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Steve Brooks
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Agreed! Learn 10 effects, and be the best that you can be, you'll be glad you did.

"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
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Profile of N14
I personally like the book(s) "Card College" from Roberto Giobbi. There are 3 volumes.

I have to admit I only own the first of them.

But soon I'll own them all.

It gets you from the basics to the more advanced techniques on sleight-of-hand. All of it is illustrated with line drawings. And the chapters close with one or more tricks which you can perform after you mastered the technique.
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Profile of clunk_71
I can’t believe that no one included The Royal Road to Card Magic by Jean Hugard and Fredrick Braue Smile


Thanks Lee

" Dogs do tricks ".......
Best regards, Lee

Only do what your good at....and then everything you do looks good
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Profile of atkinsod
Dover puts out a lot of good books for beginners at reasonable prices. Many have already been mentioned such as Bobo's Modern Coin Magic and the Karl Fulve's Self Working series.

A note about Bobo's: there are two editions currently available. The Dover edition is a reprint of the original "Modern Coin Magic" from the 50's. There is an updated titled "New Modern Coin Magic", which contains additional chapters by Magic Inc, and only in hardback (about $30). They didn't realize the copyright on the original version wouldn't follow the update, so Dover was able to legally print the older version. So, if you want the complete work, get the hardcover; though the paperback contains most of what you will need.

Another pretty good book is "A Book of Magic for Young Magicians: The Secrets of Alkazar"

by Allan Zola Kronzek. This contains some good beginner magic but also some great advice on documenting your ideas and presenting magic.

Don't forget Henry Hay's Learn Magic. Although not as comprehensive as Amateur Handbook, it is more descriptive.

Martin Gardner’s Table Magic by Martin Gardner has good small stuff.

Many like the Bob Longe books on card and coin magic.

The Magic Handbook by Malcolm Bird and Alan Dart is a kid's book, but contains some good principles.

You'll sometimes find in the Bargain section of the large bookstores the following good introduction books:

Darbyshire, Lydia (editor): The Magic Book

John Tremain's Book of Magic (not the exact title)


Doug A.
craig fothers
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I am a beginner - so I thought I'd throw my two bits in.

When I walked into a magic store in Sydney, the guy there (Sean Taylor if you know him) recommended two books - 'Mark Wilson's complete course on magic', and also 'Magic for Dummies' by David Pogueman.

I guess I was a little suprised by Sean recommending the 'for dummies' series - and I think I didn't want to like the book just because it was a 'for dummies' book, but,

I bought it anyway, and I have to say that

I found it really helpful. David Pogueman covers a good range of tricks - but also includes some nice effects with everyday objects. As a beginner I found this kind of 'dinner-table' magic really good - and at the dinner table isn't a bad place to start either!

The author includes a patter with each of the effects he covers, and there is also a section on what to say when you stuff a trick up, what to say when you pull a trick off, and that kind of thing.

Not all of the tricks were to my taste, but some of them are and so I'll practice the ones that are 'me' and look for more.

I've moved onto Mark Wilson now... as well as some of the Ammar videos - it's really helpful to see magicians work I think, but obviously there are more tricks in a book. (that's the tradeoff I guess).

I think it's worth a read anyway.
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
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Don’t look at the video’s as a trade off.

If you get one good routine, personalize it, it was worth the price of the Video.

There are so many directions an individual can learn from, from the massive amounts of materials out in the world. It has been said that magic is the most written about topic. There are more books on magic than any other topic!

One could study magic with common household items and spend a lifetime doing magic with just common items, string, coins, paper, cards, cups, bags, balls, etc.

One could spend a lifetime just on sleight of hand magic, or illusions, or stage magic props.

Then there are the branches of magic, Kids Shows, Stage Shows, Cruise Shows, Birthday Party Shows, Club or Comedy Shows, etc.

At times this is so overwhelming. Lance Burton got his big break doing a 12 minute perfect personalized magic routine. Famous for 12 minutes of presentations and years worth of work!

It’s a great and wonderful field! Enjoy your new beginnings.

Dennis Michael
craig fothers
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I just meant that the tradeoff was on the number of tricks...


I started with the "Easy to Master" card videos by Ammar and I can tell I'm going to have to get more of them...I think they are fantastic.
The Pianoman
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My two cents worth are
The Royal Road to Card Magic.
Self Working Mental Magic.Karl Fulves
Mark Wilsons Complete Magic Course.
Bobos Modern Coin Magic.

Plus the Learned Pig Project CD seems very good value.

Plus Jon Tremains The Amazing Book of Magic.

Regards The Pianoman
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CANADA - Windsor, Ontario
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Profile of WindsorWizard
There has been a lot of great advice given out here, but one must not forget that too much taken on at a time can be counter-productive.

Much better to get one item (a book or a magical effect) at a time, and complete it to the best of your ability before going on to another. This way you are being fair to yourself and will end up being better off in the long run. However, when it comes to magic, I guess we are all like kids in a candy store aren't we?
EVERYTHING is possible...
If you simply, just BELIEVE!
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Jeb Sherrill
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The best all around to start out with is probably the Mark Wilson Course. It's a good chunk of all kinds of magic and best of all you can learn easily from the ilustrations. I started with Bill Tarr (it really is a great book, I and II actually) and of course the Tarbel course, though it's a lot of material for a beginner. Just get the magic bible.

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I don't believe in reincarnation, but I may have in another life.
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Jeff Whiting
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Classifying myself as a beginner who started way too late! I have looked at most of the books mentioned in this thread and certainly have found most of the books very useful. What I found is that they all bring a different slant to magic, which gave me a great insight into the width of Magic.

My advice is not to be in too much of a rush to decide where you want to specialize. Take a broad view and find your own comfort and enjoyment levels.

If I had to choose one book which has open my eyes, it has to be "The Magic Book" by Harry Lorrayne. He takes the tricks apart and then having been through the trick thoroughly, has a great "afterthoughts" section which gives all sorts of ideas and guidance for making the trick your own.

In fact, I have now been working through the Harry Lorrayne Apocalypse books. They are great for close up work. Costly but much recommended. This man has made me think again about what I can achieve.

One final note - Don't rush out and buy the latest "packet trick" they have a very short lasting appeal. The stuff in the books and on video gives far better value for money and also gives you the tools for your own creations.

Regards Smile
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Profile of Stevosapprentice
My friend has the 3 Volume set of Paul Harris, THE ART OF ASTONISHMENT. I know that these are advanced books, but how good do I need to get to achieve these books.
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Profile of Fon
Anyone wanting to learn real card magic, IE non self working tricks, Good fake shuffels etc, should read the Royal road to card magic,

Fab book,

Always thinking..........?
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Speedway, Indiana
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Profile of SloMo150
Speaking as someone new, I have Wilson's cyclopedia Magic occurs. It is the small paperback book. I love it. It shows a wide range of tricks. This way I can practice some from each and figure out what I really like. Also have Modern Coin Magic by J.B. Bobo. another goldmine. There is a study guide put out but at the moment I can't find the web address. If interested in it just drop me an e-mail and I will find it.
Hey wanna see me pull a rabbit from my hat, (lion appears). I gotta get a new Hat.
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Profile of Ari_R
Well, I don't know if this was mentioned but the "Now you see it now you don't" lessons in sleights are good. Then if your looking into card magic there is a book called "Card Magic" by Bill Simon
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Nassau Bay, TX
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Profile of RayBanks
Opie Houston's guide to studying Bobo can be found here

It's really good, try it out.
Pick a card, any card...No. not THAT one...THIS one

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Geoff Williams
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I'm a BIG fan of The Mark Wilson Complete Course in Magic as well as the "Card College" series but I must also put a good word in for David Pogue's "Magic For Dummies" and Tom Ogden's "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Magic Tricks."

Even though they have condescending titles, many of the effects they contain are world class (for example: Chad Long's "The Shuffling Lesson" from the "Dummies" book).

The average layperson isn't going to buy and study these books so working a few of these gems into your repertoire is not only safe but a delight for your spectators.

Also, the simplicity in method of many of the tricks means you are free to concentrate more on the PRESENTATION which, for many of us, is REALLY what the whole performance thing is all about anyway.

Ask any mentalist.
"Saját légpárnás tele van angolnák."

(Hungarian for "My hovercraft is full of eels")
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Profile of dekkeret
I also highly recommend "The Magic Book" by Harry Lorayne. You will learn the tricks AND the philosophy.
"I can only show you the door, you're the one who has to walk through it."
Morpheus to Neo in "The Matrix"
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Profile of maurile
I think David Pogue's Magic For Dummies is by far the best book I've seen for beginners. The effects are all very strong for the low skill level required to perform them, and they are presented much more clearly and with many more helpful tips than those in Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic (which is good for breadth, but not really for depth).

I'd also recommend any of the Penn & Teller books just because they're so fun.

For an introductory video tape, I'd go with Michael Ammar's The Exciting World of Magic -- although most of what's covered on that tape is also in the For Dummies book, which is really the better value.

Finally, I have to say that even though they're recommended to beginners all the time, I'm not very high on Hugard's or Bobo's books. I think Kaufman's video, Basic Card Technique, is much easier to learn from than Royal Road or Expert Card Technique; and the David Roth videos are much easier to learn from than Modern Coin Magic. For complete beginners, it really helps to see the moves being performed instead of just reading about them.
David Smyth
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Stourbridge, UK
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Mark Wilson's 'Cyclopedia of Magic' gets my vote...

I was lucky to stumble across it. When I was younger I bought it as I had a small interest in magic, little did I know how useful this book would be!!!
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