influential books

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby Brian Marks » 08/09/01 12:39 AM

what are the most influential books in magic?
in cards?
stage and parlor?

Brian Marks
Posts: 914
Joined: 01/30/08 01:00 PM
Location: Nyack, NY

Postby Eric DeCamps » 08/09/01 09:50 AM


Right off the top of my head and for what it's worth, here's my preliminary list of the magic books that most influenced me.

General Close - Up Magic

Stars of Magic, Dai Vernon Book of Magic, Slydini Encores, Magic without Apparatus, Sach's Sleight of Hand, The Five Points of Magic, The Modern Conjuror and the complete Tarbell Course.


Modern Coin Magic, Coin Magic (Kaufman & Greenberg), Coin Magic (Jean Hugard), Mohammad Bey's Okito Coin Box Routines and David Roth's Expert Coin Magic.


Expert at the Card Table, Royal Road to Card Magic, The Card Expert Entertains and Expert Card Technique.


Our Magic, Tarbell Course, Showmanship for Magicians, Expert at the Card Table, 52 Lovers, Magic of the Soul, The Card Expert Entertains, My Magical Life and The Five Points of Magic.


Illusion Show, Our Magic and anything written by Steinmeyer.

Eric DeCamps
Eric DeCamps
Posts: 312
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Forest Hills, NY

Postby Michael Edwards » 08/09/01 10:41 AM


Eric's list would make a wonderful libary for anyone seriously interested in magic.

My list would certainly overlap, though the term "influential" leads me to a slightly different list than I would construct if you had asked "best books" or "essential reading."

My list of influential magic books would have to begin with those texts that set the stage for modern conjuring -- Robert-Houdin's Secrets of Conjuring and Magic, Professor Hoffmann's Modern Magic and T. Nelson Downs' Art of Magic. I would undoubtedly include the Tarbell course, Sach's Sleight of Hand, Nelms' Magic and Showmanship, the Fitzkee trilogy and probably Maskelyne and Devant's Our Magic for their contributions to the craft. Hay's Amateur Magicians handbook probably started more young people down the road to conjuring than any other text. Corrinda's 13 Steps to Mentalism and Bobo's Modern Coin Magic each had tremendous impact in their fields.

As for magic with cards, Erdnase was the bible for more than one generation of cardicians, Hugard and Braue's Royal Road to Card Magic was the path on which so many of us began, and the Vernon works established the standard for great card magic.
Michael Edwards
Posts: 516
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Washington, DC

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 08/09/01 10:58 AM

Some books that have influenced me:

For Theory & Presentation:
  • Anything by Eugene Burger, but especially Mastering the Art of Magic and Growing in the Art of Magic (esp. the chapters 'Imagination, Solitude and Creativity' and 'Seeking a Magical Vision').

  • The Five Points in Magic by Juan Tamariz - Hard to find, but worth the search. Tamariz show you how to use the body to enhance your magic, misdirection, and presentation.

  • Magic From the Soul by Rene Lavand - A wonderfully inspirational book as far as presentation and how magic should look, by a true master of the art.

  • Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms - Nelms takes acting techniques and shows why they are important to all magicians.

  • In a Class by Himself: The Legacy of Don Alan, by Jon Racherbaumer - Really opened my eyes not only to why Don Alan was important to the older generation of folks, but also to how interaction with your audience really strengthens the magic.

For Cards:
  • Royal Road to Card Magic by Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue - The basics in a small, affordable book.

  • Expert Card Technique by Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue - A great follow-up to Royal Road

  • Card College by Roberto Giobbi - Served as a great refresher to me for basic technique, as well as introducing me to some newer techniques not found in older books. The theory section in Vol. 2 is excellent as well and you can apply that to more than jsut card magic.

For Coins:
  • Modern Coin Magic by J.B. Bobo. Nuff said.

For General Magic:
  • Stars of Magic by Vernon, Slydini, Scarne, Carlyle, Bertram, etc. (I know I'm leaving some people out...I can't recall who else is in there right now) - Great material from some of the most influential people in magic.

  • The Amateur Magician's Handbook, by Henry Hay - This is the book that got me started.

  • Tarbell Course in Magic by Harlan Tarbell - You want it, it's here.

Jim Maloney_dup1
Posts: 1709
Joined: 07/23/01 12:00 PM
Location: Northern New Jersey

Postby Matthew Field » 08/09/01 12:05 PM

You might want to check out David Acer's excellent column in a Genii from late last year (Nov or Dec 2000, I think) in which he asked many magicians to list their 10 favorite books.

Matt Field
User avatar
Matthew Field
Posts: 2647
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 08/09/01 12:16 PM

I agree that was a good article. I'm actually using it as a guide for my book purchases right now. :) I believe it was the Aug. 2000 issue, however - the one with Adelaide Hermann on the cover.


[ August 09, 2001: Message edited by: Jim Maloney ]
Jim Maloney_dup1
Posts: 1709
Joined: 07/23/01 12:00 PM
Location: Northern New Jersey

Postby Brian Marks » 08/10/01 01:12 AM

David Acer's column is why I am asking the question. I wanted to here from more than 25 people and it is a subect that should be updated. Every year Forune Magazine list the 500 most powerful business from around the world while Forbes lists the most powerful people. This should be at least something Genii looks at annually, not just occasionally. also new books how they compare is something I find interesting.

Here is a list of my favorites: Nothing surprising here.

coins: David Roth's Expert Coin Magic, Bobo's Modern Coin Magic.

card: Expert at the Card Table, Royal Road to Card Magic and Card College

mentalism: Theater of the Mind and Thirteen Steps to Mentalism

The Art of Magic, The Workers Series, Unexplainable Acts, Simon Says and Eugene Berger's Books round out my favorites.
Brian Marks
Posts: 914
Joined: 01/30/08 01:00 PM
Location: Nyack, NY

Postby Guest » 08/10/01 07:31 AM

Since my list would be identical to several already listed, I just wanted to add that "Strong Magic" by Darwin Ortiz would be on the list.

Postby Brian » 08/11/01 09:59 PM

Hi All -

I just wanted to add a couple of cents to the wonderful lists of books here, namely
"The Art of Close Up Magic, Vol 1"

I've gotten more WORKABLE material out of that book than any other I can think of.
Posts: 6
Joined: 06/28/08 01:22 AM

Postby Guest » 08/12/01 06:49 PM

I would like to echo many of the books mentioned. If I had just to choose one book in each catagory it would be:

Cards: Inner Card Trilogy Dai Vernon
Coins: David Roths Expert coin magic
General: Magic of Michel Ammar

But the book which has pride of place in my library which has hot been mentioned so far(and this probably reflects more on my personal interests than anything else) is The Art of Astonishment trilogy by Mr. Paul Harris

Best wishes

Postby Guest » 08/13/01 05:22 AM

The most influential books in these areas for me, are:

Cards - Erdnase, Expert at the Card Table ; Dai Vernon, Inner Card Trilogy ; Royal Road to Card Magic, Hugard and Braue; Expert Card Technique

Coins - Modern Coin Magic, Bobo

Mentalism - Mind, Myth and Magick, T.A. Waters; Theatre of the Mind, Barrie Richardson

Close-up - Art of Astonishment, Paul Harris

Theory / Application - Strong Magic, Darwin Ortiz

Postby Michael Edwards » 08/13/01 07:17 AM

It appears that Brian's initial question was read in two differing ways. I thought it to be a question about the most influential books in these realms...meaning that they were instrumental in shaping the art and craft of magic generally. Others read it as a question about which books had the greatest impact on them personally. Both are intriguing questions...though different. What's particularly interesting is the degree of overlapping in these two approaches.
Michael Edwards
Posts: 516
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Washington, DC

Return to General