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Topic: Eric Samuels’ new book -
Message: Posted by: Blindside785 (Dec 30, 2020 11:27PM)
I remember watching his lecture on Luca’s FB page, this guy knows his stuff. I’m excited to check it out.


Here is the blurb.
I began to write this book nearly 5 years ago with the intention of completing it within a few months. But months soon became years as the content expanded significantly. Around the 3-year mark the realization hit that, despite my love of writing, it was unlikely that I would ever take on another book of this scope and magnitude. So, I decided to include almost all of my original material – including my closer which has garnered standing ovations across the globe for over a decade.

If you’re already familiar with my work then you likely know this: when I release something to the community, I want performers to know exactly what they’re spending their hard-earned money on. So I’ve avoided highly edited video demos, hyperbolic ad copy, and unrealistic product claims. In fact, I offer no-obligation private product tours of items like BOX-X and TableVision, during which I demonstrate precisely how it works and what it can and cannot be expected to do. My motivation comes from the many times I’ve anxiously waited for a product to arrive in the mail, only to open it and experience a feeling of utter disappointment. Hence my goal; when you receive something of mine, I’d like the only surprise to be a pleasant one!

To that end, here’s my best effort to honestly describe the contents of this book:

Setting the Stage: Content & Character for the Stage Mentalist is comprised of two distinct sets of chapters: Centre Stage and Backstage.

Centre Stage chapters are original routines which I've performed. There are 33 routines in the book, very few of which have been previously released. A handful do involve the use of specific items, including what I would describe as high-end tech; while in other instances, the referenced item may be difficult to find. In these cases, I have tried to offer alternative methodological options. That said, It's my hope and intention that even in the case of a routine which you may never perform, the structure, thinking, and subtleties will inspire ideas that you can apply elsewhere.

There are twenty-seven Backstage chapters, which deal with the off-stage aspects of being a performer. And while Setting the Stage is a book primarily intended for the stage mentalist, I am confident that these chapters apply, equally, to anyone who performs, regardless of venue, content, or style. Backstage chapters deal with wide-ranging issues from character development, to set structure, scripting, rehearsal, mindset, marketing, media, and a host of other topics which I believe to be essential to being the best performer that we can be.

The physical book is something we spent a great deal of time designing and printing (with help from Phill Smith). From the unique cover to the 420-pages of text and images, this is a book that I wanted to be proud of in both content and design. It is not intended as a limited edition, but because of the unexpectedly high production time and cost, I will, for the first time, be offering a pre-release sale, so that I can accurately judge how many books to print for the release.

Alas, Setting the Stage is not a book for everyone. No book is. But whether you are a serious hobbyist, part-time worker, or full-time Pro, it is my hope that it provides you with solid, usable content, thought-provoking ideas, and a bit of inspiration to take things to whatever the next level might be on your journey.


To date, only five people from our community have been invited to read the book. To say that I have been blown away by their response would be an understatement! Here’s a sample of what they had to say:

“…this is the book I wish would’ve been smart enough to write at some point in my career. Eric captures everything beautifully, in perfect detail and it is shared in a style that will convince you that you’re in the presence of a master. You are about to understand the evolution of not only fresh ideas, but, more importantly, how to become a mentalist people want to watch.”

Colin Mcleod (excerpt from the foreword to the book)
“I have a special shelf for books that I have referred to throughout my career and on it are "Maximum Entertainment", "Stunners Plus", "The 7 Habits of highly effective people" and a few select others. This book is going on the shelf next to them. You not only learn strong material and methods, but more importantly you learn lessons that can be applied to anything you do. Fantastic!"

Craig Filicetti, ProMystic
“Most magic books give you the “how”. This book gives you the “why”— in intense detail. Making this book, from a full-time pro, intensely valuable.”

Ken Weber, author: Maximum Entertainment 2.0
“In the decade I've known Eric he's never delivered less than 100% on anything. Whether it's keynote performances for his corporate clients, game-changing products for his growing list of demanding customers or practical advice about scripting and presentation for the fortunate magicians and mentalists for whom he consults-- the work is never less than clear, compelling and commercial. Setting the Stage is no different. There are lots of books filled with routines that a performer can use to "build a reputation", but Setting the Stage with its mix of routines and essays joins the pantheon of works like Ken Weber's "Maximum Entertainment" and Chuck Hickok's "Mentalism Incorporated" that allows a performer to build a career. It is overflowing with great effects, important details, and a humour that carries the reader along on a wild ride.”

Dave Moses – Television Writer/Producer
“Setting the Stage is a Masterclass in complete thinking. Every routine has been clearly thought out, refined and presented in a concise way. Eric conjures not only original, meaningful themes that your audiences will immediately relate to, but delivers methods, structure and humour that will leave them thoroughly entertained and, ultimately, blown away!”

Bro Gilbert

"Eric is an exceedingly rare discovery in the world of mentalism. A guy who has been out there, in the wild, working hard on creating strong, original, and high impact material for real world performance. Even rarer is his desire, which defies both reason and logic, to be generous enough to share the inner details of his discoveries and creations with the rest of us. Eric shares lessons, insight, and discoveries all of which have been earned the hard way in countless professional performances. Sit back, keep your eyes, ears and brain open and learn from someone who has much to teach."

Luke Jermay

"Whilst theory is useful & can inspire, it is the methods and presentations used whilst actually in the trenches that count. Eric presents commercial streamlined effects with charm and ingenious methods; his passion is inspiring and his execution thoroughly entertaining."

Marc Spelmann
Message: Posted by: magicman02 (Jan 4, 2021 10:51PM)
Best book on mentalism in the 21st century.
Message: Posted by: Seluj (Jan 5, 2021 01:28AM)
According to the shop, the book is "in stock" - but in the text presentation, he writes about a pre-release sale. Is the pre-release over ?
Message: Posted by: the Sponge (Jan 5, 2021 06:48AM)
[quote]On Jan 5, 2021, Seluj wrote:
According to the shop, the book is "in stock" - but in the text presentation, he writes about a pre-release sale. Is the pre-release over ? [/quote]
Pre means before. The book has been released, so...
Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Jan 5, 2021 09:32AM)
Apologies for any confusion with the conflicting website copy - which has now been updated.
The book is in stock and shipping within 1-business day of all orders.

Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Jan 5, 2021 09:46AM)
Eric - is this going to be a limited run or indefinite printing? Definitely want to pick it up but can't right now.
Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Jan 5, 2021 10:07AM)
[quote]On Jan 5, 2021, WitchDocChris wrote:
Eric - is this going to be a limited run or indefinite printing? Definitely want to pick it up but can't right now. [/quote]

Hey Chris,

Good question.

While I am not calling this a limited edition, because of the high printing cost and minimum copy requirement of my printer, it is not clear whether or not a second printing will be viable.
So, inventory is good for the immediate future, but I can't speak beyond what is currently in-hand.
Sorry to be so vague, but this has been a beast to get to market!

Message: Posted by: scalito (Jan 5, 2021 02:33PM)
Eric...In addition to the 'high end tech', how many of the routines require p** s***, st****s or du** re****y?

Thanks..... Scalito
Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Jan 5, 2021 02:48PM)
I will do my best to decode your question, scalito!

= On the few occasions that I do reference tech methods, I always try to offer a non-tech options.
I mention tech methods if I believe that option to be the cleanest and most reliable way to achieve something.
But the book leans heavily on fundamentals applied in some new and creative ways.

= There is no P.S. - certainly not in the standard definition/principle.
In other words, no prior audience interaction.
As much as I am a fan of its potential, as a (mainly) corporate performer I rarely have any interaction with my audience prior to the show. So it's simply not practical for me.

= D.S. I can only think of one instance that I use anything of this ilk and it's a minor component of an overall effect.

= If St***s refers to Curly et al - it's something that I reference, but never use as a method.

Hope that's clear...I'm still confused ;)
Message: Posted by: scalito (Jan 5, 2021 05:49PM)
Thanks Eric.....If D.S. means D.R. then we're on the same page!! Sounds great... Scalito
Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Jan 5, 2021 06:02PM)
[quote]On Jan 5, 2021, scalito wrote:
Thanks Eric.....If D.S. means D.R. then we're on the same page!! Sounds great... Scalito [/quote]

Oops, yes it does mean D.R.
I'm not very good with all this secret code stuff...would make a terrible spy ;)
Message: Posted by: Chollet (Jan 6, 2021 09:20PM)
Since we are speaking in code at this point, all I will say is GTFB! It's wonderful :)
Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Jan 7, 2021 02:50PM)
[quote]On Jan 6, 2021, Chollet wrote:
Since we are speaking in code at this point, all I will say is GTFB! It's wonderful :) [/quote]

:rotf: :beatingheart:
Message: Posted by: dmoses (Jan 11, 2021 11:35AM)
As I'm quoted in the blurb of "Setting the Stage" I won't pretend I'm impartial about this hardcover opus-- and it is an opus-- it's enormous and frankly an elephant of a read that you'll only be able to digest one bite at a time--
I'm going to list a few of my favourite routines and essays "down below" but there's a couple things I'd like to add to what I've said in determining whether this book is for you.

First-- this is NOT chocked full of new methods. Not that there aren't any but If you come to the book looking for that you will be disappointed. The good news is that there are zero pipe dreams in here either.

These 420 pages are a textbook on how to make an effect your own-- whether its Bank Nite, Kurotsuke, Sneak Thief, Target Number, Which Hand or the dozens of other effects Eric taken them apart and put them back together again so they work for him and he gives you the keys that will allow you to unlock them for yourself too.

For me there are two effects that epitomize Samuels's thinking-- one is in the book and the other isn't (although he talks about it) one is his closer and the other is his marketed version of Koran's Medallion.

At the time he was developing both of these effects there was a group of us in Vancouver following in fascination and, frankly, disbelief as Eric explored, tested and discarded method after method after method.

His approach was what I'll call "Staniforthian". Just as Nate Staniforth took his commitment to Lottery Prediction effect to the extreme Eric tackles the routines here in the same way. Read the essay "Backstage Chapter 16: Whatever it Takes" for a glimpse into Samuels's obsessive work ethic and how far he's willing to go to create a really strong effect and that effort is applied to every routine in the book. Even with a tool as simple as a Phil Deck, Eric created a number of approaches that reflect a variety of performing conditions as well as tweak what the actual effect being demonstrated is.

Which brings me to another to another reason not to invest in this book. I don't think there are many routines in here that don't require at least a bit of thought. It's not exactly a "That's neat, I'll just pop that in my pocket and show some friends this tonight" kind of book. Don't misunderstand me, there are plenty of straight forward effects but I would argue that "Setting the Stage" is for performers looking to build parlour and stage mentalism acts.

My last reason that you might think twice about buying the book is that if you're new to mentalism. I don't mean that in a condescending "there's work in here you won't understand" way. It's just that there are many routines that-- in their strongest form-- require that you have access to "professional tools." To be fair to Eric, he provides low tech solutions to almost all the routines here-- but some definitely require a working knowledge of, or ability to acquire tools that will allow the performer to present some of the most powerful versions of the routines. One of the strengths of the book, however, is that it provides performers with well-structured, thought-out and scripted routines.

On the other hand, if you are new to mentalism, with its plethora of commercial routines and great advice, pairing "Setting the Stage," with "Maximum Entertainment" would be a strong foundation for a terrific career as a corporate entertainer
Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Jan 11, 2021 08:21PM)
Tremendously happy to say that the first run of the book is completely sold-out!
Next shipment from the printer will be here end of the week.
Message: Posted by: corindaman (Jan 12, 2021 12:27PM)
Only arrived today but I can’t put it down. It is very easy to read in Eric’s style of writing. It’s almost as if he is sitting next to you and talking you through it. I will read this a couple of times to get right into it. Highly recommended on just the first 75 pages!
This book will be a classic and very sought after, make sure you get a copy now!
Message: Posted by: peirceman (Jan 22, 2021 06:04AM)
I'm interested in checking this out, but the site requires a password. I am still fairly new to mentalism, so my ability to read minds to figure out the password is shabby at best. Anyone care to help?
Message: Posted by: peirceman (Jan 22, 2021 06:05AM)
Never mind. Should have clicked on the link before posting the question. Yes, I'm an idiot.
Message: Posted by: dj (Jan 22, 2021 04:07PM)

How about your new project with the dice and cups and ...?
This project should have been on the market for a long time.
It was planned for 2019.

Any news?

Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Jan 22, 2021 07:50PM)
[quote]On Jan 22, 2021, dj wrote:

How about your new project with the dice and cups and ...?
This project should have been on the market for a long time.
It was planned for 2019.

Any news?

Project is delayed for several reasons, but still in the queue.
I will message you with more info.


Darko [/quote]
Message: Posted by: TimonK (Jan 23, 2021 05:52AM)
Only about a quarter into the book and already happy to give it my highest recommendations.
Excellent writing style, solid thinking, no filler.
Message: Posted by: JanForster (Jan 23, 2021 06:33AM)
Exact my feelings, excellent! But I am still not through as there is a bit too much on my desk... :) ... Jan
Message: Posted by: j100taylor (Jan 23, 2021 08:51AM)
I agree. Half way through. I have loved every word. It is a masterpiece!
Message: Posted by: Mark Timon (Jan 24, 2021 08:56AM)
Imagine a film critic writing a review of the first twenty minutes of the movie. why the hurry? It just looks like friends trying to increase the sales of a fellow performer.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 24, 2021 09:37AM)
Eric is one of the good guys and there is nothing wrong with that especially in light of what he's been through in recent weeks, then months, in just getting this out to market. Eric deserves the praise, and personally, Eric's perceptions, approach, and insights on nearly everything are very much the same as mine which I find very refreshing and welcoming compared to much of what is said and viewed in mentalism today. He often says what many in mentalism need to hear. This alone deserves the highest praise.

I only wish I had an ebook/pdf of this book as I could find I'd be able to read it more easily with greater access than having to cart this huge book with me to read a chapter when I can. I also don't want to ruin this beautiful book. Great job Eric!
Message: Posted by: corindaman (Jan 25, 2021 03:54AM)
[quote]On Jan 24, 2021, Mark Timon wrote:
Imagine a film critic writing a review of the first twenty minutes of the movie. why the hurry? It just looks like friends trying to increase the sales of a fellow performer. [/quote]

I would normally agree with your comments, however this book Is so good from the first page onwards. I can see why people need to comment straight away.
Message: Posted by: Mark_Chandaue (Jan 25, 2021 09:14AM)
I don’t even have to read any pages to know this is a great book. Eric’s track record tells me that. Whilst I don’t have everything of Eric’s, everything I do have from him is top quality and extremely well thought out and works in the real world. As soon as I have finished paying for my upcoming wedding this will be my first purchase.

Message: Posted by: kleefeld (Feb 1, 2021 01:01PM)
I cannot remember when I got so much out a new mentalism book. Setting the Stage is extraordinary in its approach to giving all of the insight Eric put into his act. Many routines begin with a common core effect, but each is tempered with his own take on either a method or approach that will fit his persona. There are many solid lessons on how (and why) you should create specific routines. His gentle slightly humorous approach offsets some powerful mentalism, leaving the audience both entertained and mystified. Too few performers tread this line as carefully.
Message: Posted by: scalito (Feb 4, 2021 12:45PM)
Fantastic Book!! I'm three quarters through this masterpiece and had to chime in. If you perform mentalism on stage, this book is a must.

Message: Posted by: illusions & reality (Feb 4, 2021 01:08PM)
I am halfway finished reading Setting the Stage. I join all the others in expressing my deep appreciation for the quality, depth, and production value of your release. There are so many subtleties, practical insights, thoughtful essays, routines, and great ideas, that I believe this to be the best value of any mentalism book I have ever purchased. By far, I consider Setting the Stage one of the most worthwhile purchases of the last several years. This was definitely worth the wait from when you first shared that you were writing this several years ago.

Thanks again for releasing this. It is a gem that will become a classic. You have set the bar high Eric!

Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Feb 6, 2021 11:00AM)
For anyone who had been trying to order Setting The Stage, but could not load the page on www.MentalismTools.com, the glitch has now been fixed.

Thanks to Abe for pointing this out to me!
Message: Posted by: Jared (Feb 7, 2021 02:17PM)
I just wanted to chime-in to say how much I've been enjoying Eric's book. Unfortunately, I haven't had much time lately to read more than a few chapters, but it's really quite excellent...Can we just say, "Instant (mentalism) classic" because that would be a fair statement.
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Feb 7, 2021 07:39PM)

At MindVention 6+ years ago, Eric Samuels told me he was writing a mentalism book – a book containing his ideas and his favorite effects. Every year when I would see him, I would impatiently ask “Is it ready yet?” “Not yet,” he would say year after year. He kept adding more, he would say.

Eric Samuels gorgeous new 419-page hardbound book “Setting The Stage” finally arrived in my mailbox, and I could not be more impressed. Wow, this is a big and very professionally produced book. It’s obvious even at a casual glance that this is the work of a lifetime. I could not put it down. Eric poured every ounce of his knowledge of craft, clever scripting and performance notes and distilled it into a comprehensive treatise of mentalism. “Setting The Stage” is substantial, filled with 419 pages of A+ material and exquisite illustrations – the who, what, when and the how. Every chapter takes you through what the audience sees, the thinking behind a routine, director notes, observations, and devils’ advocate opinions on why one method or prop is better than another. What you get here is the REAL THINKING – not just a book filled with clever effects. With Eric you get his contrarian views too, forcing you to think and to make a routine your own to fit your persona.

There is no filler here – only tried and tested material that Eric has road tested and made the final cut. As might be apparent, this isn’t a hobbyist book – it is a book meant for stage or parlor performers. However, since many of us are now stuck at home doing Zoom shows, many of the ideas/routines within the book can be ported to virtual shows online and I fully intend to do so. Just to be clear, I received a review copy of the book two weeks ago. However, I never (ever) endorse any book or product unless I absolutely like it authentically.

Having known Eric for nearly a decade, I had no idea that he would be mind-melding everything in his repertoire into one incredibly complete repository for mystery performers. I predict Setting The Stage will be seen by future performers as a classic that will join the ranks of Ted Annemann and the late Bob Cassidy. Why? because it sets the table/stage with all the delicious ingredients to help a performer polish a show go from average to amazing. Intermediate to advanced performers will find multiple gems within, as Eric leaves no stones unturned for creating a successful show. There are so many illustrations and photos – all sharp and clear.

Anyone who knows Eric Samuels knows he is VERY opinionated when it comes to mentalism – seeing things as not just a creator or performer, but as a director with a theatrical view. He is critical when deconstructing an effect, to make certain it has MAXIMUM impact, and as few weaknesses as possible. If you are looking for the perfect opener you will find not just one in the book – but multiple hard-hitting options for different occasions. All routines are also beautifully themed and scripted – but as a starting point for your own creativity.

Let me wrap by saying that “Setting The Stage” is the zenith of mentalism books. I have not seen a better mentalism book since Cassidy, and I do not exaggerate. It is so comprehensive, so thorough, and so full hard-hitting and clever ideas that it demands to be read cover to cover. I feel strongly that Eric Samuels “Setting The Stage” is easily best mentalism book I have seen in the last decade. It is a work of passion and creativity, a work of love for the art of mentalism, and a must have for any serious performer.
Message: Posted by: elimagic (Feb 8, 2021 11:03PM)
I eagerly await my copy. :)
Message: Posted by: illusions & reality (Feb 9, 2021 06:54AM)
[quote]On Feb 8, 2021, elimagic wrote:
I eagerly await my copy. :) [/quote]

You won’t be disappointed!

Message: Posted by: MadisonH (Feb 10, 2021 09:35AM)
I have now finished the book. It’s a thick book that is very wordy, so it’s probably not a weekend read and this is coming from someone who loves to read and typically devours magic books in 1 to 2 sittings. This one took me a little over 2 weeks to get through.

If you’re looking for incredible new and innovative methods, this book isn’t for you. If you’re looking for tried and true, tested material which is well thought out and proven to work successfully over and over, then you can’t go wrong.

I love the style of the book with the back and forth between a routine and an essay. When a book is a 50/50 split of routines and essays, you know the Author has a lot to say and in Eric’s case, what he says comes from experience. The essays always include great insight and they often have little nuggets of gold hidden between the lines as well.

This is going to be one I keep returning to without a doubt. My next step is to go back through the book and make notes of my favorites now that I’ve read it cover-to-cover.

I highly recommend it if you’re looking for real world working material.

Message: Posted by: Oscar999 (Feb 11, 2021 05:02PM)
I received this book a week or so ago... and have enjoyed spending time with it.

I agree with Madison, it's not a weekend read. It's a serious account of a professional's life work.

I can still remember that feeling of being impressed when I opened the box and got to fully appreciate how stunning this book comes across visually.

It's big... bold... and beautiful.

I've barely scratched the surface of the contents, jumping around reading this and that... and I can't wait to spend some quality time with it.

Very nice job!


P.S. @esamuels: Eric if you read this and say to yourself, I don't remember sending a book to an "Oscar," that's okay, Oscar is a pseudonym.
Message: Posted by: TimonK (Feb 17, 2021 03:16PM)
Having finally finished reading "Setting the Stage", I stand by and reiterate my initial comments: excellent writing, very solid thinking, no filler. Took lots away from this book.

Congratulations on writing such a wonderful book, Eric, and thank you for sharing it with us.

Stay safe!
Message: Posted by: The great Gumbini (Feb 22, 2021 09:29AM)
Without a doubt I would highly recommend any work that Eric Samuels is behind. He has been and continues to be a great contributor to the world of mentalism.

Good magic to all,

Message: Posted by: elimagic (Feb 26, 2021 10:56PM)
Only about half way through but this is probably the most valuable purchases i’ve made in a while. The very small cost to value ratio is out of this world.
Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Feb 27, 2021 08:48AM)
Thanks for all of the amazing feedback on the book. Means a lot!

The first edition is close to sold-out.
There will be a second printing, at some point, but the cover printing process will change (this cover was a beast to have printed!)


Message: Posted by: Mark_Chandaue (Mar 9, 2021 09:07AM)
I received mine today, is is beautiful and it is also huge. Really looking forward to reading this as I know it will be filled with gold.

Message: Posted by: MadisonH (Mar 11, 2021 09:14AM)
I took the time to do a full in-depth review of the book here:


The book is one best on practical stage mentalism to come out for a while.

Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Mar 13, 2021 05:58PM)
Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed review, Madison!

FYI., I'm including a free Clear Forcing Bag (the kind I use in all of my online shows and on stage) with all orders of the book received in March.


Message: Posted by: toneill (Apr 8, 2021 07:15PM)
I received my copy last week. As others have said, the book is gorgeous and I love the cover printing! It's a very large book full of great material, so really glad I picked this up while it's still available.

Message: Posted by: eSamuels (Apr 17, 2021 09:38AM)
The First Edition of SETTING THE STAGE: Content & Character For The Stage Mentalist is now sold-out!

Thanks to everyone who supported this project and provided such amazing feedback!

There will be a 2nd edition later this year with a slightly different cover.
So, if you do own a First Edition, it is one of only 250 that will ever be printed!