'Geist' reviewed - Harling & Nyrup's latest book.

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Postby Guest » 05/17/06 05:28 AM

I found this on another board. I have seen no other reviews of this item or dealer details other than what's here. Anyone else have the book yet, it sounds interesting and a bit of a departure from Sleight of Mind?

The first thing you notice is that this book is 200 pages packed solid with ideas and routines, this isn't a read that anyone's going to be able to get through in an afternoon. No fillers or pages only half full of text or with just a picture of the Mentalist's mum on them, this is obviously a labour of love that has taken some considerable time to put together.

And what do you get for your money? More than I think I've gotten from any other Mentalist book for a long time. It's not just that there are a truckload of good (many very original) routines in the book, but above all it's given me pause for thought in ways that few mentalist writings have ever done.

Geist is clear, interesting and readable, but a different kind of book from Sleight of Mind entirely. Geist is both a 'trick book' and a look at a subject that's at the very core of Mentalism and magic, the 'Geist' itself. According to the authors, the term 'Geist', " Denotes the implied (rather than actual) driving mechanism behind any trick or effect - the method that a Subject or audience believes makes an effect work. By subtle use of the Geist, a card trick for example is made to seem to be a feat of mental/psychic skill rather than the sleight of hand it may really be. There are numerous uses for the Geist; it's an exceptionally influential means of misdirection - and a way of maximising the effect that your performance has on an audience by changing the Geist of each routine to meet their desires and beliefs."

Although I have given the idea of the Geist some thought, actually reading about it and thinking more about the way I use it and how I could use it I realise it's something that I've pretty much ignored for the last 20 years. 'Thought provoking' is an often over-used term in the book world, but for once, in Geist' case it's true.

As for the tricks themselves, the book is no let down. Each of the efects and its variations is well though out and very useable; in places the scripting and attention to detail are tremendous. I have a real problem learning anything physical from books, but this was all very well explained, with a lot of photos to help illustrate everything that was happening. Most tricks also seem designed to be performed in impromptu situations with a minimum of set-up. Best of the bunch for me:

1) 'Concipio' (a very simple gaff that I really wish I'd thought up) for its ease of use and number of applications. A great force mechanism for just about any word, number, etc. Their routine 'Beast' is excellent dark work and plays like a dream.
2) 'Killer' - Ridiculous, verging on the impossible, but a somehow very believable banknote serial number revelation.
3) 'Birth Year'. Discover the Subject's birth year in a very entertaining routine that plays to audiences big and small.
4) 'Reversal - the Harling & Nyrup Solution' - as others hae asked about this, why hasn't there been a method of discovering a way back to the Subject's original number before? A mathematical gem.

The more I write I realise that it doesn't do Geist justice to single out individual routines and to try to be critical of them, every one is more than competent and well-presented. The mathematical work they've done on the Fabonnaci Series effects and Reversal for example, the depth of background and clarity of scripting throughout, it's all of a very high standard. A nice touch was to leave one clever effect mechanism undeveloped to allow the reader to use it as a means to come up with his own routines! Even the Glossary, a resource in itself, is crammed full of useful information.

If I have to be critical then I can only base that criticism on pure greed. I would liked the book to be 400 pages, not 200. I felt that the routines could all have been developed ad infinitum and, should that have been the case I personally think that Geist would be hailed as one of the classics. As it is, a wonderful resource that I know will have something in it for everybody.

MelT "

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