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Topic: Divine?
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Feb 4, 2014 12:33PM)
It's a very big title: "Divine." When you see it (if you're like me) you weigh it. Colin McLeod has a reputation as an innovator, an original thinker -- one of the influential designers. But...'Divine?' Hmmm.

I placed my order in November -- and, thanks to Canada Customs -- didn't get it until mid January. By this time, this book was no longer a "hot" topic because people had read it, talked about it and moved on to the new Latest Greatest Offering. Besides...it was released shortly after the hottest book of the year: "The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy: Volume Two." That's a pretty big shadow.

Since I'd already been through AM2 several times, I opened Divine and settled in to read. The same thought re-occurred to me: "Divine?" It was with a little mental sniff that I read through the introduction by Patrick Redford telling me what a swell fellow Colin is...and how likely it is that this book is to rock my performing world. I've met Colin once or twice and sure...he's a nice guy. And I've watched his posts here on the Café, where he's doing mentalism in a mall and I very much like his style. I saw mentalists lined up at MindVention, money in hand, to purchase "Zen."

So...I'm reading the first few pages he's written and I'm sitting a little straighter. Colin's explaining about how he places an emphasis on simplicity of execution -- and how each effect is relentlessly under renovation...being honed to make it better -- to eliminate the things that don't quite feel right. I can relate to this. And I respect it, too.

As I read I realize that I really am sharing thoughts with a brilliant mind that has wrestled with the same things I do: how can the Invis**le Deck be presented more powerfully? Is there a way to perform MultiDi**nsional's die cube that will blow people away? How about Hugo Shelley's Sixth S*nse 2.5? A TOD that the audience only imagines? (Okay. I NEVER imagined that one.)

But as I read these short little chapters, it really feels like I'm sitting sharing a pint with Colin. These ideas are fresh and exciting and even more importantly, they spur other concepts in my mind...different angles to take these routines on.

But "ways to use props you already have" is only a fragment of what you'll find in this book.

There are routines designed with such simplicity that you'll find yourself thinking about Corinda and Annemann. These effects will play well on-stage OR close-up...and you're going to completely understand the mechanics of most of them after just a few minutes. In each of the routines, there's painstaking attention paid to nuance -- the little scripting touches that transform a good effect into a brilliant one. I like that a lot. There's a sense McLeod is always seeking to maximize the impact in the eyes of the audience. I like that too.

I even read the chapters detailing card effects. And I hate card effects.

Yup. The routines are remarkable and they really do crackle with fresh thinking.

But you know where the book REALLY shines? It's when McLeod shares his ideas about mentalism...how he structures his effects and builds a show...why he does the things he does with Q and A...delightfully concise ideas about scripting and the critical importance paid to the Little Things Most Of Us Ignore. This is a smart guy, completely devoted to mastering his craft -- and I am very pleased he's sharing so much with the community -- with such a generous honesty.

This book is going to teach you something. It's going to challenge you and it's going to make you raise your own bar.

It's been said that good things come in threes. First there was "Unreal" by Bruce Bernstein, that still leaves me a little breathless at the audacious brilliant thinking. Then there was Cassidy's AM2 -- a mastercourse in the presentation of mentalism. Now there's Divine, an unpretentious utterly brilliant book...with a perfect title.

Message: Posted by: Michael_MacDonald (Feb 4, 2014 12:59PM)
All I can say is wow.....

I guess I will need to read this one
Message: Posted by: JanForster (Feb 4, 2014 01:04PM)
Thanks, David, excellent review and so true. Regarding the three books you mentioned: as mentalists we had a good time recently :). Jan
Message: Posted by: Alwow (Feb 4, 2014 01:54PM)
David, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I will be meeting Colin soon and will hopefully be able to pick one of these up in person from him.

It doesn't surprise me that this book is a gem.
Message: Posted by: Colin (Feb 4, 2014 05:24PM)
Truly mumbled reading this.

So pleased it's making a positive difference.

Utterly overwhelmed at the response to it and how quickly I've had to get more printed.

Everyone who has bought it, I think you're wonderful. Those who have preordered it, I'll get them to you ASAP!

Again, thank you David and everyone.

Message: Posted by: tpratt38 (Feb 4, 2014 06:23PM)
I am half way through Divine, I like that is not just effects it how to create your own presentation, and take a concept and feed and grow it into your own. It sparks a lot creation for you to be able to DIVINE something new. I like the title I don't feel it is to mean divine a thought of the spectator but to Divine your own thought process and performance.

Thanks for the great inspiration Colin.

Message: Posted by: twistedace (Feb 4, 2014 06:39PM)
Man, I need to stop reading glowing reviews like this. I'm going to be broke. I know I need it based off of how good Opening Minds was.
Message: Posted by: Looch (Feb 5, 2014 06:40AM)
Its a great book. I finished reading it a couple weeks back and am glad I bought it from Colin!
Message: Posted by: JoshLondonMagic (Feb 23, 2014 11:08PM)
I'm going to be placing my order very soon!!! Any chance someone can give a list of the contents?

Message: Posted by: Eddie Garland (Feb 24, 2014 01:21AM)
I bought it from Colin at his over the top ultra cool Tannen's lecture in NYC.
I love this book. Truly a treasure.
He tried to convince me that if the lecture was successful that I would not need the book but he was being modest :)
The book is brilliant and I can't wait for his next.
Message: Posted by: Alwow (Mar 5, 2014 12:10AM)
Don't believe anything that anyone has said in this thread. This book isn't possibly Colin's best commercial release to date. This book won't inspire you to be more creative and an individual or help develop your own performance style. This book won't help you to look at the tools you have and examine why you are using them a certain way and show you that door you somehow missed to use them a entire new way. You won't get half way through the book and think holy crap there really is some great stuff here!

(Here's to hoping you believe the statement above and only a few buy this gem)

P.S. Thanks Colin. Look forward to talking to you soon my friend.
Message: Posted by: KPPfeiffer (Mar 5, 2014 01:47PM)
David Thiel: wonderful review! It did'nt motivate me to buy the book though. Because when I saw an ad on here, I IMMEDIATELY ordered the book. I know and admire Colins work. I got the message that the book would be only available in March. So I assumed it would arrive at the end of March or even later. Wrong! It arrived today. I'm very happy.
And only now I came across this thread and read your review which helps me to study the book.
Thank you David and THANK you Colin!
Message: Posted by: brehaut (Mar 5, 2014 02:09PM)
Ordered this not too long ago. Am very excited to get my hands on it.
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Mar 5, 2014 08:58PM)

Your review inspired me to purchase Divine. Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed and useful review.
Message: Posted by: rockmartian (Mar 6, 2014 10:07PM)
This book is indeed beyond fantastic. I am using several bits from the book already, and getting great results. The only thing that saddens me is that it can now be bought via the flightless bird's shop. I don't want anyone else to have it. :(
Message: Posted by: elimagic (Mar 6, 2014 11:36PM)
On Mar 6, 2014, rockmartian wrote:
This book is indeed beyond fantastic. I am using several bits from the book already, and getting great results. The only thing that saddens me is that it can now be bought via the flightless bird's shop. I don't want anyone else to have it. :(

I was slightly disappointed by this as well...
Message: Posted by: Jamie D (Mar 7, 2014 05:36AM)
As was I, all the power to Colin tho but I do wish it stayed more exclusive. The book itself is filled with wonderful bits, especially Colin's take on the which hand ploy, his idea is simply brilliant. The book really does make you open up your mind on the way to present your routines and so far, I'd have to say that this has been one of the best purchases I've made so far this year.
Message: Posted by: Colin (Mar 7, 2014 08:12PM)
Thanks for the positive feedback guys!

The reality is that my number one reason for releasing stuff is to make a positive difference to the art of mentalism.

What I discuss in the book goes beyond the effects, beyond the importance of being unique and actually shares how to be creative and stand out as a performer. In my opinion, the more people who read that and adopt that approach, the more mentalism will grow and it will no longer be, in some places, a tirade of mentalists doing the exact same material.

... For that reason, the more the book is available, the more we're all going to be standing out sooner.

You're all wonderful and I cannot thank you enough for your support. It is overwhelming and utterly appreciated.

Message: Posted by: rockmartian (Mar 8, 2014 09:06AM)
Good thoughts Colin. And honestly, almost anyone these days actually picking up a book and reading it, are probably going to treat these thoughts and tools with the respect they deserve.
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Mar 8, 2014 08:12PM)
The postman brought Divine yesterday. Thank you for autographing my book, Colin :)