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andre combrinck
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South Africa
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Profile of andre combrinck
While most people have mentioned the greats, I feel compelled to do it again:
  • Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic
  • Bill Tarr's Now You See It Now You Don't
  • The second Now You See It Now You Don't
  • Tarbell vol 1-8
  • The Royal Road to Card Magic
  • The Amateur Magician's Handbook
After this try:
  • Expert Card Technique
  • The Magic of Michael Ammar
  • The Art of Astonishment
  • Practical Mental Magic (Effects)
  • Modern Coin Magic
  • David Roth's Expert Coin Magic
Also when starting the more advanced books in the latter sentence, try getting hold of an accompanying video (e.g. The Art of Astonishment video, Stars of Magic, Paul Harris) to help you see the way the effect is done. Smile
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Profile of Mistro
The one book that I must recommend to beginner magicians is Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic. That's probably the best beginner book in the market!! That's the book that got me started.
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San Diego, Califorina
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Profile of Themagicquest
All this stuff I use even now and I'm not a beginner so I suggest that you get it all not all at one time nut over time.

Cameron Woodward
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Olympia, Washington
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Profile of taller8
I like the Mark Wilson book too. I found it used for $10. It has many solid tricks to get you going and start learning the foundations of cards, coins, ropes, and overall sleight of hand and presentation.

And it's easy to read which is very important for the beginner. Card College is my pick if you want to focus just on cards.
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Darlington, England
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Profile of shanester
For great value, get Tarbell from the lybrary. There's a huge amount of very useable and interesting stuff for $37.
Roberto Gee
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Profile of Roberto Gee
In addition to LeConte's terrific suggestions, I'll also second Hernan and Gerald's recommendation of that old standy, "The Amateur Magician's Handbook" for the serious beginner. Some excellent slights and a great overview of the profession.
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Profile of Axio
I would highly recommend "The complete idiot's guide to Magic tricks". Beside the tricks, it will put you on the correct way.
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Profile of Anthatron
Two books that I learned a lot from was Magic Digest by George B. Anderson and Scarne's tricks by John Scarne. They both have a good variety of different kinds of magic and classic tricks.
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Profile of Aperazor
Wow, I feel better now.
I got a gift certificate to Border's Books for Christmas and I bought Bobo's coin magic, Royal's card magic and then also grabbed Mark Wilson's book.
I almost put it back because it the pictures looked so dated and I thought it couldn't be to good for such a big book at only $19.95
Glad to see it is still being recomended here.
Looks like I'll have a fun couple days off this weekend.
Thanks to all for the advice given in this thread.
Happy New Year to all
Nick Zender
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dallas, tx
627 Posts

Profile of JordanB
I think any book published by Dover is good (ie, Royal Road, Expert Card Tech, and Modern Coin Magic), but I would highly recommend obtaining The Dai Vernon Book of Magic. Chapter 2, "The Vernon Touch", will help you with the way you practise and it has some very, very good routines in it.
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Profile of Johnathan

I would definately recommend card college 1-4. These are great books that teach fundamental techniques. Highley recommended!!! Smile
Rob Johnston
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Profile of Rob Johnston
Bobo's Modern Coin Magic as almost everyone has mentioned. The sleight references are great.

I would also suggest the Secrets of Houdini by Cannell.
It is a good reference and source of study for all magicians.
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
andre combrinck
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South Africa
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Profile of andre combrinck
After reading RRTCM, if you are still into cards(most are), buy Card College- it's the new card Bible.
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Profile of phil
For coins, Vol. 1 of David Roth video collection (1 of 3) is invaluable (worth its weight in gold). Generally speaking, I am a fan of the Amateur Magicians Handbook as a broad stroke to get a beginner started Smile Smile Smile Smile
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Profile of harp
So many choices...If you have any reservations or limited access. You can essentially get most books from the public library. Bill Tarr, Henry Hay, the Wilson course and Hugard's Royal Road are all available. If the local library does not have it, they can request it through the interlibrary loan system. This gives you an opportunity to review different titles and then go on to purchase some you might enjoy owning.

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This is a good number:
458 Posts

Profile of thumbslinger
Here's my review of something I found a couple of weeks ago that is the best band for the buck (at least from what I've seen)
Techno Card Magic
Daniel Rhod:
Joker Deluxe:
French-1999 English-2001:
49 pages:
Beginning to Intermediate:
8 of 10:

-standard dealing
-Biddle grip
-verticle grip
-straddle grip
-bevel grip
-slip-cut grip

-holding a break
-forming a top card break

-simple swing
-multiple swing

Transfer Cut-
-in the hands bottom double-cut
-reverse double under-cut, top card control

-basic techniques
-visual appearance in hands

Flushtration Move
Jordan Count
Elmsley Count
Kardyo-Biddle Move
Hamman Count

-two handed tilt
-one handed tilt

Ascanio Spread
Complete false overhand shuffle
Double lift and turnover

Nice little book covering many basic moves consisting of sleights and counts. Many photographs that are large and clear. Also nice is that each move has a small historical note telling where the move was first published and by whom. Fantastic price for such a wealth of basic knowledge and reference. I would have liked a few more tips per move, but with practice, most of those that would be 'tips' reveal themselves eventually.
Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed and Tommy Emmanuel are all you need to study to learn to play guitar.
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Profile of Spider
A most conspicuous omission in this discussion is


Most beginner books teach too many tricks, and the new learner is overwhelmed. This book teaches a few magical classics, perhaps a dozen, superbly. The learner is taught misdirection and how to use it, multiple presentation options for single tricks and how to create one's own presentations, naturalness of movement, and much more. Despite it's condescending title in the Dover edition, I have never met a magician who could not profit from reading this under $10 book. Perhaps "A Book of Magic for New Magicians" would have been a better re-title.

Highly recommended for anyone, not just beginners.

Jon Smile
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Profile of Lagrange
Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic provides a great overall grounding in a lot of basic techniques and effects. It's the book I started with when I was a kid, and I remember it being easy to understand. In fact, I was performing some of the effects for my family within minutes of opening the book (I was a bit too eager in my youth!). Anyway, when you get an idea of the sort of effects you prefer, you can get into more specific books and videos.

I'm a pasteboard maniac, myself, and I think Ammar's Easy to Master Card Miracles series is about the best resource I've used. It looks a bit dated, but the effects are solid and Ammar is a great teacher.

For coins, Bobo's Modern Coin Magic is a great resource.

For more specific stuff, general close-up work, etc., it's helpful to check the various subforums to see what the "buzz" is on the boards about useful books and videos relating to the subject of the subforum.
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Profile of DarkSmaug
When beginning card magic, I would recommend that you do not buy videos or DVD's first. Start out with a book. The best one being "The Royal Road to Card Magic."
The only gripe I have about this book is that it was written over half a century ago, and a lot of the dialoge is dated. But for sleights and tricks, this book is essential. You will easily be able to learn most of the sleights in the book.
After this, I would recommend Expert Card Technique. Also, written a while back. If you can ignore the odd dialoge, you will find that this book contains the most in depth descriptions of sleights available. Some of the chapters are very difficult, but this book is necessary to progress from a neophyte to a learned magician.
Also, the Card Manipulations series is a collection of short books that further describe sleights, add new tricks, and give many flourishes. The thing about this book, is that it is in no particular order. You hvae to do a lot of searching to find what you want to learn. But the One-Hand Top Card Palm is absolutely the best method for palming a card I have or probably will ever see. Essential.
Then once you have a good understanding of the sleights and tricks, I would recommend a video or DVD if you are confused by a few sleights. The reason I don't spend money on DVDs is that they are more expensive than most books (excluding the Card College series, an excellent series from what I hear) and don't contain nearly as much information. But they are helpful when you don't understand what a book is trying to describe.
Those are my recommendations. I hope they helped.
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Profile of ashah
It can be difficult for a beginner on a tight budget to choose which books or videos to get at first. My advice is this: there is no need to buy all of the recommended books and videos at once. Start with a couple of them, and when you have absorbed everything, go ahead and try another one. That way you won't spend hundreds of dollars on a bunch of stuff that you can't possibly read/watch at once.

If you are on a tight budget, Card College or AoA or the whole ETMCM set might be too expensive. I got Mark Wilson's book used for $7 (including shipping) from, and Bobo and RRTCM are $10 each from Penguin. If you get those, plus ETMCM volume 2 ($30 from Penguin) and a couple of decks of cards, you can get enough magic to keep you busy for a while, for under $65. You'll actually be able to perform high-quality tricks. And of course make use of your local library if possible.
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