Books for Beginners

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Matt R » 12/17/08 09:33 PM

Here's an article which are some of the best books for beginners and a tip on the best site to find books on the Internet (besides the Kaufman & Company website of course)

Books for Beginners Article
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Postby Lee Almond » 12/17/08 11:24 PM

Interesting subject. I just purchased my great nephew (damn I'm getting old) Mark Wilson's Complete Course In Magic. In my demented mind the best book ever published for the beginner in our art. Period. Thanks Mr. Wilson!
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Postby magicbar » 12/26/08 11:41 AM

When I have recommended books to beginners I also recommend the library and a good magic shop but regardless of topic I always stress to just find a book at one's reading level. Material aside, the book is of no use if it is so advanced you can't understand it or it is too simple to where it bores you. There are plenty to choose from.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/16/09 01:16 PM

Tarbell
Stay tooned.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/16/09 01:22 PM

Most don't make it through the introductory chapters and rush on to find tricks. Even our more serious students tend to avoid learning about just what it is we are using tricks to simulate.

The first chapter in Tarbell volume 1 is pretty good for perspective. If you want a similar for magic's roots, try the first chapter in Magic Without Tears.

* and now a moment of ecology for those who just want to feel clever about tricks and disdain any discussions of knowledge or attendant responsibilities -
Is that wand loaded or is it just the performer?
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby mattyMagic » 03/11/09 04:50 AM

thank you!!!!
By reading this you will suddenly explode!
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Postby catzndog » 03/23/09 12:02 PM

On eof the things I do when I am looking to buy a book on the interent is I first check that the book is available and in what media - hard cover, paperback, audio cd, etc.

Then I find out if there are used versions of the one I am looking for. I then check out whether the item can be shipped to my province.

You have to review the shipping charges though.
I have found a number of great deals on books and cd's but then found that the shipping costs were twice or more than the item cost.

Checking different countries for the same company such as Amazon can also find you some bargains.

I am specifically looking for some simple magic or illusion tricks that can be given away as party gifts.

Does anyone know of any?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/23/09 12:13 PM

You can wait for mine to come out in October. :) Retail should be $20 or so.
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 03/29/09 09:49 AM

Richard, what book are you writing?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/29/09 10:14 AM

A book for beginners. I finished the text last night. We have to shoot photos for the final three chapters today and tomorrow. 19 chapters total.
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Postby Francesca Moffet » 04/03/09 05:45 AM

I am drowning under the vast amount of books for beginners that have been recommended to me. I am going to read Tarbell once I've finished my current one.
Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, and they both take practice.
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Postby mksimith » 04/20/09 03:22 AM

thank you
lol
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Postby Raj Madhok » 05/04/09 12:20 PM

No one has mentioned the free downloadable book "Under Over" that Josh Jay has put out on the new Vanishing Inc site.
http://vanishingincmagic.com/

It's full of useful advice on learning magic, resources including books, booking, dress, and much more. The second half answers questions from a parent's perspective about this hobby we all love so much.

It's geared towards youth and their parents but I think there's plenty of worthwhile ideas for everyone.
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Postby donjoao » 06/16/09 05:43 AM

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Postby Harry Lorayne » 06/21/09 01:23 PM

I wrote one book just for beginners (The Magic Book), but it's out of print at the moment. Too bad. HL.
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Postby Eric Fry » 06/21/09 03:57 PM

Apropos of the list of books referred to in the original post, I'm always surprised that magicians think "Now You See It, Now You Don't" is a good book for beginners.

Let's see, the first two card sleights he teaches are the palm and the pass. Are those what you'd recommend total beginners start with?

The book is filled with comments and details that I think are inadequate or misguided.

He says the real problem with palming is getting the card into your hand. Actually, the real problems are holding the card naturally once you've palmed it and getting it back on the deck, in my opinion. He doesn't even discuss providing a motivation for bringing your hands together on the deck.

It may sound like I'm a nobody beating up on Tarr, but think about what you'd really say to a total beginner if you taught him how to palm.

Then there are the tricks, the first of which is a one-stage ambitious card in which the beginner must double lift while people are staring at his hands. Is that the first trick you'd teach a beginner? And maybe he should mention that the trick won't be very impressive unless the card is signed.

For his second trick of the book, he says don't try it until you've had lots of experience! I guess that means you should go out and buy another beginner's book on magic, learn the stuff, get experience, and then come back and do the second trick of Tarr's book.

No advice on presentation for each trick, or how to create interest, or how to misdirect.

What am I missing?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/21/09 04:41 PM

The essential problem with the Tarr book, choice of material aside, is that there is very little text and a lot of drawings. People buy it for the artwork, not the text. I don't know how much you can learn from pretty much just looking at drawings, but it's been one of the best-selling magic books in history.
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Postby Ray Eden » 06/21/09 04:44 PM

I started with Tarr's book and found it quite useful. Of course, I was reading other books at the same time. It was quite nice to read the "how to" in other books and then refer to his drawings. At the age of 16, it was very useful.
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Postby Dynamike » 09/12/09 01:43 PM

I agree with Mark Wilson's Complete Course In Magic.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/12/09 02:40 PM

The Tarr books are not good for beginners to learn from (though they inspired many), and neither is the Mark Wilson course. The former lacks any reasonable explanations of the material, while the latter is simply too big to drop into the lap of a beginner (though it is well written, with large sections done by Earl Nelson and David Roth, among others--there's a story to be written about who really wrote all that material and decided what was going to go into the book).

My book, Knack Magic Tricks, is now for sale on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Knack-Magic-Trick ... 248&sr=8-1

While Knack Magic Tricks is 256 pages, I took an entirely different approach, one partially dictated by the format of the Knack series (of which my book is only one). I teach about 60 tricks--GOOD to GREAT tricks, and I take it very slowly for the reader.

I will be selling signed copies when I get them, some time in December they tell me. If you don't care about getting a signed one, then go to amazon and hit Buy It Now. :) I don't get paid based on the number of books sold, but it would give me some personal pleasure if the Knack Magic Tricks book sold as well or better than other books in the Knack series.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 09/12/09 03:00 PM

Why does the image on Amazon say "Daniel Gray, Founder of Genii Magazine"?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/12/09 03:36 PM

It's a dummy book cover that will be replaced shortly (hopefully with one that also has the word "Foreword" spelled properly). :)
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Postby ashiyanayoga » 09/21/09 05:46 AM

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Postby Greg Edmonds » 09/21/09 09:11 AM

If and when the beginner gets "serious," I agree completely with Mr. Biro. Though the patter is dated (on that topic, does anyone say "patter" these days? It seems a long time since I've seen it written in a book or magazine), Tarbell is still the most thoroughgoing option available for a solid overview of all that is legerdemain.

Richard, I wish you well with your new publication; given your previous work, I think it's not unreasonable to suppose that yours will become the standard by which other such tomes are judged.

Greg
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Postby Rich Mielke » 05/28/12 08:41 PM

Hi All,
Could someone tell me the difference between:

Mark Wilson's Complete Course In Magic.
and
Mark Wilson's Cyclopedia Of Magic.

Thanks
Rich
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Postby Richard Hatch » 05/29/12 01:34 AM

Rich, Wilson's Complete Course (written, I believe, by Walter B. Gibson) has been issued in several formats and sliced up in different ways over the years. The Cyclopedia is a large chunk of the Complete Course, in a much smaller format. Judging by the advertised illustration count in the Cyclopedia ("over 1,500 illustrations") versus the same for the Complete Course ("over 2,000 illustrations"), it is reasonable to guess that the Cyclopedia contains roughly 75% of the Complete Course. Both are bargains, but you'll eventually want the Complete Course, I suspect.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 05/29/12 02:16 AM

Ditto what Richard says about getting the full course book (and yes, Gibson is the co-author, but Mark Wilson is the listed author so if looking it up in a database by author, such as at a large bookstore or library, use Wilson).

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Postby Bob Cunningham » 05/29/12 02:35 AM

The hardcover edition of "Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic" is available used, but ingood condition, from Amazon.com for about $7.50 (including shipping).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ ... ition=used
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Postby Ted M » 05/29/12 09:47 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:the Mark Wilson course [...] is well written, with large sections done by Earl Nelson and David Roth, among others--there's a story to be written about who really wrote all that material and decided what was going to go into the book.

Possible Genii article?
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Postby Rich Mielke » 05/29/12 12:48 PM

Thanks everyone,
I just ordered both through Amazon $13.64 including shipping for both.

Thanks Again
Rich
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 05/29/12 11:29 PM

Uh oh: Now you're a collector!
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/30/12 09:59 AM

Ted M wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:the Mark Wilson course [...] is well written, with large sections done by Earl Nelson and David Roth, among others--there's a story to be written about who really wrote all that material and decided what was going to go into the book.

Possible Genii article?

Seconded - be great to get Mark Wilson to introduce how he got the book together.
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Postby erdnasephile » 05/30/12 10:16 AM

Didn't Larry Wilson have a hand in the Mark Wilson course?
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Postby Frank Yuen » 05/30/12 08:11 PM

I think that was Larry Anderson of Jaw Droppers fame.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 05/30/12 09:30 PM

Yes, Larry Anderson was part of the team who helped put the course together. He worked for Mark for a while, including on the TV show "The Magician" where he can be ssen now and then as one of "Tony Blake's" assistants.
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Postby Rich Mielke » 06/10/12 10:04 PM

I have just recieved the books,

Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic (MWCCiM)
and
Mark Wilson's Cyclopedia of Magic : A complete course (MWCoM:ACC)

Size:
MWCCiM, 8 1/2 x 11 x 1 1/4, 203 pages
MWCoM:ACC, 4 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 1 1/2, 638 pages

Content:
MWCCiM, 27 chapters
MWCoM:ACC, 21 Chapters, and a couple less tricks per chapter.

My opinion: If you can only buy one, get Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic, But I paid less than $15 for both(used from Amazon). I plan to cary MWCoM:ACC in my pocket or brief case. I think it will come in handy for those times when I have a few minutes to practice and I'm away from the house.
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