Decisions, decisions

A place where beginners can participate, ask questions, and post their views. However, beginners typically ask a lot of questions about sources, tricks, books, and so on. In fact, all magicians are interested (or should be) in the provenance of tricks, ideas, and related matters. This department will service these needs.

Postby Guest » 01/04/04 03:24 PM

Evening all, I was just wondering; I've been doing magic for a couple of months now and have a rudimentary graps of the basic techniques. I've more or less been taught by Nicolas Einhorn's Encyclodepia to Magic, my other pieces of noteable material being The Expert At the Card Table, which I consider a little too deep for me, and Derren Brown's The Devil's Picturebook, which I'm getting along with quite well. So what's the point? The this.

Christmas has left me with a ten pounds Waterstones voucher burning a hole in my pocket and I'm stuck between getting The Royal Road to Card Magic (which has been highly recommended here, but I seem to know most of the material therein), The Encyclopedia to Card Magic (by one of the same authors as the former, looks a little thicker) and an even larger one simply entitled Magic in multicolours (the author's name has slipped my mind). So the question is, which one to get, knowing that I want to advance a little, instead of getting a book repeating that which I already know?

Many thanks to all


Postby Guest » 01/04/04 05:44 PM

Based on your opening paragraph and if your choice is limited to the three books listed, i'd personally go for the Encyclopedia of Card Tricks.

It's crammed with effects in a host of categories along with a very small section on sleights (no diagrams though).

Postby opie » 01/05/04 06:53 AM


You might want to look at Wilson's Complete Course in Magic or Tarr's Now You See It, Now You Don't. Both books will give you a good overview of what you should know and learn...

Posts: 501
Joined: 03/14/08 10:43 AM
Location: austin tx

Postby Guest » 01/05/04 01:15 PM

Ah yes, Mark Wilson was the author of the third mentioned book, although I took another glance today and it seems to have a little too much on other type of magic such as string and cup and ball. I think I'll opt for the Encyclodepia of Card Magic. Many thanks to all.


Postby Randy » 01/05/04 02:39 PM

Since you state that you have some "basic techniques" down, it may be wise to spend your cash on a book dealing more with performance than tricks. Try "Magic & Showmanship" by Henning Nelms. May be a bit much to grasp for a beginner but there is much valuable info in this book if you really, really read it. Good luck to you and your endevor into the art of magic.
Posts: 140
Joined: 03/13/08 01:41 PM

Postby Dave Shepherd » 01/05/04 03:44 PM

I think I might recommend Eugene Burger's "Mastering the Art of Magic" over Nelms for good, accessible insight into performance.

Nelms can be a bit forbidding, even to someone trained in acting as I am. A lot of magicians I know find it difficult to apply much of Nelms to the everyday world in which most of us perform.

Burger's book not only has some great thoughts about performing and making a trick your own; it also contains some great tricks!
Dave Shepherd
Posts: 423
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: 15 miles w. of Washington, DC

Postby Randy » 01/05/04 04:04 PM

Very good advice Dave. Anybody else think that this beginner should look into performance material vs. another book of tricks? If so, what book on performance would YOU recommend to a beginner? Any thoughts?
Posts: 140
Joined: 03/13/08 01:41 PM

Postby Guest » 01/06/04 12:55 PM

I'll have to check those out, because I'm fairly sure that they weren't on shelf. Despite my most enthusiatic attempts, I've been unable to locate a magic store within Birmingham so I don't think I'll be able to purchase more than the usual books retailers sell.

Gratitude to all. Today was a fairly worthwhile day to be a magi; Derren Brown's Invisible Deal working wonders amongst the masses :)

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 01/06/04 01:21 PM

While you won't find Burger's book in mainstream bookstores, I did pick up my copy of Nelm's "Magic and Showmanship" from a Barnes and Noble.

On the other hand, if you're looking for books on performance, and you're going to be in a mainstream bookstore anyway, head on over to the public speaking and acting sections. You'll get more bang for your buck there. I believe I made another post somewhere on this board with a list of suggestions in those areas.

If you want to stick with card tricks, though, both Royal Road and The Encyclopedia of Cards Tricks are good bets.

The Amateur Magician's handbook is another great book, which covers just about every branch of magic out there. I'd highly recommend it.

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

Postby Guest » 01/07/04 12:12 PM

Originally posted by Jason Lee:
...The Encyclopedia to Card Magic (by one of the same authors as the former, looks a little thicker)
I bought Encyclopedia to Card Magic when I was only 3 years into magic, and was quite disappointed. If we're talking about the same volume, it is a book of card tricks with trick cards and decks. That may be valuable, but not to someone who's interested in learning real sleight of hand.

I'd suggest you go for the real stuff.

Postby Guest » 01/07/04 06:46 PM

Tarrs series " Now you see it now you don't " has all the rudimentary sleights and a few tricks to give anyone a very solid foundation. May I also suggest Mac Kings "Tricks with your Head " . I feel that was a very underrated book !
Peace Out !
Amazing Dick

Postby Guest » 01/09/04 11:25 PM

A great book for developing magicians teaching classic magic tricks and presentation, misdirection, performance attitude/approach, and how to create one's own presentations is:

Secrets of Alkazar, also known as A Book of Magic for Young Magicians in the mass-market Dover reprint.

Wonderful advice, including a list of 15 ways to have a card selected. Super ideas for multiple alternate presentations to develop, and simple card methods producing big impact results. Marvelous patience in discussing naturalness and smoothness in movement, and much more.

Hey, I managed to write an entire post of all sentence fragments! Oops, that sentence "blew it"... :D


Postby Guest » 01/13/04 07:04 AM

I have to cast another vote for "Now You See It, Now You Don't". That book has a great range of material which belies its size. You can start simple and work up to complex sleights with that book.

Don't forget the Tarbell Course In Magic series. Every book has great stuff, but start with Vol. 1, of course.

Postby Guest » 01/13/04 12:46 PM

I'll keep searching and ordering books in until the bank balance reaches somewhere near to that big fat zero. Thanks for the help guys.


Postby CraigMac » 02/19/04 09:32 AM

Jason - you might want to check out :

for a magic dealer in your area. Keith would also be able to point you in the direction of the local magic society, which is very active.

Posts: 9
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Toronto, Canada

Return to Reference Room