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David Thiel
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I love it when a new mentalist asks the “Which Book” question…as in “Which book should I read to make me a better performer?” I will always recommend the Big Three: Mentalism Incorporated, The Principals of Mentalism and the Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy Volume 2. Always.

Because I am a mentalist, I can see you sitting there thinking “Why is a book review about Setting the Stage starting out with talking about three classic volumes?” Great question.

Here’s why: Setting the Stage is an instant classic of modern mentalism, one that can more than hold its own sitting on the same shelf as Osterlind, Cassidy and Hickok. It’s a milestone book, blending insightful thinking, essays that will make you go “hmmm” and well constructed audience tested…utterly commercial routines – many of which require nothing more than what the average mentalist already has sitting in a drawer. This is the ‘real stuff.’ I don’t believe Samuels is holding anything back.

There are flashes of brilliance in this book. But so what? There are a lot of brilliant people writing books these days. More important than brilliance? Page after page of insightful thinking, methodical planning and a near obsessive focus on doing everything better.

Setting the Stage starts with a genuinely touching dedication and finishes with a Roger Waters (the Pink Floyd guy) quote that, if absorbed, will change the way you think about mentalism.

This, friends, is a very different kind of book.

It’s as though Samuels is trying to cram every other book he could have written into one large volume. It’s a beast. Four hundred and twenty pages. No filler.

Setting the Stage is the first book that goes onto my “Must Read” list to join the trinity of classics I’ve recommended for many years. Yeah. It’s that good.

EVERY mentalist should read this book – not just the newer performers. You’re not going to agree with every point. You’re not going to perform (or adapt) every routine. But you ARE going to find something on every single page that will teach you, challenge you or make you smile.

Ten out of ten billets.

Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.
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Thanks, David!

"Setting The Stage: Content & Character For The Stage Mentalist," has been 5-years in the making.
It contains a great deal of my original material (including active routines - even my closer), as well as a number of essays on what we do.

Here's what a few other performers have said about the book:

“…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

SETTING THE STAGE: Content & Character For The Stage Mentalist, is now available exclusively through (password: samuels)

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Greg Arce
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Haven't gotten it yet, but I only expect some great ideas and presentation and subtleties in this book. Eric had a great lecture and always puts out fantastic ideas so it will not be a surprise here that his book will be in that class itself.


One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
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Hands down one of the best if not the best mentalism book of the 21st century. So many modern and real world ideas and routines.
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