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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Wilson vs Dummie vs Idiot's Guides - General Magic (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of AndrewG
Having searched on the forum on these books clearly each has its admirers.

I have decided to buy one of the above and would really appreciate views from anyone who is familiar with at least two of them preferably all three.

My position is that I have been into card magic for almost a year and this will remain my main interest. I would like to learn some other effective but not complicated close up magic with any coins, sponges, silks, etc...

Any information on the strength/weaknesses would be really welcome.

I read a review of Wilson on Amazon UK, suggesting that the Complete Idiot's guide might be the way to go for the more committed novice.

Any further views comparing these books would be great.

Thanks a lot Smile
Alex W.
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Profile of Alex W.
Since you've been into card magic for almost a year, I'd say go with Mark Wilson's Complete Course.

For the complete beginner I'd recommend The Complete Idiot's Guide. It has tons of hints on presentation and character, that you don't usually find in a beginner's book.

Good luck, whatever you choose!
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United States Of America
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Profile of EddyRay
The idiot's guide is good. I have yet to purchase the magic for dummies book. I have heard good things about it. Both books cover a wide range of magic. Bob Longe also has many books on magic, cards, coins, general magic etc. Smile
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Profile of gandolf
I have not read Wilson, but have both the Dummies and Idiots books (though I consider myself neither!!!).

I think you will find both are very similar, in fact both offer some of the same illusions. I enjoyed both, and think either would be beneficial to a beginner.

Having said that, my preference is for the Dummies book. I don't have a real concrete reason for liking it better, I just seemed to enjoy reading it more. A caveat here. When I read them, I read the Dummies first, and the Idiot's second. Perhaps, since they are so similar, I felt less inclined to enjoy the Idiot's book since I had just recently read virtually the same stuff.

Bottom line, for beginners, both are very good, and present a wide range of magic illusions and theory. Either would be a good start.
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Lehi, UT, USA
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Profile of what
I have Wilsons and the Idiots guide. When my brother wanted to study up on magic, I let him borrow the Idiots guide, partly because it is a better introduction to magic for an absolute beginner, and mostly because I use my Wilsons book all the time and will probably not ever loan it out.

The trick I perform most often comes from the Idiots guide. It is called "a bird in the hand." It has undergone several enhancements since I first learned it, but it is so practical that I use it all the time.

Good luck deciding. You might decide to buy 2 of them and throw in Harry Loranes "The Magic Book" to complete the beginners set.
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Profile of marko
If you can only get one, I think Mark Wilson's is the best choice. It was my first and is still just about the best resource for beginners, but there are some really strong effects too (and a lot of card tricks).
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Profile of manipulator
I like the Dummies book. I read it when I was a beginner. I had a lot of fun with it. Great for beginners! Mark Wilson's book is great too. It teaches tons of things. I like both, but I enjoyed reading Dummies more. I think it's a more entertaining book. If you want to learn a lot of things, Mark Wilson's book probably teaches more. Both are great though. I don't know about the Idiots book. Haven't read that before.
Steven Steele
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Profile of Steven Steele
I have all three and have read them. The Dummies and Idiot books are indeed similar, but I prefer the Dummies book much more than the Idiot book. Some of the effects are similar, but many are not.

The Idiot book was written by Tom Ogden a very good magician. It comes with several "trick cards" you can punch out, but they won't work well with a regular deck of cards...they look, well, punched out and "gimmicky".

The Dummy book is written by David Pogue, but is a collection of effects submitted by a veritable who's who of magicians and the effects they submitted are great.

Both of these books put the "fun" in performing magic. Keep in mind that the Dummy series of books outsell the Idiot Guides by a large margin and generally draw a stronger team for writing a particular book.

Mark Wilson's book is a very good course to learn magic, but it is pretty cut and dry. You will learn a lot of magic and it is good stuff. Mark's book will also give you a broader and stronger background for those that want to go further in magic.

For my dollar, when I give somebody a gift who wants to learn magic as a hobby and has no knowledge (or very little), I give them the Dummies book, because it is fun to read and delivers good strong effects from some of the best minds in magic today.

And if I'm going to give a book to somebody that wants to become a magician and go deeper into the art...he'll get Mark Wilson's Book.

Hope this helps you out.
Coram Deo
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Profile of Mack Magic
I don't have the Idiot's or Dummies Guide, but I do have Mark Wilson's book.
It was one of the first books I ever got. If you're not a complete beginner, this is a great book if you want to get farther in depth into the art of magic. It doesn't really go into theory or explainations, but just teaches you how to do the tricks and illusions in a step by step way and tells you want you need for it, etc.
It has a good number of card tricks, and also goes into money magic, rope magic, illusions, impromptu, and other types of magic.
I would recommend this book to anyone though, since it shows and teaches a good variety of magic in different fields you can do.
Just my 2 cents..
Mack Magic
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Profile of Maestro
I first purchased the Idiot's Guide To Magic. I later checked the Dummies book out of the library and, comparing the two, I wish that I would have bought the Dummies book instead. Like a few other people here, I think that the Dummies book is just better in general.

Like Steven Steele said, the punch out "trick cards" in the Idiot's guide are not really usable, since they are just like pieces of construction paper... with somewhat perferated edges...

So out of the two, I'd definately pick the Dummies book.
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San Francisco
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Profile of Hernan
I practice the Mark Wilson and perform the "Dummies".

You will have to buy the Mark Wilson book sometime. No doubt.
But the Dummies book is the best "first" book. Like someone said it puts fun into the presentation of magic.

The problem with Mark Wilson is it doesn't spend enough time getting you in front of an audience. If anything it keeps you in your room, alone, praticing "The Pass". And "The Pass" will be a great trick to show to other people who spent years alone in thier room learning "The Pass".

For me Mark Wilson is real magic.
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Profile of AndrewG
Thanks every one for your thoughts.

I am definitely going to get the Wilson book - once I've worked out the difference between the version published as the "Cyclopedia" and the the version published - in UK anyway - as "the complete magic course".

Really my thoughts now are whether to get Dummies or Idiot's.

Best Smile
Geoff Weber
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Washington DC
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Profile of Geoff Weber
The Cyclopedia is an abridged version of the complete course. I have the complete course, and I think it is a nice book. But to be 100% honest, I really don't use it all that often. I mainly used it to learn cups and balls.
Kathryn Novak
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Profile of Kathryn Novak
All have their advantages and disadvantages. The Idiot's guide tends to lean more towards teaching stage magic methods, while the Dummies seems to be more suited for those who want to learn close up. Wilson's book gives a general overview of everything. Because you're searching to expand into newer areas, I'd go with Wilson's books. Smile
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andre combrinck
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South Africa
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Profile of andre combrinck
Irrespective of your ability buy Wilson.
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Profile of Liams-Heart
Another tip with regards to these books is that they are widely available. As such you can usually find them at used bookstores and you may be able to pick up all three used for the price of one new. For example, I pick up a copy of the Wilson book in nice shape for $8 at a used book store. Smile
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Profile of ninjaduffy
Wilson. And as you like cards, get the Royal Road to Magic next
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Profile of invalidity
I got a copy of Mark Wilson on Amazon by clicking on the 'used copies' link for $4.50 not including delivery. You might want to check that our.
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Profile of El_Lamo
I have all three. If you have a gounding in magic then Wilson is probably the best choice, but there are great things in the other two. All are very accessible.

The sponge ball routine in Wilson is very nice.
I agree that the idiot cards are too gimmicky.

Cheers - El Lamo
Life is a system of circumstance presented coincidently in an illusory way.
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Profile of 7th_Son
I like the dummies guide to magic.

You can also use it as a prop.

If a trick goes wrong, and you don't have an out, read into your bag, pull out the dummies guide to magic, hold it up close to your face so everyone can read the title cover, and say "Im sure I'm following the instructions correctly.." or something similar.

This ALWAYS gets a laugh, and you can them move onto your next routine.

"Here's to our wives and girlfriends...may they never meet!" - Groucho Marx
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