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Topic: Can you Help Me Prioritize These 4 Books?
Message: Posted by: KenRyan (Nov 15, 2014 10:45PM)
I am now in possession of 4 of the books that others have recommended and that turned up frequently in the Sticky thread on Recommended Books for Beginners. In my excitement, I feel like I don't know where to start. Can some experienced folks help me out on this? I already started The Tarbell Course (60 Lessons -1st edition, 1920, Harlan Tarbell later reprinted). And I've read certain parts of "The Discoverie of Witchcraft." Today I acquired Mark Wilson's Complete Course In Magic and Modern Coin Magic, by J.B. Bobo.

If you were asked to rank these in order of value for teaching impact, what would you say? Or maybe there is a book you would suggest that isn't in this list that should be?

I don't necessarily plan to read them in series. Clearly, the Tarbell Course is much more than a "book," and isn't designed to be read in one contiguous go. I'm just trying to get a general idea how to prioritize the learning resources I currently have? To get the most out of what I have in the most efficient way.

I've gotten so much great advice so far. I'm really motivated.


Message: Posted by: MVoss (Nov 16, 2014 12:02AM)
Tarbell and Complete Course are both large overviews of many genre's of magic. I think Tarbell has more performance philosophy, and Complete Course has lightly more modern versions of classic material. I think if you've started in Tarbell, then stick with that. I can't speak to Modern Coin Magic, but if it is a genre specific book, then you might be better off on waiting. But, if Modern Coin Magic has a lot of performance philosophy, or you really like coin magic, then it might be worth taking some time in that. The Discoverie of Witchcraft is a historical book, interesting, but not very useful in teaching you modern magic. So, I would but The Discoverie of Witchcraft on the shelf and save that for a while. But this is all just one mans opinion.
Message: Posted by: KenRyan (Nov 16, 2014 12:48AM)
OK, great. Thanks MVoss!

Message: Posted by: MVoss (Nov 16, 2014 12:58AM)
[quote]On Nov 16, 2014, KenRyan wrote:
OK, great. Thanks MVoss!

Ken [/quote]
No problem, best of luck.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Nov 17, 2014 05:43PM)
Tarbell first. Wilson to fill in ideas that are not clicking with Tarbell. Or use whichever works best with your thinking style. I use Wilson more, but there are more tricks in Tarbell.

Bobo when you decide you want to work with coins, though many of the sleights will work with any small object.

Discovery is for historical reference when it seems relevant.

Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Nov 17, 2014 06:11PM)
Do stay away from any of my books, definitely!!! HL.
Message: Posted by: KenRyan (Nov 17, 2014 09:35PM)
Thanks Mr.Woolery! Harry, why would you say to stay away from your books?

Message: Posted by: MGordonB (Nov 17, 2014 09:54PM)
Can't comment on Tarbell as I have not read these ( although I know I should ).
Mark Wilson's book is excellent. Large format, very easy to follow diagrams walk you through each trick.
I find Bobo's book hard to follow.
Harry Lorayne's The Magic Book is also very good. While Wilson shows you the trick, Lorayne provides extra context to help you present it more effectively.
You should also check out Royal Road to Card Magic.
Message: Posted by: LoveKey1988 (Nov 20, 2014 06:02AM)
Harry is just using reverse pyschology on you ;))

[quote]On Nov 17, 2014, KenRyan wrote:
Thanks Mr.Woolery! Harry, why would you say to stay away from your books?

Ken [/quote]
Message: Posted by: KenRyan (Nov 20, 2014 11:52AM)
I see:). Well I will not comply with his request. But I'll have to wait until I've finished Tarbell before I move forward with this non-compliance;).

Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Nov 20, 2014 01:02PM)
Doc TARBELL'S COURSE "came out" in the '20s. The "patter" suggested with the various tricks is ARCHAIC. Skim it, and forget it! The skills, paychology, and philosophy will give you good basic knowledge which you need, IF your are going to perform.

I first read Tarbell in 1946. I met Tarbell in 1950. I saw him perform in 1958. Tarbell knew what he was talking about!

Tarbell is on my reference shelf, for a reason! BTW: When Karrell Fox died, he had disposed of his large library. --EXCEPT for Tarbell, and Rice's "Encyclopedia of Silk Magic".

You wont live long enough to try performing all of the tricks described, but you will know the principles involved. --That, can save you a lot of $$$$$$$!

Stay focussed! There are a "gezillion" books about magic! (Hey! I just wrote one,too!)--I have patience! Read Doc's Course first. After Tarbelll, you'll have the knowledge (AND THE WISDOM!) to make decisions about "specializing". (Medical students first study the basics! Then, they may specialize.)

The Café is "full" of magician wannabees who think that a certain trick (read: PROP!) will get them a Las Vegas contract! There really aint no "fast track".
Message: Posted by: charliemartin (Nov 20, 2014 01:43PM)
The Magic Book is an excellent start to your path in magic. Doc Eason started with this book from a recommendation from Bob Sheets if I don't recall correctly.
Message: Posted by: KenRyan (Nov 20, 2014 02:12PM)
Thanks again Dick. Yes, I had already noticed that Tarbell's patter wouldn't work for me for several reasons. Firstly, many of the routines call for you to borrow somebody's handkerchief or cigarette or silver dollar. It's rare that anyone carries these things around anymore (well, maybe the cigarettes). Also though, there are some cultural things that were not so frowned upon in the 20s as they are today - certain comments that joke about race, etc. But I am keeping on-task with Tarbell first. I appreciate your hammering that home:). I was actually just practicing doing something with a new coin, just to see if I could do it with the larger size, and someone saw it and said "whoa!" THAT was cool:). I didn't even know she was watching. I was just sort of doing a quick test and didn't realize how cool it looked "from the other side" since I am nowhere near ready to perform on any level even to my friends or family. One of the many reasons to practice in the mirror, for sure. But even doing it that way, after I have practiced the same move for the 2 hundredth time, the technique has gotten much better, but my mind gets so focused on doing it right that it's easy to forget how awesome it looks to someone seeing it for the FIRST time. It was a good reminder.

Anyway, I'm blathering. Thanks again for the advice and encouragement!


Posted: Nov 20, 2014 03:25 pm - Thanks Charlie! That will be the first Harry Lorayne book I get.

Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Nov 20, 2014 05:50PM)
Boy! You got a long way to go!!
Message: Posted by: KenRyan (Nov 20, 2014 08:18PM)
A journey of 1,000 miles....:).

Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Nov 20, 2014 08:51PM)
....starts with one step.!