An L & L Bombshell?

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Andrew Pinard
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Andrew Pinard » November 13th, 2016, 8:04 am

At least four of those books are native digital:

In a Class by Himself – The Legacy of Don Alan
Simon Says – The Close-Up Magic of Simon Lovell
Son of Simon Says – More Close-Up Magic of Simon Lovell
The Award-Winning Magic of John Cornelius

And The Complete Ganson Magic Teach-In Series is native digital in that it came from my original work reproducing the Ganson books through scanning. Whether this title went through OCR with a proof is unknown, as I produced it for print.

These are some of the titles I produced for L & L. A couple of titles I did for L & L are not on the list. The Himber Wallet book and Doug Edwards' Packs A Wallop are available from Harry Lorayne who sells the ebook versions, and The Magic Menu books are available from Chris Wasshuber. All are native digital.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Q. Kumber » November 13th, 2016, 8:51 am

Pray, dear sir, what exactly do you mean by native digital?

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 13th, 2016, 10:16 am

"Native digital" means that the books were laid out digitally on computer and those digital files, usually PDF files, were supplied to L&L and sent to the printer. This means that, theoretically, it would have been unnecessary to scan those books in order to create PDF files.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 13th, 2016, 6:24 pm

so if having access to so much data is a boon, why haven't we seen an improvement in magicians' performances as data becomes more easily
available ?

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby JHostler » November 13th, 2016, 7:26 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:...The magic information explosion of the last 20 years and the arrival of the Internet has become a mixed blessing, if it was even a blessing... The availability of secrets became easy like apples falling off a tree...


Several years ago, Peter Duffie auctioned off piles of his eBooks. Almost everything he'd published to that point - for $50-100, if I recall correctly. This being a steal in purely financial terms, I bit... and promptly went into vapor lock. Too much material, too little time. Since then, my focus having shifted from performing to "R&D," the intrinsic value of those pixels has increased tremendously. Bottom line is that virtually every *working* performer already has access to far more material than they'll ever need (Goshman and Dingle come to mind as extreme benchmarks...). But for those more into songwriting than singing, the L&L trove is a boon.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Ian Kendall » November 14th, 2016, 10:48 am

Quoth the Brad:

so if having access to so much data is a boon, why haven't we seen an improvement in magicians' performances as data becomes more easily available ?


As has been mentioned several times, one has to know how to use the tool, and have the desire to use the tool correctly in order to make the best use of it.

You can have a rotary saw in the garage, but unless you plug it in, and need to cut a load of wood, it won't be much use. However, if you need to cut a large pile of fire wood in a short time, it will be invaluable.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 14th, 2016, 11:54 am

Ian. you are making my point.

tne original comment was to the value access to this mass of information would have for someone beginning in magic.

it is to that I am referring. to someone beginning in magic I contend that access to this mass of information may be a greater hinderance than access to only
one or two quality sources.

I contend one is better served mastering a single tool or a couple of tools before buying a warehouse full of tools. having the warehouse is likely going to prevent you from ever being able to master a single tool let alone learn why each of those specialized tools has value.

the master craftsman knows he or she needs a special tool, can look at a tool and know why it is special. they don't confuse a special tool for a general one.

my concern is not the for master craftsman but the student

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby HarryLorayne » November 14th, 2016, 12:07 pm

Not sure whether to consider myself lucky or unlucky - I didn't know about good magic books until I'd been doing card magic for a decade or more. After thinking it over just a bit, I think I was lucky!

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby I.M. Magician » November 14th, 2016, 1:14 pm

Harry...I think it's safe to say that you are in a class by yourself! Your talent, not only with your card magic but with your memory material and ability to write such great books, makes you a one of a kind creator and entertainer. In addition, your personality makes you so very watchable!

I find it to be quite fascinating how you have accomplished so much! What a gift you have!!!

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 14th, 2016, 4:11 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:...my concern is not the for master craftsman but the student


What student (situation) in particular? Let's not fret over an imagined student with hypothetical background at some point in the future...yet :)

Real students may be as surprising as audiences.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 14th, 2016, 5:58 pm

I've worked with many young magicians. By young I mean both new to magic as well as sometimes being an actual young person, not always.

I have carefully watched what choices they have made and what seems to have helped and what hasn't.

I stand by my statement. it seems access to large amounts of material at the dodging stages of student hinders growth more than it helps.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby lybrary » November 14th, 2016, 8:33 pm

Brad continues to confuse choice with focus. Just because there is a lot of choice doesn't mean one needs to be unfocused. Let's use the workshop analogy that was mentioned earlier. Most workshops I have been to have a large selection of tools. I went through a three year metal workshop in High School. There was a huge array of tools available to us from the very start when all of us never stood behind a motorized machine. Another big one I have been to is at the MIT Media lab where you can find many computer controlled tools. Yet, these workshops routinely train novices to become experts. The choice doesn't seem to hinder them in doing an excellent job.

For an ideal educational and training environment one wants choice and a wide variety of tools. Let's stay at the workshop analogy. Say you need to cut a piece of wood. What saw are you going to use? A hand saw? A table saw? A miter saw? A scroll saw? A band saw? A jig saw? If you have the choice of tools you can select the one best suited for the job rather than be forced to use the only one available. This not only allows the teacher to train the student on a particular saw but also allows him to give him insight why that particular saw is the best for the choice. So not only does the student learn to use the saw but also why this one. Choice and focus go hand in hand. Limiting choice to somehow 'demand' focus is a crutch which only makes sense if the student has learning challenges.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby performer » November 14th, 2016, 10:58 pm

I have no real opinion either way but now that I think about it my own experience tends to support Brad's theory although I haven't given it a lot of thought. My first two years of studying magic I had VERY limited choice. Just a few books from the library and a couple that someone purchased for me. I had never met a magician or been to a magic shop and of course there was no internet then. I am actually glad it worked out that way. I think if there was too much choice it would have hindered me. I would have been spoiled for choice and too much wonderful information would have been available to me when I wasn't actually that ready for it. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

But as I say, I have not thought this through and have no real opinion about it. I can only relate my own experience.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 14th, 2016, 11:14 pm

chris, If your belief were true the quality and depth of magic performance and understanding should have increased exponentially given the growth in easily accessible information.

I can't say that I feel that's true.

Further, it seems to me that I have never encountered a beginner who had Tons of dvd's/books/whatever who ever actually could do more than maybe let you know that they knew how a trick was done.

it also seems to me that most if not all of the magicians who I respect and whose work I feels transcends mere competency didn't have access to tons of material starting out, in fact I know many of them specifically had only a few resources which they really devoured.

I know that's not scientific polling by any means. Perhaps there are scores of examples out there? so far though, by my best accounting, it seems the benefits of early in depth study of a few quality sources seems to lead to better results than beginning with unfettered access to tons of data.

again, perhaps someone can identify this new breed of student and point to the accomplishments of their circle.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Jackpot » November 14th, 2016, 11:18 pm

lybrary wrote:For an ideal educational and training environment one wants choice and a wide variety of tools. Let's stay at the workshop analogy. Say you need to cut a piece of wood. What saw are you going to use? A hand saw? A table saw? A miter saw? A scroll saw? A band saw? A jig saw? If you have the choice of tools you can select the one best suited for the job rather than be forced to use the only one available. This not only allows the teacher to train the student on a particular saw but also allows him to give him insight why that particular saw is the best for the choice. So not only does the student learn to use the saw but also why this one. Choice and focus go hand in hand. Limiting choice to somehow 'demand' focus is a crutch which only makes sense if the student has learning challenges.


Both Chris and Brad are "right" in different ways. As someone who owns all those saws (and then some), I would recommend that one become proficient with the hand saw, a copying saw and a keyhole saw before moving on to the power tools. You will then be better able to understand the advantages of the wide variety of tools which exist. I agree with Brad because a foundation needs to be established. I agree with Chris because it's nice to have so much available. Having access to too may tools before you are proficient with the basic tools causes you to waste a lot of wood and maybe cut off a finger or two.

I think we all enjoy reading the latest issue of Genii and searching electronically searching through the back issues, but for different reasons.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby lybrary » November 15th, 2016, 9:40 am

It is unknowable how much better those who started with little information could have become if they would have had more access to information. We can't go back and put them on a different path. But from a pure logical point of view choice is always better than not having the choice, because even if I have the choice I don't have to make use of it. So rather than blaming access to information for bad magicians you should blame bad teaching or bad habits how to make use of such an abundance of information.

Abundance of information can also inspire and excite. I wonder if you have ever taken a group of kids to a library. I have. Quite the experience. These were kids who never have seen a library from the inside. You should have seen their eyes. Yes, some kids at first were running around from one shelf to the other completely astounded by the sheer amount of books. But eventually all of them settled in with a particular book they were reading, or in small groups reading and sharing what they were reading, recommending books to each other and all the other good stuff that comes from access to information.

Access to information is a good thing. The key is how to best make use of it.

We could also take the argument in the other direction. Why should a student even have access to a full book? Why not just one routine? Why not give him nothing and demand they create their own magic? For some folks the lack of resources stimulates creativity. So Brad, why don't you take everything away from your students, lock them into an empty room, and tell them to create magic on their own? Per your logic that should be ideal. If my memory doesn't fail me Paul Harris received from his parents only one card long before they gave him a full deck of cards. Or Rene Lavand had to create his techniques from scratch because there were no books for one-handed magic.

Then again there are examples at the other end. If rumors are correct then Max Maven had very early on access to lots of old magic magazines which he read cover to cover which explains part of his encyclopedic information about magic. Perhaps Max can chime in on if that is true or not. But in another field we have very good evidence that vast amount of information is a big advantage. In chess it is. Due to chess databases a younger generation could study and learn chess on a very different level because they had millions of games to sort, group, compare, and study. New opening lines were developed. New insights generated - all because of unfettered access to vast amounts of information.

This brings me back to my initial position which hasn't changed. Access to information is a good thing, but with power comes responsibility. The key is to deploy that tool intelligently. You also don't walk up to a buffet and eat every plate empty - at least I hope you don't. You pick and choose, you select, you sample, taste and experience new foods and old favorites. The same applies to information.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 15th, 2016, 11:56 am

Let's distinguish the publisher's economics from the teacher's educational concerns.

Agree/disagree: there is a qualitative difference between what one learns from books about what one might perform and from direct experience with audiences performing. Knowing as notion/text versus knowing as integrated social and sensory experience.

What do you think?

JonT

PS - if this were the cafe I'd add a comment about the verification/test process and use as example The Emperor's New Clothes and their shadow. :D
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Ian Kendall » November 15th, 2016, 12:06 pm

*sticks head above parapet*

90% of material published in books is not workable in the real world.

*ducks*

<note for pedants: completely made up subjective statistic>

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 15th, 2016, 12:09 pm

Chris

abductio ad absurdum

I suppose you gotz to use the tools you gotz.

having said that I can imagine someone taking one trick and mastering it and being considered a great magician. I have yet to see someone with a mass of information who didn't first have a strong foundation make anything of themself as a performer.

and you also engage in a straw man. I never suggested one book or one trick. but you ARE advocating for access to unlimited information. so let's try to keep this intellectually honest, shall we.

but Chris, you are hilarious. you accuse me of being dogmatic yet you are clearly the ideologue here.

we CAN compare the two conditions by looking at how people who have access to unlimited information are progressing one their magical studies compared to those who didn't. Again, I have yet to see anyone who has grown up with unlimited access manage to make it past the knowledge of how Tricks work stage. There may be one or two exceptions out there (though no one seems to know who they are) but I think we can see pretty clearly that the information explosion hasn't paid off in an meaningfully positive way - except perhaps for those to profit from the sale of information.

And I don't want to speak for Max but I'm pretty sure he didn't grow up with gigabytes of information at his fingertips. Unless he had a beta version of the internet that no one knows about.

some people master a tool faster than others. that some people end up proceeding quickly or are deep students does not disprove my claim. further, even the information that WAS available wasn't unlimited - it was curated. We don't have that anymore. now anyone with a machine can publish. This has its pros and cons, obviously. but the con is that we have so much information that new magicians simply don't know where to start. they don't know what a quality saw would look like. so instead of progressing, they swim in circles. You say the tool needs to be used responsible. yet the young magician isn't taught that. they are merely thrown into a sea of tools. and I contend you can't learn it from being thrown into a sea of tools. you need focus and guidance. having more information doesn't lead to either.

again, you can talk about how great it is in theory to have a choice, but in practice is that true? haven't they don't studies to show that giving people too many choices makes it more difficult for them to decide?

and yeah, kids can be cute. But until one of them actually picks up a book instead of staring at the mass of colors, how many volumes in the building is irrelevant.

I work with kids every summer. tens of thousands of them. watch them try to make a choice. it's paralyzing. when too many options people just step back and look at the mass. watch those kids in tne library and tell them to pick just one. watch them freeze. or let them take 20 home. I wonder how much they will remember from any one of them?

if access to more information made for better young magicians then every member at the magic cafe should be amazing.

you will understand if I don't think that's the case

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 15th, 2016, 12:18 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:*sticks head above parapet*

90% of material published in books is not workable in the real world.

*ducks*

<note for pedants: completely made up subjective statistic>



we can quibble on the number but your point is a good one. The issue isn't access to information, it's knowledge of what information is worth accessing.

I contend you can't gain that knowledge when you are thrown into the depths of the ocean. you just try not to drown. not drowning and swimming are entirely different activities.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Q. Kumber » November 15th, 2016, 1:07 pm

None of the books on the L&L list is suited for beginners. Yes, it is possible that a beginner might find just one of them and study it, and learn from it. There are many books and DVDs suited for the beginner, but not in the list.

You don't start piano students with Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto and hope they will pick up the basics.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Shikina » November 15th, 2016, 1:21 pm

Roger M. wrote:being interested in "magic" in general simply isn't enough of a reason to drop $300.00 on an assemblage of books that have absolutely no relevance to each other whatsoever beyond the fact that they share the same publisher!


I would respectfully disagree with this statement, though you are certainly correct that this is a marketing ploy more than anything else. I think that the right analogy would come from the world of film, where for years The Criterion Collection has been a consumer brand associated with high-quality film restoration and re-mastering. If they were to offer a highly discounted price on a large chunk of their library, it would similarly represent a diverse body of classic work with seemingly little artistic or thematic connection. However, due to the consistency and quality of the product; the breadth of the offering; and the reasonable nature of the price, such a product would be highly desirable for many film buffs. I think that analogy holds with what L&L is offering here.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby lybrary » November 15th, 2016, 1:25 pm

Brad, you ask a lot of rhetoric questions which are intellectually insincere, because they can't be answered - at least not until somebody actually seriously studies them. You say you don't see better magicians, or based on the access to information everybody should be a great magician. There are many errors in that line of argumentation:

1) Nobody says that access to information is the only factor that decides if somebody becomes a good magician or not. It is only one of many.

2) How do you measure if it is better or worse? Do you use a relative measure or an absolute measure? In other words do you say there are less good magicians by number or relatively measured against total population or total number of people interested in magic.

3) What are the criteria to say somebody is a good magician or not? Everybody has a different metric. We will disagree on who is a good or a bad magician based on our very subjective ways to judge this art form.

4) Limiting this argument to the impact on performing magicians is way too narrow. Magic can be pursued in many ways. One can do it purely from a historical perspective, or purely from a creative and innovation point of view, or purely through psychology or neuroscience, etc. Neither of these require performance skills.

As has been shown and documented in many areas, one of the keys to develop experts is to start with as large a pool as possible. Access to magic info increases the number of people exposed to magic and becoming interested in learning it, which leads to many more giving it a try, making it a hobby, or pursuing it professionally. The more who try the more super stars will emerge. Of course, it also means that there will be more who try and fail.

But I think your argumentation is colored by the fact that you somehow have a personal beef with L&L. I have noted that you have made personal and disparaging comments against L&L in a number of threads here. I don't know what your beef is with them, but I think it at least partially explains why you are taking that particular stance against their recent bundle release of all their ebooks. In the end folks these are just a bunch of magic ebooks. If you don't like the offering don't buy it. It is hard to blame L&L for a $300 ebook bundle. I can think of spending $300 in much worse ways, and I am saying this as a competitor of L&L :-)
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby performer » November 15th, 2016, 1:36 pm

I DETEST e-books and all who sail in her. I consider them to be against the laws of nature and I have no idea how the hell you are supposed to read them without your eyes going funny. And you always lose them into cyberspace eventually. I find them most inconvenient and you have to carry some odd computer device around with you all the time in order to study them.

Horrible things. Of course I don't begrudge anyone making money out of them. One does have to have one's priorities after all.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Bill Mullins » November 15th, 2016, 5:30 pm

When was the last time L&L released a new product? All the emails I get from them nowadays are discounted and repackaged versions of old stuff. I get the feeling that pretty soon, they'll sell their last dead-tree book and their last DVD, and they can turn off the lights in the warehouse and settle on being a download-only company. Lots less overhead.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 15th, 2016, 6:39 pm

nice try Chris

I do have an issue with l and l republishing works that were once limited and miraculously finding lost books of previously advertised out of print titles.

but that truly has nothing to do with this.

this is merely an exploration of how access to information has impacted the magic world over the past several decades.

your problem is you are too emotionally invested in the issue to realize that you really know that I am right and just keep ignoring a critical component of the claim.

the issue isn't that knowledgeable people won't benefit from access to large amounts of information. Of course that can be true. So many of your 'counter points' keep slipping this condition into your arguments.

we aren't talking about people who already have a strong foundation and mastery of magical concepts, we are talking about beginners in magic.

And I contend, and observation seems to prove, that an increase in access to magical information does not translate into a greater degree of learning or competency, quite the contrary, it seems to actually hinder both.

Its also been my experience that those people who exhibit the greatest depth of learning and competency in magic began not with unlimited access to information, but by devouring a handful of sources.

human beings are human beings. When people are more concerned about the next book coming out then the one they bought this week, growth isn't occurring. well, the growth of their collection perhaps. but nothing more.

and yes, I do privledge performing magic above all other domains, for witnout the performance of magic none of the other domains could exist. And while it may be a boon for a researcher writing a paper to have easy access to material, we aren't talking about that and never have been. we have been talking about learning magic and that means learning how to perform it.

you sell Ebooks,
you have a thing for information dispersal.

I get it

but that doesn't mean that informational dispersal will necessarily have positive effects. I think we can make a strong case that it indeed has had negative effects.

you are too emotionally attached to acknowledge that.

I have read many of your posts here as
well.

that doesn't surprise me

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Roger M. » November 15th, 2016, 6:41 pm

Shikina wrote:
Roger M. wrote:being interested in "magic" in general simply isn't enough of a reason to drop $300.00 on an assemblage of books that have absolutely no relevance to each other whatsoever beyond the fact that they share the same publisher!


I would respectfully disagree with this statement, though you are certainly correct that this is a marketing ploy more than anything else. I think that the right analogy would come from the world of film, where for years The Criterion Collection has been a consumer brand associated with high-quality film restoration and re-mastering. If they were to offer a highly discounted price on a large chunk of their library, it would similarly represent a diverse body of classic work with seemingly little artistic or thematic connection. However, due to the consistency and quality of the product; the breadth of the offering; and the reasonable nature of the price, such a product would be highly desirable for many film buffs. I think that analogy holds with what L&L is offering here.


Your film analogy is somewhat misplaced.

There's an immense difference between watching great movies for personal entertainment, and reading magic books in order to learn how to perform magic for spectators (even if they're just family and friends).

Very few magicians read magic books just for the stories.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Jack Shalom » November 15th, 2016, 7:09 pm

Chris said:

But from a pure logical point of view choice is always [emphasis mine]better than not having the choice, because even if I have the choice I don't have to make use of it.


I'd like to put in a good word for The Devil, if you don't mind. The above is not a "pure logical point of view." The Devil works hard to tempt us with choice--the wrong choice. That's his job. And it may be that by having choice we are more likely to make the wrong one.

Would you argue that it's better for the waist line to have a choice between vegetables and a double-fudge ice cream cake, because we don't have to choose the latter? I suspect, if the Devil is doing his job properly (though it is so hard to get good help nowadays) having the choice makes the uninitiated often take the wrong path-- a path that might not be available had there been no choice to begin with.

So your comment is not a function of logic, it is a function of your belief that in the end, despite this, having choice will work out better.

I happen to agree with that view BTW. But it is not because of logic.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby lybrary » November 15th, 2016, 7:54 pm

The higher the hurdle of entry the less people will be able to climb over it. That is true in business, it is true in sports, and it is true for pretty much any other endeavor including magic. Limited access to information increases the hurdle of entry as well as the number of people even finding the entry. This means that the more and the easier it is to learn about magic the more will give it a try.

The more folks who give magic a try the more masters and the better experts will be the result. This is purely a matter of statistics. I will give you two examples from the world of sports which should make this clear.

- The reason why Jamaica is a force in track and field running is to a good degree caused by the fact that running is a national sport in Jamaica. Even though Jamaica has less than 3 million citizens, everybody in school has to run and take part in running competitions if they want to or not. This means their pool of runners from which they can find really fast ones is large. Somebody like Usain Bolt, who would traditionally be seen as being too tall for a sprinter, could be found in such an environment. If Usain Bolt would have been born in the US he more likely would have become a basketball player, and nobody would know that he is the fastest person who ever walked the earth.

- Similar situation is in Austria with Alpine winter sport disciplines. Austria has dominated certain Alpine disciplines for decades. One in particular is men's downhill. Even though there are only about 8 million Austrians a large portion of these get exposed to skiing. It is a national sport. No wonder that even from that small country we consistently see many of the best skiers in the world, because the pool of beginners who can potentially become superstars is big.

(I understand that the number of the starting pool is not the only factor in the two success stories shared above, but they are very important contributing factors.)

I argue that the same situation exists in magic and in pretty much any other field. The increased access to magic information allows more folks to learn it. The starting pool is therefore larger. And consequently there is a much better chance to find the 'Usain Bolts' of magic, the next generation of artists who will take the art to the next level.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Roger M. » November 15th, 2016, 8:29 pm

For the past couple of decades, magic literature has always been available in massive quantities, and - if you happen to have a computer at home, 24/7/365.

Multiple forums, torrents, legitimate book purchases, libraries large and small, magic clubs with libraries, mentors with libraries ... all have been around for DECADES, in some cases CENTURIES.

Such access to massive amounts of random, unrelated, uncorrelated data when the student doesn't already have a defined game plan means nothing at all.

As always, careful research, diligent study of key texts, perhaps a caring mentor - this is what works, indeed what's always worked.

(In the course of discussion, those with monetary agendas who consistently overstate their case should be taken with a grain of salt.)

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 15th, 2016, 8:59 pm

It can be stated most simply this way: greater access to material has not produced greater magicians. That pretty much sums it up.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby lybrary » November 15th, 2016, 9:08 pm

No wonder I disagree with Roger. You say that magic was always available in massive quantities over the last decades. I totally disagree. I started to get interested in magic in the early 1990s in Austria. Getting access to magic information was not easy back then. Books from the US were very expensive and difficult to order. Books in German were limited. You are as usual totally misinformed. This is a global phenomenon. Try to think a bit larger than just your immediate surrounding. Availability is only one side of the coin. The other one is affordability. Ebooks clearly have made many of the best magic books much more affordable and therefore increasing the number of folks who can study them.

Many magicians have stated publicly that they got hooked on magic via a magic book they found in their local library. Imagine for a moment that those libraries would have not had these magic books. Many magicians would have not got hooked on magic. I don't hear anybody arguing that magic books in libraries are bad for magic. The same line of thinking applies to digital magic information which is easily and cheaply accessible to many more folks than ever before. It is a good and necessary thing. The more people interested in magic the better for all. Performers will have larger audiences and more places to perform and earn a living. Creators will have more possibilities to create and make a living. And yes, retailers and publishers like Lybrary.com will be able to make a living, too. If that is a deplorable thing then I am guilty as charged.
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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby performer » November 15th, 2016, 9:31 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:It can be stated most simply this way: greater access to material has not produced greater magicians. That pretty much sums it up.


I think it has made them worse!

And with regard to Chris's point that the more information available the more people will give magic a try and thus the more experts come out of it. That is perfectly true but the only snag with that is that statistics also have another effect. The more people that give magic a try the more mediocrity there is out there. Law of averages. The more people that take it up as a hobby the more crap there is going to be. I still remember Dunninger saying that magic isn't supposed to be easy. And it isn't. I certainly found it hard to learn because there is far more to it than tricks. In fact the tricks are often the easy part.

I maintain that if a raw beginner in magic studies just a single really good book on the subject and ignores everything else he will in the end become a far better magician than someone who studies a bit of this and a bit of that and reads every book that comes out and purchases every trick available. That is, providing there are two caveats: One is that is a VERY good book for beginners such as Harry Lorayne's "The Magic Book" or perhaps the Mark Wilson course. With me it was the Royal Road to Card Magic. The other caveat is that he studies it with a focused intensity and is not distracted by other magic.

There is just too much information available. Quite fabulous for a hobbyist of course but it doesn't make them any good. I envy them the fun and excitement they get out of it but the sad truth is that a REALLY good magician only needs ten tricks at the most for all practical purposes. He could learn these in his first month of two of study. Add a touch of showmanship and develop a knowledge of people and that reailly is all the studying he HAS to do! Of course that wouldn't be much fun so he might as well waste the rest of his time and resources fiddling about with all the other novel diversions that may surround him. However it won't add one iota to his talent for all practical purposes.

Perhaps that is why I get rapidly bored watching even the best of magicians. I know how their tricks are done so that part of the delight escapes me. And even if I don't know how they are done I don't CARE how they are done. Why should I? I have enough tricks already. I lost interest in tricks a long, long, long time ago. Now that there are so many available nowadays that is all very well but what the hell am I supposed to do with them?

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Bill Mullins » November 16th, 2016, 12:17 am

lybrary wrote: The increased access to magic information allows more folks to learn it.


There are two ways to increase access to magic information.

One is for a single person to get a whole lot of information. This is what L&L is doing with the $299 thumb drive, and is what is driving the thread. Brad is saying that it is at best unproven that this is good for anyone but L&L and other retailers, and in his experience it is counter-productive for new students of magic.

Another is for lots and lots of people to get access to some information. The more people who know about magic, the more of them that will become good magicians seems to be what Chris is arguing. It may be true (it seems like it would be true), but it is irrelevant to the conversation about flash drives with 50 magic books on them.

Chris is missing the point when he talks about every Jamaican high school student participating in running. A better sports analogy would be to take a student, who may not have any athletic gifts but has shown some slight interest in sports, and pairing him with track coaches, wrestling coaches, archery coaches, rowing coaches, swimming coaches, basketball coaches, weightlifting coaches, and gymnastics coaches in hopes that he takes to one sport and becomes good at it. I'm pretty sure that's not how Usain Bolt became a good runner.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Jack Shalom » November 16th, 2016, 12:26 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:It can be stated most simply this way: greater access to material has not produced greater magicians. That pretty much sums it up.

Not greater perhaps, but at least as good on average. There were a lot of crappy magicians in the Golden Age as well. Sturgeon's Law holds across time periods.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Roger M. » November 16th, 2016, 1:25 am

lybrary wrote: You are as usual totally misinformed.


Perspective.

You are, as you note yourself ... a salesman of ebooks who uses the Genii forum to hawk his wares.

Put into the proper context, your inability to see anybody else's perspective on this issue weakens your otherwise interesting posts.

Regardless, you'll never change my mind on the subject, and I've no desire to change yours.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby performer » November 16th, 2016, 5:00 am

Roger M. wrote:
lybrary wrote: You are as usual totally misinformed.


Perspective.

You are, as you note yourself ... a salesman of ebooks who uses the Genii forum to hawk his wares.

Put into the proper context, your inability to see anybody else's perspective on this issue weakens your otherwise interesting posts.

Regardless, you'll never change my mind on the subject, and I've no desire to change yours.


Oh, Chris offers a good and useful service. And since I am renowned as a model of politeness I would have thought a nicer phrase than "hawk his wares" would be "promoting his merchandise". In any event I don't think that is his main purpose in posting here. I bet he hardly gets a cent out of this stodgy lot!

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby erdnasephile » November 16th, 2016, 6:25 am

Bill Mullins wrote:
lybrary wrote:
Chris is missing the point when he talks about every Jamaican high school student participating in running. A better sports analogy would be to take a student, who may not have any athletic gifts but has shown some slight interest in sports, and pairing him with track coaches, wrestling coaches, archery coaches, rowing coaches, swimming coaches, basketball coaches, weightlifting coaches, and gymnastics coaches in hopes that he takes to one sport and becomes good at it. I'm pretty sure that's not how Usain Bolt became a good runner.


I also feel the sports analogy is not perfect, but with respect, there are data that suggest children benefit by avoiding sports hyperspecialization at an early age: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/11/opini ... .html?_r=0

Which brings me to my larger point. I'm glad that over time I had access to more than one book/trick when I was a kid. Had someone said to me: "Here's a book, you don't get another until I say so," I might've gotten bored and quit altogether, regardless on how great the book was. (I suspect this would have been even more likely in this multitasking age.)

For me, part of the fun when first getting started is racing around the house of magic and peering into it's many rooms and learning/performing as much as you can. It's that unbridled joy and enthusiasm, without worry about what's not commercial or what's allegedly too hard, that gave me my lifelong love of magic. I'm glad that while others helped guide me, no one forced me to do anything when first starting out.

I certainly agree that intentional focus is the quickest way to advance to competency or even expert skill, while only random playing is less so. However, that is something for those whom the bug has already bitten. IMHO, for those who are not prodigies of destiny, magic needs to be FUN for beginners or they will be soon be lost to other pursuits. To that end, a bit of useful variety (even looking at advanced material now and again) can be a good thing to prevent premature burnout.

PS: For that matter, even those of us who have been at it for a while could use the reminder that John Carney gave me once: "Remember, this is supposed to be fun!"
PPS: I realize that all students are different, so certainly, YMMV, and this is just my own personal two cents.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby Jack Shalom » November 16th, 2016, 7:22 am

PPS: I realize that all students are different.


Exactly. When it comes to learning of any kind, it's rarely one size fits all.

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Re: An L & L Bombshell?

Postby lybrary » November 16th, 2016, 8:11 am

Bill Mullins wrote:Another is for lots and lots of people to get access to some information. The more people who know about magic, the more of them that will become good magicians seems to be what Chris is arguing. It may be true (it seems like it would be true), but it is irrelevant to the conversation about flash drives with 50 magic books on them.

Pretty narrow minded point of view. What do you know about what customers will do with these 50 ebooks? Maybe some will buy this collection, then split it up into 50 presents for 50 different folks. Maybe the title or anything else intriguing of one of these 50 ebooks prompts the child, nephew or some other visitor to the customer's house to take up magic. Maybe when the customer dies some heir finds his collection of ebooks and gets hooked on magic that way. The pathways into magic are many and varied. And the more information about magic the more there are. I got hooked on magic due to a math book. Nobody could have predicted that. As others have correctly stated every student is different. Different talents, different skill levels, different needs, motivations, triggers, ... more information means more pathways into magic, more ways to stay interested in magic, more ways and chances to get better at it. Folks, it is not that hard to understand.
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