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Profile of MemDeck329
REVIEW: Aronson Stack for Everybody

“Aronson Stack for Everybody” by Geoff Williams
PDF Download Version – 71 pages, $15.00 USD.

I left my career at IBM in 1970 to teach a course called
Mind Dynamics. Along with psychic development, self-
hypnosis, and distance healing…..a large portion of the
course was memory improvement. As part of the demo
to recruit new students, I would perform (on stage) what
I later found out was called “Giant Memory”. The numbers
from 1-50 were written on a blackboard. Members in the
audience would call out various objects of their choice. I
would recite all of the objects forward and backward.
The audience would call out random numbers and objects.

Three years later (1973) I saw Martin Lewis perform as
the house magician at the Magic Cellar in San Francisco.
I was hooked! I took semi-private lessons at his home
every Sunday for 5 months. That same year I became a
Regular Member of the Magic Castle. I worked as a Trade
Show Performer for several years into the 1980s. The
point is that I feel qualified to write a review on content
that either has to do with memory work or close-up magic.

If you have been thinking about learning ANY stack, this is
the book for you! The author takes you one baby step at a
time, and he will lead you to success. Most of the pages
contain large color graphics to ingrain the “pictures” of
the 52 stack numbers and the “pictures” of the 52 cards in
the deck.

While the Memory Pegs for the stack numbers are similar
to most other treatises, the Pegs for the actual cards are
different to what you may have seen before. One thing
that slows many people down when learning is that most
“systems” teach the suit, then the value. This is one more
unnecessary mental thing you have to do. In other words,
in many mainstream systems, the Ace of Clubs is denoted
as CaT. The C is for Clubs and the T is for Ace. Geoff does
a reverse in a very clever and useful manner. In my opinion,
this idea is worth the price of the book! This system is MUCH
different from the one Bob Farmer uses. I wish I had thought
of this idea many years ago. Using this method reduces the
number of mental pictures you have to memorize.

I have been using the Aronson Stack almost exclusively for
six years. I didn’t “need” this book but was curious of the
contents. I’m glad I ordered it, and you will be too. I even did
an Excel chart using his system. I did reverse a couple of suits
to make the learning follow along with what I like. You can do
the same thing. I wish I had this manuscript when I first started
on MemDeck work!

BOTTOM LINE: If you want to learn ANY stack, including Si
Stebbins, you NEED this! Yep, Darwin Ortiz memorized the Si
Stebbins stack and does absolute miracles with it. The truth is
if you want to do memorized deck magic, you MUST memorize
a stack….. ANY stack. In my opinion, this way works!

LAST WORD: CAVEAT……. The front cover states that you
can learn the stack in “as little” as 90 minutes! Again, in my
opinion, this is BS! In my opinion, you can learn how a system
works in 90 minutes, but you cannot learn a system in 90 minutes!
When you have “learned” a system, you “know” it. I’m not trying
to be difficult. Maybe it’s just semantics BUT…. on page 63, the
author states:

“WARNING: What I'm about to propose violates one of our
main rules in using pegwords. If you are not intimately familiar
with your stack-card pegword combos, you will want to come back
to visit this section later. You should have spent at least a solid
week of committing your stack-card pegword graphics to memory
before tackling this section. You have been warned”.

OK, this begs the question, “If I can learn the system in 90 minutes
why do I need to practice for another WEEK before I can learn
the next section? The “NEXT” section is merely a Story-Telling
sequence that is also available in almost EVERY memory system,
by almost every author.

BOTTOM LINE #2: Ha! I’ve done a lot of reviews over my almost
72 years on this planet. Never before have I done a Bottom Line #2.
Hype aside….. BS aside, If you truly want to memorize a sequence
of 52 playing cards, this is a best bet!
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Profile of JBSmith1978
Sounds like a nice supplement to peg literature. Has anyone read Maigrets work?
I'll probably pick it up soon to OCR/ Translate. After I'm fully done with the Chapman book.
Geoff Williams
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St. Pete Beach, FL
617 Posts

Profile of Geoff Williams

Thanks for your in-depth review of the book.

To help clarify a couple of the issues you had:

I define "learning" a stack as being able to 1) name whatever card is at a specific number and 2) being able to give the stack number for any named card without crib notes or cheat sheets. Speed is of no consequence here.

I define "mastering" (or, as you referred to it, "knowing") the stack as a deeper (and relatively speedy) familiarity that comes with concerted practice. I completely agree with you; normal humans probably cannot "know/master" a stack system in anything CLOSE to 90 minutes. You and I are just using different terminology to say the same thing.

The reason I had a caveat in the "story-telling sequence" is that there could be some negative transfer when using the card pegwords in a slightly different way (in a long string with no stacknumber pegwords present). I only mean to keep the newbies from being confused in ANY way on their road to mastering the Aronson stack. Once they get through the "learning" phase of the PMS method and begin approaching the "mastering" phase, THEN they will have the mental agility necessary to keep things from getting confusing. My throwing out "a solid week" may have been somewhat of a random, nebulous time frame but is, nevertheless, really good advice.

Hopefully, this clarifies my use of "learn."

Thanks again for your supportive and insightful comments.

"Saját légpárnás tele van angolnák."

(Hungarian for "My hovercraft is full of eels")
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179 Posts

Profile of MemDeck329
Hey Geoff! Thank you for responding. You're right, much of it is merely semantics.
I am returning to MemDeck "work" after a 6 year layoff due to health reasons. I
remembered ALL of my Stack Number Pegs but had forgotton ALL of the Card Value
Pegs! If I had known your system was available, I would have used that. Your
inovations would have made re-learning the Card Values quicker and easier.
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179 Posts

Profile of MemDeck329
BTW Geoff, I see from your webpage that you will be filming a new video in
Rancho Cordova in a few days. If you need to "escape" for a few hours, I am
5 minutes away from there. Also, if you need an audience member, I am here
for you. And, if you need a "stooge" to call out a number or a card, you
can do ACAAN without ever touching the deck! Smile
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Profile of Critisizer
Great review, keep upt the good work
Dream house of any wizard: Wizard's Dream House
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Profile of lux
Has anyone tried to adapt Geoff'S PMS for the German language?
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Profile of Waterloophai
On Feb 24, 2015, JBSmith1978 wrote:
Sounds like a nice supplement to peg literature. Has anyone read Maigrets work?
I'll probably pick it up soon to OCR/ Translate. After I'm fully done with the Chapman book.
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