13PM)
John will be lecturing in the Washington DC area on Wednesday evening, November 1, 2006 for the National Capital IBM Ring 50. For details see our web page http://www.IBMRing50.org

Bob Patterson
Message: Posted by: John Born (Sep 26, 2006 11:54AM)
Hey guys –

I have been receiving a lot of e-mails regarding my upcoming lectures, so here are the dates and locations that I have at this moment STARTING THIS SATURDAY. If the address is not listed, send me a PM and I will forward to you as soon as I have it. There are 24 venues listed, and a few more pending. Also, if you are in these areas and there is a free day, feel free to contact me if you are interested in a workshop. Hope to see you there!


John B. Born

Lecture Dates

Saturday, Sept 30th - Baton Rouge 7:00

1957 Woodale Court
Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Sunday – Oct. 1st - New Orleans 7:00

Address pending

Monday – Oct. 2nd Lake Charles 6:30

Mr. Gatti’s Pizza
3522 Ryan St
Lake Charles, LA 70605

Tuesday October 3 – Houston 7:30

IATSE Local 51 Meeting Hall, 3030 North Freeway, Houston, Texas 77009

Wednesday, Oct. 4th - San Antonio 7:00

JCR Co's World of Magic & Fun
4957 N.W. Loop 410
San Antonio TX 78229
(210) 767-1599

Thursday October 5 – McAllen 7:00

Address pending

Sunday October 8 – Dallas 2:00

China Moon Buffet
1680 E. Beltline Rd.
Richardson, Texas 75081

Monday October 9 – Fort Worth

Address pending

Tuesday October 10 – Tulsa 7:00

4016 South Yale
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74135

Thursday October 12 – Memphis 7:00

Address pending

Friday October 13 – Knoxville 7:00

Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel - Knoxville
7621 Kingston Pike
I-40 & I-75
Knoxville, TN, 37919 US
Phone: 865-693-8111
Fax: 865-690-1031

Monday, October 16th - Henderson, Ky.

Address pending

Tuesday, October 17th Pittsburgh, PA

Address pending

Wednesday, October 18th Cleveland, Oh.

Scott Auditorium, Metrohealth Medical Center
2500 Metrohealth Dr. Cleveland, Oh. 44109 216-778-7800

Friday, October 20th Columbus, Oh.

Address pending

Monday, October 23rd Toledo, Oh.

Address pending

Tuesday, October 24 Detroit, Mi.

Royal Oak Senior-Commnity Center 3500 Marais Royal Oak, Mi. 48067

Wednesday, October 25th Canton, Oh.

Nazir Grotto 1717 6th St. NW Canton, Oh. 44706 330-588-8323

Thursday, October 26th Youngstown, Oh.

Address pending

Friday October 27th State College, PA

John Blake's East Coast Magic
224 West High Street
Bellefonte, PA 16823
Phone (814)-355-4441

Sunday, October 29th Roanoke, Va.

Ronald McDonald House 2224 South Jefferson St. Roanoke, Va. 540-857-0770

Wednesday, November 1st Washington, DC

Holiday Inn Eisenhower- Alexandria, Va.

Thursday, November 2nd Richmond, Va.

Address pending

Friday, November 3rd Virginia Beach, Va.

Regent University Robertson Hall Room 201 757-226-4049
Message: Posted by: ranpink (Sep 27, 2006 05:05PM)
I see no west coast plans? A shame. I think John Born's Meant to Be is fantastic. The book contains the cleanest ACAAN solutions I've ever seen. With amazing contributions by some of magic's greatest thinkers, this book is a must have for any serious ACAAN fanatics.

Great work John and thanks for sharing.

Ran Pink
Message: Posted by: John Born (Sep 28, 2006 01:23AM)
4 more I need to mention...

November 8th - Rogue's Magic (Queens, NY)

November 13th - Green Brook, NJ

November 15th - Linden, NJ

November 16th - Tannen's (NYC)
Message: Posted by: echomagic (Sep 28, 2006 04:31PM)
John recently lectured for SAM 16 at the Magic Barn in MA. We were lucky to have such a talented young man. It was obvious that he takes his dedication to the craft seriously. Thank you for a great lecture. Hope to see you again soon.
Message: Posted by: clamon86 (Sep 28, 2006 05:31PM)
Wow, that's a lot of travelling. You're travelling the country in less than 2 months. Its good that you're working hard, but don't work too hard.

Awesome magic, awesome dvds, awesome books.

Message: Posted by: solidglint (Oct 3, 2006 09:39AM)
This book is a gem. Finest book of 2006 so far.

Message: Posted by: John Born (Oct 9, 2006 01:17AM)
Hey Jonathan -

I am glad to hear you are enjoying the book.


This lecture is not on the previous lists. Just wanted to announce that I will be lecturing in Oklahoma City on October 11th. Feel free to PM me with any questions...

Here is the address -

City Arts Building
Oklahoma City Fairgrounds
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73107


John B
Message: Posted by: ScottLeavitt (Oct 11, 2006 12:15PM)
For those of you in/near Green Brook, NJ, feel free to PM me for directions, times, etc.! (November 13th)
Message: Posted by: Simon Bakker (Nov 16, 2006 09:25AM)
Just ordered the book. I was wondering if any working perfomer here performs Johns ACAAN on a reular basis.

Also, is ken krenzels version in the book the version he published earlier in close up ipact (the one with the cardcase)?

Message: Posted by: Mike Powers (Nov 16, 2006 10:01AM)
John has some great work that pushes Krenzel's concept into a far more useful form. You will find many fine ideas in the book.

Message: Posted by: Platt (Jan 29, 2007 03:30PM)
"Meant to Be" is a difficult book to critique in that I'm not exactly sure what it's trying to be. I think John was ambitiously trying to put out more than a magic book full of ACAAN tricks. It seemed he was, at least in part, going for a very important, deep, almost spiritual writing on magic principles. From the hardback cover to the $60 price tag, to the precious, often pseudo-poetic prose, it's pretty clear he was trying to create a keepsake of sorts. So I'll review it in that context.

If you're going to be so ambitious, you must be more careful with your words. Otherwise just put out Xeroxed lecture notes. Nearly every page of the beautifully bound "Meant to Be" had typos, grammatical errors, and odd usage. These were quite distracting considering the context. At the very least he could have let an editor give this a once over. Again, normally that type of thing wouldn't bother me at all. In fact if you've seen my DVD, you know I'm a proponent of putting production aside and letting the magic speak for itself. But considering I'm paying $60 for a hardbound book, which intends to be of great importance, and find a permanent place on my bookshelf, my expectations rise considerably.

The Magic:

So what about the magic? This book is filled with variations on, what seemed to me, one approach (a stack) to ACAAN. If you don't like that approach, you're not going to love the variations. I was disappointed in that I felt "Meant to Be" would be a wildly diverse "ACAAN collection" ranging from tabled doubles to the use of Koran type decks, multiple outs, palming, predicton envelopes, psychological forces, nail writers and other imaginative techniques... No such luck. But to be fair, John points out his tight specifications early on as to what he feels classifies as a ACAAN. And most methods outside of a stack wouldn't qualify. All this said, I have no doubt the many write-ups in MTB, including Born's signature piece, slay. They're just not for me.

If you don't mind slightly preachy, self-important writing, lots of typos, a $60 price tag and want to read about creative thinkers ranging from the brilliant Allan Ackerman, Mike Powers, and yes John Born himself, expound on one basic approach to ACAAN, I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Message: Posted by: mrehula (Jan 30, 2007 11:05AM)
I agree with Platt. I thought I might have been alone in my disappointment with the book. Variations? It seems to be just one trick, with variations with that one trick, not the effect. The method is not my 'style', but there have been other books I've enjoyed reading, even if I don't find stuff I'll use (Pure Effect and Final Curtain come to mind). I was deeply disappointed with this one trick pony. Because of its production values, I was expecting more.

After saying that, though, I'm surprised that Born's tour doesn't include Chicago (yet).
Message: Posted by: John Born (Jan 30, 2007 11:58AM)
Hey guys -

Thanks for your thoughts.

I would love to come to Chicago. Perhaps later this year. At this time, I am scheduling through Alabama and Florida to take advanatge of being in that part of the country for other business. Though others are pending, these are confirmed so far...

March 8th – Birmingham, AL
March 10th – Fort Walton Beach, FL
March 12- Lakeland, FL
March 13th - Orlando, FL
March 14- Jacksonville, FL
March 15- Tampa, FL
March 16- Ft. Myers, FL

I am also lecturing at the Magi-Fest in Columbus, OH on Friday. Hope to see you there.

All the best,

John B. Born
Message: Posted by: mrehula (Jan 30, 2007 01:41PM)
I kinda forgot that the author is following this thread, and rereading my entry made me come off as a bit dismissive. So let me try to clarify.

I was surprised that the book was getting such an overwhelming response at the Magic Café as the best book of 2006. I thought that I must have been missing something. I knew what I was buying, so to say that I was 'deeply disappointed' by the book is an overstatement: I was merely disappointed.

I got Tangled Web at about the same time as Meant to Be. Tangled Web offers an interesting mix of thoughts and effects and was a great read, but to compare it to Meant to Be, which I was doing in my head, is unfair. After reading the initial work in Meant to Be, the basic routine, I realized that I didn't want to finish the book. It's an exhaustive and technical working of the trick, but I guess I was looking for more of the thoughts behind the effects and approaches or something, I'm not even sure what.

I don't know if this clarifies or not, but as I implied, drop by Magic Inc. in Chicago or Midwest Magic in Franklin Park, and I'll likely be in the crowd.
Message: Posted by: ryesteve (Jan 30, 2007 04:13PM)
On 2007-01-30 12:05, mrehula wrote:
It seems to be just one trick, with variations with that one trick, not the effect.
I would disagree with that. For the most part, you might say that it's one >method<, but the tricks seem fairly diverse, considering that they all have the method as their basis.

I'll be honest when I say that the method is probably well beyond my capabilities, but I still enjoyed reading the book and absorbing the routines.
Message: Posted by: bugjack (Jan 30, 2007 06:17PM)
I purchased this book last week and haven't formulated my reaction yet... I will say that the typos bothered me too. (Btw, I do edit professionally, so if anyone wants someone to give a once over to a magic book, please PM me -- I'd be happy to help if I have the time.)

One reason I'm waiting to post my reaction is that I feel I have to try the routine out before I comment on it, and I haven't had the time to get the effect down. That said, does anyone here perform the Meant to Be routine? Without going into the details of the methodology, I was a little bothered that the book didn't offer tips for finessing the effect if the card selected is not in the first three columns. (Those who have the book will know what I mean.) I mean, it's obvious what to do, even if it's not that elegant, but I still would have hoped for a bit of discussion about it.
Message: Posted by: Orvec (Jan 30, 2007 08:51PM)
I had mixed feelings about this book.

I appreciated the effects and methods. However, most of them weren't right for me.

If you are thinking seriously about adding the ACAAN plot to your repetoire, however, the 60$ is not an unreasonable investment.

The typos were a bother, but at the end, it is the content that counts - not that I'm advocating sloppy works, but in this case, for my copy that I have, nothing can be done about that.

Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Jan 31, 2007 12:19PM)
Hmm, I'm really torn about buying this. I do have intrest in a acaan, how does this compare to other methods
Message: Posted by: Platt (Jan 31, 2007 01:08PM)
Well, John says, "if you're interested in sleighty moves, this is not the book for you." That's funny because the primary technique featured in Meant to Be requires a very technical and meticulous sleight. It requires pinpoint accuracy which I must admit is too difficult for me to do without fumbling. Unfortunately, as mentioned by Merehula, John never really gets into the detailed finger finnesse necessary to pull off this exhaustive effort. Hmmm?

I think somebody should put out a book that is an unabridged collection of all the wild approaches to the ACAAN or CAAN plot. Everything from tabled doubles to stooges to Koran set-ups to second deals. Now that would be something. MTB is not a bad book. I do think it was mismarketed. Many of us may have bought this believing it would be more of a history book covering the infinite approaches to ACAAN through the years. That, it is not.

On a separate note, IMHO, Mike Rose's "The Grail" is still the one to beat.


Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Jan 31, 2007 01:41PM)
Thx platt maybe ill look at the grail then. 60 is a high prace tag for a non edited book. its hard to spend that much when something like tangled web is only like 40
Message: Posted by: Platt (Feb 2, 2007 10:00AM)
Having reread my posts here, I just want to make a few things clear.

First, you need not worry that the typos I mentioned are going to confuse you or make the book difficult to read. They are plentiful, but far from found on every page. That was an unfair exaggeration on my part.
As a writer, I was initially surprised by them, but don't let that keep you from purchasing Meant to Be.

Secondly, I don't want anyone to think the content in this book is bad. Like Coins Akira, the method and variations presented are something that results in beautiful, super clean magic. They're just not for me.

John is a passionate, creative guy with a well though out book. Somewhere in the long line of communication, I, and I'm sure many others, came to believe this book was going to be the ultimate collection of ACAAN. It's not. Nor do I believe John intended it to be.


Message: Posted by: Steve Haynes (Feb 2, 2007 11:58PM)
I enjoyed the book,but still prefer Ken Krenzel's handling from CLOSE UP IMPACT.(but using a memorized deck)Which is what Meant To Be is based on.
But I do like the dump move and the reverse memorized deck idea(Alan Ackerman)for even easier calculations that are revealed in the book.
By the way,the original Krenzel effect is in the book also.
In fact the Book is fowarded by Mr Krenzel.
After reading the book several times,i must say that I am very impressed with Mr Born's thinking on the many other effects that are in the book.
The Grail is a great,simple idea,but it's not a any card any number effect.
If I had only one book to learn A.C.A.A.N. it would be John's Book!.
P.S. Get the grail also,it's worth it.
Message: Posted by: bugjack (Feb 3, 2007 06:33AM)
After giving the book a quick initial read, my inclination is to just try and learn Krenzel's routine too. Like I said in an earlier post, the book strangely doesn't talk about the handling required if the chosen card isn't in the first three columns (and the majority of cards chosen do not lie in these columns). The Krenzel handling seems simpler as it doesn't stress the pinpoint accuracy that Born's does.

Like I also said earlier, I'm waiting to spend more time with the book before commenting further, but I'd be curious if anyone who has bought the book has learned and performed the "Meant to Be" routine and how it's gone.
Message: Posted by: kipling100 (Feb 3, 2007 06:13PM)
Bugjack, I'm not sure what you mean regarding the handling for cards not in the first three columns. I believe it is designed so that every card, if not on the 3 columns, is either 1 above or below, so it shouldn't take much more effort to get to those...
I think that at least one of the routines describes getting to one of those cards as an example.

Hope this helps,
Message: Posted by: bugjack (Feb 3, 2007 08:24PM)
Hi Kipling,

Thanks for your post. You are correct -- the cards not in the three columns are only off by one.

I went back and looked at the book and the "off by one" selection is discussed in "Premonitioned" and "Meant to Be." I had read the main section and then "ReBorned," and had expected to see this scenario come up when discussing the whole column system. When it didn't, I assumed that you were just supposed to figure out what to do.

My bigger comment remains, however. Like Platt, I would have liked to have read a bit more about the fingering and specific handling required to perform this smoothly and accurately.

Out of curiosity, do you perform this routine?


Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Feb 5, 2007 07:54AM)
That's a good question. I still have some interest in this, and do any of you that like this, use it?
Message: Posted by: JanForster (Feb 8, 2007 03:06AM)
Following the discussion here (and not only here...) I would like to make some comments.
I consider Meant to be as a superb book. Almost voted for it as book of the year.
Working on the theme of ACAAN more than 12 years I believe John's method comes as close as possible to the perfect solution using only one deck (may be followed by Ken Krenzel's Open and Shut Case, but using a mem deck). Until now I think it's the
best solution.
Some suggestions: I don't use any marks. To facilitate that for me I widened the card case by constructing a new case by cutting and glueing two cases together. Don't get me wrong you've to cut a lot. Finally you'll have a case may be 2 millimeters wider. Besides that I "secure" the case by putting lenthtwise a rubber band around it(ring). Pointing later to the rubber band and removing it gives me some more time to get the break...I remove the rubber band away from my body, so it will rest on my fingers of my right hand. Very easy. After dumping the cards I put the case in my left outer jacket pocket. At the end of the effect the counting spectator gets the cards as a gift. Therefore I will remove a second and ungimmicked card case from my same left pocket.
John's "formulas" to define the key card I abbreviate not minding to work with negative numbers. I guess many mem deck workers do. Always the given order bigger/smaller number I just look whether the result is positive or negative. If positive I add 1, if negative I add 52. Very short and very easy. Try it, I'm very pleased with it. Thanks again to John for giving us such a good input!
Message: Posted by: John Born (Feb 8, 2007 02:54PM)
First of all, I have to say that '07 MagiFest was a blast. Thanks to everyone that came up to say hi.

On a different note…There are a couple of posts that hinted at misunderstanding the purpose of Meant To Be, expecting a conglomeration of every possible way to hack at the ACAAN plot. If you are in search of methods with second deals, Koran decks, and nail writers, I would contend that the ACAAN plot is not for you.

Meant To Be… was written to exemplify creativity and to push the limits that separate art from craft through individual thinking and expression. The focus is not even on the method, rather, the systematic approach to reach a goal. Rather than simply discussing approach as armchair theory, I used the ACAAN plot as an example. Many of the contributions illustrate the same line of thought in development, and were therefore chosen.

This is very different than recognizing that one could put a double to the table or use second deals to result in a card at any number “trick.” Though this is the sort of book Platt may be looking for, another book of publishing methods because they are merely possible it is FAR from what the magic community needs, as that type of material does little for the progression of our art. To progress as students of magic, we must evolve in how we think about and approach our craft. We are more successful as thinkers, creators, and performers when we ask the right questions. My purpose is to encourage creativity through exemplifying a systematic thought process designed for those that search for higher ground.

Thanks Jan. Good advice. I really like the rubberband idea. Since this book’s release, I have developed many variations to this system that may be of interest to those that want to work with it. One includes box design variation that allows execution with no marks in a box with a standard witdth.

All the best,

John B. Born
Message: Posted by: Platt (Feb 8, 2007 08:55PM)
On 2007-02-08 15:54, John Born wrote:

Meant To Be… was written to exemplify creativity and to push the limits that separate art from craft through individual thinking and expression.
This is very different than recognizing that one could put a double to the table or use second deals to result in a card at any number “trick.” Though this is the sort of book Platt may be looking for, another book of publishing methods because they are merely possible it is FAR from what the magic community needs, as that type of material does little for the progression of our art.
John, I really don't mean to hammer away at you, but I couldn't disagree more with your above comments. Are you truly so presumptuous as to speak for the entire magic community by telling us a collection of (a)caan effects is [b]far[/b] from from what we need? Who are you to make such a claim? I've already received numerous emails from Café members stating that's exactly what they're looking for. You go on to state "that type of material does little for the progression of our art."

John, that's absurd. You should know that creativity is far more often than not a matter of building on what's already been done. Almost invariably, musicians, painters, authors, and yes, even magicians claim that their inspiration to further the art came from learning and embracing the vast history of what came before. So in the interest of furthering the (a)caan plot, I can't think of anything more valuable than laying out the numerous fascinating angles to this plot that so many creative minds have brought to the table.

I want to once again state that MTB is a fine book with a lot of great thinking. But please, let's put the precious "art vs. craft" and "higher ground" language aside. Be it a tabled double or a stack, art is what we make of it.
Message: Posted by: John Born (Feb 8, 2007 09:59PM)

With all due respect, you are talking nail writers, second deals, and Koran decks. You even recommend "The Grail" as THE solution, which is not even an ACAAN. The book either recognizes or explains over 50 versions of ACAAN and its predecessors. Brother, please move along to another section. Your wisdom, I'm sure, can be used elsewhere.

John B. Born
Message: Posted by: Daren (Feb 9, 2007 04:20PM)
Can someone please post a short review of the other effects included in this book?
Message: Posted by: fooksau (Feb 13, 2007 09:21PM)
Why not just take the cards out of the case using your system and use a quick pass or even cut to position the cards? I understand that your performance needs to deceive not only spectators but magicians as well. But to laymen would it really take away from the effect if you cut the cards once (pass) after you dumped them?
Message: Posted by: bugjack (Feb 13, 2007 10:36PM)
Whether you go for it or not, the book's premise involves the development of a "pure" effect, one that seems as close to real magic as possible. For Born, that requires that the cards be handled as minimally as possible after the selected card is named. There are other versions in the book that are less rigorous in approach.

You're right, a good magician can get a lot of stuff by a layman, but that's not really what Born's book is about.
Message: Posted by: G. Batson (Apr 12, 2007 02:10PM)
On 2007-02-08 21:55, Platt wrote:
(...to John Born) Are you truly so presumptuous as to speak for the entire magic community by telling us a collection of (a)caan effects is FAR from from what we need? Who are you to make such a claim?
Platt, You really can't argue with him...after all, he is JOHN BORN. I agree with you but you can't argue with someone with such rigid ideas. John's looking out for us.

I wouldn't worry John. Mike Close liked your book. That's all that matters, right?

Message: Posted by: John Born (Apr 12, 2007 04:18PM)
Hey Guys -

Finally back. Thanks to everyone in AL and FL for another successful tour. It was a real pleasure, and look forward to returning in the future.

Mr. Batson -

Thanks for your comments. If, by rigid ideas, you mean have clear goals and vision for something worthwhile, then yes, I very have rigid ideas. As for arguing, there was none.

John B. Born
Message: Posted by: Alex Linian (Apr 12, 2007 04:27PM)
On 2007-02-13 22:21, fooksau wrote:
Why not just take the cards out of the case using your system and use a quick pass or even cut to position the cards? I understand that your performance needs to deceive not only spectators but magicians as well. But to laymen would it really take away from the effect if you cut the cards once (pass) after you dumped them?
If thought of as a puzzle it would make no difference. But changing the moment of the shift affects timing which is an important factor in building anticipation during a performance.

John, I just wanted to add here that, while I have not read the book completely, I have taken a good look at it; I like its purpose and the way it is structured very much. Definitely not a "thrown together" project, or a simple collection of methods.
Message: Posted by: Jason Shapiro (Apr 13, 2007 07:57AM)
I love this book. Great lecture. Don't forget to come back to Atlanta as well.
Message: Posted by: paisa23 (May 13, 2007 10:09PM)
I'm ordering now from HP, only because I have a few other items that I need to get. John wish I was in Jersey this November when you get there.
Message: Posted by: DougNicols (Jun 1, 2007 02:55PM)
I'm absolutely loving the Meant To Be system, and ReBorn effect. I've spent about 60+ hours both memorizing the Mnemonica deck and perfecting ReBorn. After that much time, I can casually whip out my custom deck that uses White-Out for the marks (invisible to any spectator) and casually hand it over for the count without hardly thinking about the math or positioning at all.

I borrowed (stole?) the "old gambler" story from Darwin Ortiz and modified it to this particular effect. The retired gunfighter turns to gambling for a living since it's less risk. He meets a younger guy, talks about fate - then the younger cowboy counts the cards out, with the gambler's life in the balance. Strong Magic at its best, IMHO.

Great, great, great book, and well worth the $60 to me. Needless to say, it leaves behind some speechless, befuddled spectators. Staring at the cards and not saying a word for several seconds.
Message: Posted by: closeupcardician (Jun 8, 2007 04:03PM)
This is a wonderful book with some great Ideas from an all around great guy. Thanks John! His essay on creativity should be required reading for any of us interested in elevating magic as Art.
Message: Posted by: misterblack (Jun 22, 2007 10:56PM)
I would like to respond to a few comments in this thread that question whether the method of John's 'ACAAN' number is too difficult, highly fiddly, etc.

I am far - VERY far - from a sleight of hand master, and I have found this effect perfectly practical after a decent amount of practice. It's a fabulous effect which totally stuns people - well worth the effort.
Message: Posted by: John Born (Aug 13, 2007 02:40PM)
Hey guys!

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for coming to my lectures at the Midwest Magic Jubilee and the Magicelebration! Awesome times!

Yes, the rumors are true. My upcoming book has INSANE work on the ACAAN plot, among many many others. More to come...


John B. Born
Message: Posted by: Mike Melito (Aug 20, 2007 12:03PM)
Your lecture - great as always. I really appreciate your theory behind the tricks and building up a plot. This is so overlooked with many many performers. It truly is the difference between a trickster and a magician.
Message: Posted by: John Born (Jan 16, 2008 03:09PM)
Hey guys,

The reprint is in! Meant To Be is now available again.


John Born
Message: Posted by: bobn3 (Jan 17, 2008 10:52AM)
Hi all,

I was at Stevens Magic last Sat. and they had roughly a half dozen copies of this in.

Bob Phillips

Message: Posted by: Mind Guerrilla (Jan 21, 2008 12:27PM)
ACAAN is as good a mentalism card effect as they come.

I don't have the skill/dexterity to do card tricks but I'm sure this book is gold for those who do. I was mainly interested in the contributions by Banachek and Luke Jermay.

I thought the introductory "magician as artiste" stuff was a bit pretentious. Those who diagree are probably also bothered by my use of the term "card tricks." I'm not up on the politically correct artiste-approved term. :)

It's a book with very good prouction values. Looks and feels very good. If you're into that sort of thing. :)
Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Feb 3, 2008 01:01AM)
Old thread I know but I saw this at the local magic shop, before I buy id like to know if the full deck stack is a memorized stack and if so can any be used? I already have and use a memorized full deck order and I'm not interested currently in learning another
Message: Posted by: Magiman (Feb 3, 2008 01:51AM)
Yes, any mem deck will do
Message: Posted by: double_lift (Feb 3, 2008 03:34AM)
I recently ordered the "Meant To Be" book from John and I have to say that it's one of the most inspiring books I've ever read. And, although many methods for the ACAAN plot are discussed (among them, John's brilliant solution), without any doubt, the best part of it is the first 40 pages or so, which contain an in-depth essay on creativity.

Thanks, John
Message: Posted by: Magiman (Feb 3, 2008 02:46PM)
Try the Mike Powers version in the book...very clever (non-mem deck)
Message: Posted by: daver (Feb 3, 2008 07:29PM)
Any comparisons on this with Alain Nu's "Any Card" manuscript?
Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Feb 5, 2008 09:27AM)
On 2008-02-03 02:51, Magiman wrote:
Yes, any mem deck will do
cool, ill have to get on in a few weeks or so then. thank you
Message: Posted by: kent1985 (Feb 15, 2008 08:43PM)
Received this, and one word, amazing. I always thought ACAAN is all about prediction and possibilities, but when I saw john's work.. it's magic. I love the way he presented ACAAN.
Message: Posted by: magicwatcher2005 (Mar 7, 2008 12:33AM)
One of the best books I ever read
Message: Posted by: Verifythisnow (Mar 8, 2008 03:04PM)
Is this available in pdf form anywhere?
Message: Posted by: John Born (Mar 10, 2008 12:26AM)
I only offer this in book form.


Message: Posted by: Ben Train (Mar 12, 2008 08:34AM)
You wouldn't want this in pdf form. It's beautifully bound and put together, on heavy quality paper. You would lose all the charm.

I just received this book (like 2 days ago!) and have been [b]devouring[/b] it. It's got some great thinking, and a lot of historical background/additional sources to check out.

It contains the best mem-deck versions I have seen, and some of the best impromptu work on the subject as well (Paul Cummins, Barrie Richardson, etc).

Yes, there are some methods missing, but as John mentioned, the intent wasn't to chronicle [b]every[/b] version in print- it was to describe what John felt were the best methods available (to accomplish his specific goals).

Definitely worth checking out!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mindbender (Apr 1, 2008 01:09PM)
I think the book is terrific -- not just the effect, but for the focus on trying to gain as much impact with your effects as possible. Reading and thinking about techniques are fine, but I thoroughly enjoy reading and thinking about "thinking" and structure and presentation and impact. Well done John.

Regarding the "finger work", like someone mentioned earlier, I came upon the idea of rubber bands around the card case. I have one length wise and one width wise. I remove the length wise one first, then with my right hand in position, I use my left thumb on one side and left middle finger on the other to roll the rubber band off of the case. It takes 3 or 4 rolls to get the rubber band off - a perfectly natural action, a perfectly natural way to hold your right hand while this is going on -- providing you not only a little extra time, but also justifies looking at the case for a few brief glances (while you check your accuracy).

This book is not a quick read -- and that's good, because it's filled with plenty of interesting material from John and others. If I were to figure out the price versus the number of hours I've spent reading the material, well -- for me at least it's quite a bargain.
Message: Posted by: John Born (Apr 2, 2008 11:25AM)
Hey guys -

Thanks for the kinds words.

Small announcement - I have three books with a small defect on the inside (first page). I am gong to sell these for $40 postpaid. PM me if interested.


John B
Message: Posted by: ererer (Apr 2, 2008 05:46PM)
Someone mentioned a while back on this post that there was a perfect version for table hopping? I have read the whole book now but I don't think one specific method was given for table hoppers. The particular name of the effect would suffice thank you! Great book
Message: Posted by: organicmagician (Jan 28, 2009 07:47PM)
This book is stunning, beautifully assembled and one of the best books on magic I own. I love the effect - since I already use the Aronson stack, I was able to perform this effect almost immediately. I think I will have the handling down in a few weeks or months.

Anyone who appreciates books will enjoy the care that went into this production. The physical product is gorgeous, as described above. I love the paper, the binding and the cover. A class act. This is one of those items that will sell for $300 a few years after it goes out of print. I'm thinking of buying a few more just as an investment.

This is now near the top of the list of the things I wish no one else had. I'm going to have to get John's first book right away. Anyone who loves card magic that doesn't have this in their collection will deeply regret it.
Message: Posted by: GarySumpter (Feb 2, 2009 07:29AM)
Hi Guys,

Do any of you know if any of the dealers at Blackpool Convention in a few weeks will have this? I am thinking of buying it alongside pnemonica.

Many Thanks

Message: Posted by: ruland (Feb 4, 2009 04:09AM)
Hi all,
I also really like this book which is a masterpiece on the ACAAN effect. I'm currently working on this for some time but I really have problems in getting the break naturally.

The idea of rubber bands was mentioned several times and I like it because it secures the card box unless the cards are released.

But: if you want to do this effect without any additional rubber bands, how do you do it? who is performing this effect without rubber bands and how do you get the break without staring at the box?

Have a nice day!
Message: Posted by: organicmagician (Feb 4, 2009 11:54PM)
I just started doing this, but I have been performing it a lot in a casual setting to nail down the presentation and handling.

Others probably have a lot better advice (and John posts on here, so maybe he will chime in)...


I found its all much easier with as new a deck as possible. Also, I'm not sure if he suggests this method in the book, but I get/hold the spot with my thumb nail. I have a couple presentational points that facilitate getting where you need to be without (obvious) staring, but I don't want to come too close to tipping the method, so PM me if you want details.
Message: Posted by: The great Gumbini (Feb 27, 2009 07:25PM)
Well I just right now ordered my copy of Meant To Be and I'm looking forward to reading it. I will post a comment too when I get it and have read it. From what I've read here it sounds great. I'm excited.

Good magic to all,


Posted: Mar 10, 2009 1:59am
This is a good tip for anyone performing this effect. I just found a Sharpie White paint pen! It works great for what is needed and I thought this might help someone. I got mine at a hobby store and it works much better than a marker.

Good magic to all,

Message: Posted by: Eric Woods (Mar 16, 2009 02:51PM)
P. 179

That's all I'm Sayin'!
Message: Posted by: jsereb (Jul 31, 2009 08:37PM)
Just finished reading this...highly recommended. While the emphasis is on ACAAN, it really goes into many other applications of some of J. Born's "systems" (for lack of a better word). Love his chapters on f****s as well. Skill level is on the advanced side but very well written, well photographed, high quality binding. Good for mentalists as well as card-workers. I'd love to see Mr. Born in action!!
Message: Posted by: Mentalism (Aug 1, 2009 03:19AM)
Hi John

when will you release your new book with your new ACAAN Version?


Message: Posted by: hbwolkov (Aug 1, 2009 05:26PM)
Meant To Be will be a very hard act to follow. It is good to hear another book is in the works.
Message: Posted by: John Born (Aug 1, 2009 10:20PM)
Hi all -

Thank you for you kind words.

Here is a quick update - I have a new book release that will be in hand in two months. More info on this will be released shortly.

The follow-up to Meant To Be is a separate project. It is well on its way, but will not be in hand for several more months.

All the best,


John B
Message: Posted by: mimo67 (Aug 10, 2009 01:38PM)
That's great news John ! I hope those releases will be as fast as possible ;-)
Message: Posted by: drphil (Sep 6, 2009 12:15AM)
I thought the book was great,Can't wait for the new work by john. for me page 241 of meant to be was just what I needed.
Message: Posted by: Rpascual (Sep 6, 2009 08:00AM)
John just wondering I won't need meant to be to understand your new book?
Message: Posted by: John Born (Sep 9, 2009 05:28PM)
Hi Rpascual -

The new book is on an entirely different topic. More to come on this...


John B. Born

Posted: Mar 26, 2010 2:46pm
Hello all -

Within one month my booklet on the Modern ACAAN will be available. This exposes bar none my favorite solution for having a spectator name any card and name any number - and making it happen with all the conditions offered in Meant To Be and then some. I have actually been sitting on this for several years, and have finally decided to share its secret. Will keep you posted.


John Born
Message: Posted by: Andi Peters (Mar 26, 2010 05:45PM)
I bet you've been keeping this under your hat, or should I say beret!
Message: Posted by: fyi2 (Mar 27, 2010 01:53PM)
Jon I have meant to be and with your modern ACAAN does it still need the box preparation. That is the one thing that stops me with your ACAAN. However even with that your book is great teaching and a wonderful book to own.


Posted: Mar 27, 2010 2:55pm
Jon, just check your site and I can't find Modern ACAAN, has it been released?

Message: Posted by: Mentalism (Mar 28, 2010 07:19AM)
@ Tony as he mentioned a few before he will release it nex month in April I guess.

Message: Posted by: doriancaudal (Mar 28, 2010 08:43AM)
What is going to be the difference with the MTB System?
Message: Posted by: John Born (Mar 29, 2010 12:54PM)
Hey guys - thanks for your interest! Details coming soon...

Message: Posted by: Andi Peters (Mar 29, 2010 05:17PM)
No problem John. I'll be the first in the queue.

One question for you. Why do you wear a hat all the time?

All the best

Message: Posted by: John Born (Mar 30, 2010 12:01PM)
Hi Tony -

No this technique does not have a hole in the box. There is still a slight box alteration, but definitely not in a way a spectator would see as "gaffed" as in the Meant To Be system. This alteration can be also be made on the spot in the matter of two seconds without scissors, etc.

Another strong perk is that the deck is completely normal before and after (no edge-markings or shaved cards). Finally, it is easier to execute and the average person will find it more reliable with less practice (does not feature a dump system that some found knacky, but rather an extremely consistent/deceptive load system). It is really a strong tool for those that are not even interested in ACAAN (regarding formal presentations and jazzing).

Also, for those of you that do use the Meant To Be system, I am including a bonus - an alteration in handling to execute it without edge-marked cards. However, this will only make sense for those that own Meant To Be.

Mr. Peters - Several reasons as a performer. But overall I'm just a hat kind of guy.

John B
Message: Posted by: Bosco J. (Mar 30, 2010 05:52PM)

I already enjoy your original methods in Meant to be. It will be great to see how this "Modern" version make the routine easier to execute.

Looking forward to hearing more on this.

Message: Posted by: Harald (Mar 31, 2010 01:46AM)
Meant to be is a great little beautiful book. I will be happy to buy your new one. Can't wait.
Message: Posted by: JanForster (Mar 31, 2010 10:42AM)
On 2010-03-30 18:52, Bosco J. wrote:

I already enjoy your original methods in Meant to be. It will be great to see how this "Modern" version make the routine easier to execute.

Looking forward to hearing more on this.

Dito! :) Jan
Message: Posted by: MrPrestoHypno (Apr 1, 2010 07:53AM)
Congrats on the book, all your contest wins, all your lectures tours and your success John! From a dumb club competition to this... You've come a long ways and I personally knew this is the success you could attain with more achievement to come in the future . Keep up the incredible work John.

Rick Pugh
Message: Posted by: John Born (Apr 8, 2010 10:04AM)
Hi all -

Thanks for the kind words on this project.

Just wanted to give a heads up. Only 100 left in stock...

John Born
Message: Posted by: doriancaudal (Apr 8, 2010 11:25AM)
100 of your new ACAAN plot book? I cannot find it on your website! When will it be released?
Message: Posted by: John Born (Apr 8, 2010 12:12PM)
Hey Dorian -

I'm sorry if this was misguiding - 100 left of Meant To Be. The new booklet will be up for pre-order in a week or so, and available soon after.


Message: Posted by: Mentalism (Apr 15, 2010 10:53AM)
Hi John

any Update for your pre-order of ACAAN booklet?


Message: Posted by: Dompa (Apr 30, 2010 04:09AM)
Can't wait for this one to be released...any news so far?
Message: Posted by: Josh Chaikin (Apr 30, 2010 11:42AM)
Looks like this is something else I'm going to have to purchase...curse you John, curse you!
Message: Posted by: mayniac (Apr 30, 2010 02:43PM)
On 2010-04-30 05:09, Dompa wrote:
Can't wait for this one to be released...any news so far?
It's already released...
Message: Posted by: kipling100 (Apr 30, 2010 06:37PM)
On 2010-04-30 15:43, mayniac wrote:
On 2010-04-30 05:09, Dompa wrote:
Can't wait for this one to be released...any news so far?
It's already released...

I think we're all waiting on his updated ACAAN booklet (not Meant to Be)
Message: Posted by: Dompa (May 2, 2010 08:41AM)
[quote]I think we're all waiting on his updated ACAAN booklet (not Meant to Be[/quote]

I'm sorry! As kipling100 said, I'm waiting for the upcoming book as well.
Message: Posted by: John Born (May 13, 2010 04:32PM)
Hello everyone -

I am proud to announce that the new booklet is now available for pre-order at http://www.JohnBorn.com.

All the best,

John B. Born
Message: Posted by: JanForster (May 13, 2010 08:29PM)
John, thanks for the information, already ordered. Jan
Message: Posted by: Dompa (May 14, 2010 05:23AM)
I sent my money as well. Can't wait to get my copy of "The Flip Shift"!

John, you said that it is just available as a pre-order. Can you please tell me (us) the release date!?!
Message: Posted by: overflow72 (May 15, 2010 05:50AM)
........received yesterday in Italy. I can only say: fantastic!

Message: Posted by: Mentalism (May 15, 2010 06:26AM)
?? I thought it is a pre order, so how is it possible to get it soo soon and fast???
Ordered mine today and can not wait.

Perhaps somebody can write a review?


Message: Posted by: doriancaudal (May 15, 2010 06:29AM)
I ordered it the day before yesterday in France, cannot wait to receive it :) it seems to be a little jewel!
Message: Posted by: John Born (May 15, 2010 10:48AM)
Hello all -

Thanks for all of the interest. I believe overflow was referring to Meant To Be, because The Flip Shift is not yet available. I am expecting it to ship in about two-three weeks from now.

All the best,

John B
Message: Posted by: Dompa (May 17, 2010 12:37PM)
[quote]I am expecting it to ship in about two-three weeks from now[/quote]

Good news!
Message: Posted by: overflow72 (May 17, 2010 04:27PM)
On 2010-05-15 11:48, John Born wrote:
Hello all -

Thanks for all of the interest. I believe overflow was referring to Meant To Be, because The Flip Shift is not yet available. I am expecting it to ship in about two-three weeks from now.

All the best,

John B

Ohhh yes, excuse me if I was not clear. I bought "Meant to Be..."

Message: Posted by: Bobby Forbes (May 23, 2010 12:38PM)
Got my order in. This guy is awesome. Baker's Bested is going to be hard to beat. Cant wait to check this one out!
Message: Posted by: Dompa (Jun 6, 2010 01:41PM)
[quote]Any updates on this?[/quote]

Same question that makes me impatient. Can't wait to get the additional booklet!
Message: Posted by: Josh Chaikin (Jun 6, 2010 02:09PM)
Appears to be in this thread now:

Message: Posted by: Dompa (Jun 7, 2010 08:48AM)
Message: Posted by: John Born (Jun 23, 2010 04:58PM)
Hello everyone -

Just got an email today from the printer that the Flip Shift is finished and on its way.


John Born
Message: Posted by: Josh Chaikin (Jun 23, 2010 05:12PM)
Great news. Thanks for the update.
Message: Posted by: Bobby Forbes (Jun 23, 2010 05:26PM)
Great news
Message: Posted by: wizban (Jun 26, 2010 05:17AM)
Hi all

I've ordered Meant to be a week ago and I can't wait to receive it :)

greetings from Italy.

Message: Posted by: John Born (Mar 30, 2012 12:32PM)
Hey guys - just a quick announcement that my next book is in the works, and should be finished in the next two to three months. This project is dedicated to innovative routines, motivations, and concepts for the memorized deck, as well as some assorted stack work. For years I have been using these as my go to tools to fry magicians after lectures and at conventions, and this is the project it has been building up to. More to come as things are wrapped up.


John Born
Message: Posted by: brehaut (Mar 30, 2012 12:43PM)
On 2012-03-30 13:32, John Born wrote:
Hey guys - just a quick announcement that my next book is in the works, and should be finished in the next two to three months. This project is dedicated to innovative routines, motivations, and concepts for the memorized deck, as well as some assorted stack work. For years I have been using these as my go to tools to fry magicians after lectures and at conventions, and this is the project it has been building up to. More to come as things are wrapped up.


John Born

Very excited---where will you be selling this?
Message: Posted by: John Born (Oct 19, 2012 02:15PM)
Update: The new book, Seeking the Bridge, is finished and has been sent to the printer. Should be in hand within 5 weeks. Really excited about this one.

All the best,

John Born
Message: Posted by: Mentalism (Nov 13, 2012 03:52PM)
Is inside the book also a new version of ACAAN?


Message: Posted by: John Born (Nov 15, 2012 09:59AM)
Yes, I offer a variation of Al Baker's ACAAN that I absolutely love. However, I want to stress that the focus of the book is not just on ACAAN as was most of Meant To Be. This piece is just one of many different types of effects and presentations in the latest project.


John Born
Message: Posted by: John Born (Nov 16, 2012 12:32PM)
Update: My latest book, Seeking the Bridge, is shipping to me from the printer on the 19th. One week left to take advantage of the pre-order bonus (a free copy of The Flip Shift).


John B