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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » My review of Berglas Effects (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Slide
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Just finished reading The Berglas Effects so I thought I would provide my review.

The book is beautifully produced with DVD's and 3D Glasses. And as I started to read the book (I actually took the suggested advice to start at the beginning and read it all the way through without skipping ahead) I was very excited by the early theory presented in the book. My first sign that I might be in trouble began when viewed Mr. Berglas's recent performance that you are directed to watch on the DVD. I will admit that I was unfamiliar with Mr. Berglas before this book, and had never seen him perform either on tape or live. But I immediate reaction was that the performance did not capture my interest. Throughout the book, Kaufman talks about the ability for Mr. Berglas to get people not to see what he is doing, and erasing the spectators memory of what happened. Kaufman talks repeatedly (and repeatedly and repeatedly) about, in one particularly bold move ,he did not see the manipulation. And perhaps live, this is the case. On video, on the other hand, it was blatant and obvious what he was up to, which took away from any sense of magic you might experience.

David's style has been described as jazz. Perhaps. The dvd's show examples of him lining up people and doing effect after effect (basically the same effect) for the conga line stretched out in back of him. Ultimately, I didn't connect with the routine, David's style, or the manner of presentation. In other words, nothing about the performance excited me enough to expend the vast amount of time effort it would take to perform this particular effect. I just didn't find it compelling.

The Berglas effect itself owes itself to a series of revelations given privately to people who David knew would write about it. In order for the effect to be a true miracle, a series of things have to happen. If those things don't happen, the spectator would never see the effect, he would do something else. For those occasions where it does work out, it seems like a miracle, but one wonders how many reporters this would have to have this effect sprung on them to find the percentage that it actually works as intended with no manipulation; meaning that this is a great publicity stunt, but not particularly great when it comes to regular performance.

As far as the book itself is concerned, while it starts out very exciting, I found myself numbed by the repetition and bored by the obvious (at least to my mind) filler. the chapter on mind mapping seems gratuitous and there is no need for the 3D glasses. Whole sections of the book, especially in the chapter on David's stack, are repeated giving you a real sense of filler. Ultimately, I was just incredibly bored by the book.

This is not to say that others will feel the same. I can imagine someone who's specialty is mentalism finding a nice card effect to add to their repertoire, but I think a card man or magician would use any number of easier and more predictable methods to achieve the same effect in a spectator's mind.

Towards the end of the book, I found myself just skipping sections of the book. I put it up for sale on immediately finishing it because I knew I would never open it again. This is not a book for everyone: if you are a card flinger, you will probably not use any of the techniques included. If your bag is mentalism, you might find it very interesting. Ultimately I found that neither the book nor the effect as presented held my interest. Your mileage may vary.
Louis Cipher
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I read this book and as I read "The Berglas Effects" and I continued reading the explanation
I thought that this is not possible. This is just a joke, a dirty joke:

Without any exposure try yourself a possible method to have any card at any number. Try to ask
yourself how it is possible and I believe you will find a possible method, but, as your brain suggests,
this method is not a real solution, due it is unworkable and also impossible for human to perform.

My conclusions are:

1. The Berglas effect is not inside this book.
2. David Berglas is not human, but a computer.

Both my conclusions are negative.

If my first conclusion is true, then you have a big speculation used by Richard and David to steal money to everyone.

If the second one is true, David Berglas is a cyborg or an alien, congratulations for him, but his solution is totally
impossible to perform for us.

If you look just for this effect, I warned you. (There is also a section on ACAAN, but the methdos are nothing
of so incredible: There is too much misdirection and too much handling. Any other method is better:
For 5$ there is Fraser Paker "The Berglas Effect" it works using the same idea, but the price is very honest.)

If you look for the magic of David Berglas, maybe you will find some good idea, but nothing of really new.

(_Louis Cipher_)
Olympic Adam
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Nice review, thanks for someone finally posting something sensible about this.
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Andi Peters
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This book is not really aimed at novice magicians who want A + B = C type methods.

It is rather aimed at the more experienced performer who wants to challenge him/herself and recognises the subtleties contained within the pages of the book. Maybe this is why some non English speaking magi are having trouble understanding the true method behind the Berglas Effect.

I suspect some purchasers will be disappointed that they can't do the Berglas Effect immediately after reading the 'instructions'. It requires serious study, practice and thought. Something a spoon fed generation just doesn't seem to get.

I know from speaking to people who pre-ordered that book that they expected the method to play out as per the description (i.e. an actual miracle). Is it me or does that just seem naive? No wonder some will be disappointed.
rklew64
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Perhaps more entertaining is that his son is owner of Marvin's Magic! Well for me it was a surprise piece of trivia info.
Andi Peters
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Quote:
On 2011-07-10 12:35, rklew64 wrote:
Perhaps more entertaining is that his son is owner of Marvin's Magic! Well for me it was a surprise piece of trivia info.

I thought that was fairly common knowledge among magicians. Obviously not.
*Mark Lewis*
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Dearie me. It appears that Kaufman should have sent me a free book to guarantee a good review. Since I have admired David Berglas my whole life I would probably have given it a better review than the ones above. Mind you, I do get a strong psychic vibe that Kaufman is not going to send me a free book. I have utterly no idea why this strange psychic feeling is overcoming me.
Slide
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I think there will be many who will love it. maybe it is just for the seasoned performer, as the poster above points out. I'm certainly not one. anyway, it is an honest reflection of my feelings. Clearly others will have opposing views.
ASW
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Bill makes some valid observations, acknowledging the skill or experience base from which his subjective view of the book's value derives.

I think it's also entirely positive that people have responded maturely to his review which, in other instances and perhaps for other famous authors, would have been viewed as negative and disrespectful (incorrectly) and have provoked rage and abuse from Café members.
Whenever I find myself gripping anything too tightly I just ask myself "How would Guy Hollingworth hold this?"

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brehaut
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I posted my review on this book and I think it is well worth the money. That being said I have no problem with bill's review in that it reflects his honest feelings. The book is not for everyone.
Richard Kaufman
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The book is not aimed at any particular type of performer, or any particular skill level. It is written in a way that will enable anyone at any level to increase the miraculous effect of their magic upon an audience. The book explains this through David's card magic, but it applies equally well to any type of magic.

The Berglas Effect is fully described in the book, and if one reads the entire book (more than once for full comprehension) it should become clear that any named card can be reached from as many as 14 different numbers. And if you read the final section on David's act, and have multiple spectators calling cards (and are perhaps using more than one deck), then you see that MOST of the time you can perform The Berglas Effect, or another miracle effect, without ever touching the cards. I've read comments both here and on other boards and this fact--that most of the time you are able to perform a miracle effect without ever touching the deck (and this is on stage in front of a large audience)--is missed by people writing reviews or making comments.

Most reviews or comments also seem to completely ignore all the material in the first half of the book--the Think a Card effects. These are stunning and miraculous and have never really been explained properly in print before. This material alone is worth many times the cost of the book to anyone who learns and uses it.

Also, please remember that the DVDs are there for educational purposes. The whole point is so that in watching them you can see what David is doing and learn to do the same things. Of course you can see him adjust the cards--the point is that the misdirection which prevents the audience from seeing/remembering this is thoroughly explained. Instead of telling me that you're bored with the book, you should be telling me that you've read the material and actually tried it and been shocked by how good the response is. That's a review, not just saying that you think there's a lot of filler in the book (there isn't--I could have made the book double the size if merely filling pages was my goal) and you were bored.

The book is not written to entertain you, but to teach you to perform the type of card magic which David Berglas has been doing for 50 years. If you haven't met the book halfway and actually tried some of the material, then there's not a lot of validity to your comments because they're not based on any meaningful assessment, which requires that you try the material which you are eager to dismiss as filler, or unworkable, or not-really-what-David-Berglas-does, and so on.
jhostler
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Bill and Richard both make entirely valid points: The book is written in a repetitive and occasionally nonlinear manner… and does indeed grind along slowly at points. And yes, some of David’s presentations were less-than-riveting. That said, it would take all of ten seconds for a half-competent reader to identify the published techniques in use on the DVDs... so comments like “The Berglas effect is not really inside this book” are growing quite old. On the whole, it IS a good book and DOES contain fabulously sophisticated content on what the kids call “jazzing.”

I stand by my earlier assertion that very few readers will actively perform The Berglas Effect, due in large part to the multiple selections and/or iterations that are typically required. It's an awfully slippery slope to a Son-of-Berglas type act...
Olympic Adam
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Basically if you give a negative review you haven't read it properly - I'm constantly tempted to buy this but some of the comments made about anyone who tries to speak normally about this get to me. I thought for a while this would be a sensible thread about it.

Richard - It seems like you take the criticism very personally, we all (should) know about the potential of the content and it's going to be difficult for ANYTHING to live up to the hype that some people put on this release. It seems like there are many happy customers and the book seems to be full of ideas and does contain what it claims to, but just saying that it's not supposed to entertain you and telling people their opinions and definitions of what a review are are wrong is not a good way to go about this IMO. This seemed to me to be the first actual page of reviews about this then you say that they have done a bad review and a review should go like X, Y, Z. Basically telling people their opinions are wrong.

There are plenty of things on here that get much less positive reviews and the creator/author has been applauded for their response, maybe you should meet those reviews half-way and try something similar.

If we take the enjoyment out of learning an art then surely something is lost.
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brehaut
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Quote:
On 2011-07-10 18:50, Olympic Adam wrote:
Basically if you give a negative review you haven't read it properly - I'm constantly tempted to buy this but some of the comments made about anyone who tries to speak normally about this get to me. I thought for a while this would be a sensible thread about it.

Richard - It seems like you take the criticism very personally, we all (should) know about the potential of the content and it's going to be difficult for ANYTHING to live up to the hype that some people put on this release. It seems like there are many happy customers and the book seems to be full of ideas and does contain what it claims to, but just saying that it's not supposed to entertain you and telling people their opinions and definitions of what a review are are wrong is not a good way to go about this IMO. This seemed to me to be the first actual page of reviews about this then you say that they have done a bad review and a review should go like X, Y, Z. Basically telling people their opinions are wrong.

There are plenty of things on here that get much less positive reviews and the creator/author has been applauded for their response, maybe you should meet those reviews half-way and try something similar.

If we take the enjoyment out of learning an art then surely something is lost.


I don't think anyone is attacking this review. Just like the reviewer can give his honest opinion, Richard can respond with his opinion. I think this discussion has been very civil.
*Mark Lewis*
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I am not interested in the card tricks in the slightest since I have enough of them already. And I am not interested in David's methods either. The only bit in the book that I am interested in is the bit where he says (according to my sources) that you should NEVER go into showbusiness. And apparently he emphasises this in big bold letters. Since David was a big name in British showbusiness in the Fifties and just as famous then in Britain as Derren Brown is now and since he had a sterling career ever since I am terribly curious as to why he says this.

I am more interested in this than anything else in the book.
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"Basically if you give a negative review you haven't read it properly..."

You have missed the point completely. Ask yourself this question: How can anyone give a reasonably competent review of "The Berglas Effects" if they have not put forth the effort to learn and perform a selection of items from the book in question? And what is their analysis of the broader topics and principles of magic and audience management in the tome?

What some reviews actually reveal is not the substance of the product, but the substance of the reviewer. Surely after one go-through the reader may come to the correct conclusion that this book isn't for me. We all must remember the fault may be with the reader and the writer(s).

Initial reviews always suffer from a lack of practical application and the benefit of time in use. Let's hear about it in 6-months or a year and see how the material benefits performing magicians. I'm happy some don't care for it. I picked one up at a discount thanks to the early abandoners of the book. When my book arrives, I'll give it a careful reading and try things out. Until then, what will I have of much worth to put forth?
jhostler
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It is unwise to assume that content cannot be judged without first attempting performances before live audiences. If this were the case, magicians would have an even worse reputation.
DelMagic
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"It is unwise to assume that content cannot be judged without first attempting performances before live audiences. If this were the case, magicians would have an even worse reputation."

Are you talking about the 1-trick DVD release of a "semi-professional" magician who has shown this to 6 of his/her best friends before releasing it, or David Berglas' material which garnered him a world-wide reputation as an amazing performer? This is material that has been worked for years/decades. That has to account for something, doesn't it. What weight should they carry vs. the assessment of someone who simply read the book once, never tried anything and pronounced it not very good.

Are you saying you can give me a competent review of this content of this book (and others in the same category) without coming up to speed on one effect and working it in front of audiences? Well, this is The Magic Café, and I am rightfully amazed.


I had a typo in my first post: "We all must remember the fault may be with the reader and the writer(s)." It should read - We all must remember the fault may be with the reader and NOT the writer(s).
jhostler
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Quote:
On 2011-07-10 21:20, DelMagic wrote:
Are you saying you can give me a competent review of this content of this book (and others in the same category) without coming up to speed on one effect and working it in front of audiences?


Yes.
*Mark Lewis*
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I actually knew this reaction to the book would happen as soon as I read the descriptions. If the material is not suitable for an inexperienced magician that leaves only the experienced ones. But the experienced ones will be set in their ways and will find it difficult to adapt to the David Berglas style and ideas.

Mind you about 50 years ago David Berglas showed me a card trick which I did for quite a while. He never explained the secret but I worked out what was happening. For all I know this trick may be in the book. It was a kind of prediction trick. He would put one card aside from another deck. Then he fanned the pack face upwards and said to me "just point out a card, but don't pre-select one" When I pointed to one he said 'you actually touched the one next to it but you can have either one you want' and he did this 4 times often reprimanding me thus, "I told you not to pre-select a card. Don't think about it. Just point to one"

When 5 cards were selected he asked me a series of questions which made it look like I was thinking of one of the five cards but wasn't really. I don't remember the exact details 50 years later but it went something like this. "Is there one card here that specially appeals to you?" I would name one and if it was the card he had put aside he would of course, show it to be the predicted card. But if , more likely it wasn't he would brush this off by saying, "why does it appeal to you?" and then ask another question such as "If I were to ask you to name one of these cards which one would you say?" If it was the predicted card everything would be hunky dory. If it weren't he would say, "So you think this one appeals to you. Why would that be?" He would continue getting me to name cards until I said the right one and if I didn't would use tricky language to apparently make it seem that I thought of the very card predicted. Linguistic deception decades before all this NLP nonsense came about.

But his best tricks were not card tricks and certainly not mentalism which apart from his blindfold work could be excruciatingly boring. It was things like his pickpocketing, cigarette work, banging the wall and making the light come on, Vanishing and Appearing Cane and other great wonders. I loved him doing magic but was never quite so keen on the other stuff. I still do his cigarette trick to this day.

Posted: Jul 11, 2011 10:12am
I would suggest strongly that Richard Kaufman does a quick check at all the posts that Bob McPantshitter is making on the magic Café, including all the obscene ones which are beyond disgusting. This is Mr Goat who posts on his forum regularly. I have often wondered why he was not banned from the Genii a long time ago. I suggest he looks carefully at all the posts on the magic Café by this idiot and then kicks him off the Genii Forum. If he doesn't that means that he is tacitly approving of them
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