Giobbi on ECT

Discuss the views of your favorite Genii columnists.

Postby Jim Morton » 02/26/02 12:54 PM

When I opened my copy of Genii yesterday, I was amused to see Roberto Giobbi's column dedicated to Hugard & Braue's Expert Card Technique. Coincidentally, I was going through my library a couple weeks ago, and I noticed my beat-up old copy of ECT. "It's been a while since I went through that book," I thought. I took the book down and have been carrying it around with me ever since. Too often we spend time and money trying to find the latest word in magic, when the real stuff is already sitting on our bookshelves. Kudos to Mr. Giobbi for pointing this out, and for his interesting article on the origins of this fine book.

Jim
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Postby James Foster » 02/26/02 01:25 PM

Originally posted by Jim Morton:
Too often we spend time and money trying to find the latest word in magic, when the real stuff is already sitting on our bookshelves.
Jim


While I look forward to reading new books, both within and outside of magic, I'm always pleasantly surprised by either re-reading books already on my shelf or by the discovery of some past published gem. The literature of magic is particularly dense and, at times, very rich. Consequently, it is easy, if not excusable, to pass over classic texts. However, as Giobbi warns, let us not forget the fine books that provide both the foundation and future of magic. Indeed, if one just focused on the material in the Dover line of publications, one would have a lifetime of material and techniques. Mike Rogers, in a fine piece originally written for the Gemini network and republished on the Steven's Magic web site, claimed that one of the things that bugged him the most was magicians who hadn't read Expert Card Technique, among other texts.

Jim's experience of re-discovery is a good lesson for all of us to return to our bookshelves to read, study, and ponder the wealth of material already in our collections. Happy hunting...
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Postby Guest » 02/27/02 12:35 AM

I agree. This proves my point that most magicians buy and own and hoard too many magic books. If Giobbi lists ECT as one of his five most read magic books, how useful are the other 3495 in his library? Sure, there may always be SOMETHING worthwhile in them. But I don't go that route. The fact is: Everything you read is to the exclusion of something else. Think about that the next time you decide to actually read one of your magic books. You may be intruigued to read the latest book by some flash in the pan, but is that better than reading and studying ECT, or Erdnase, or The Vernon Book Of Magic, etc etc. I can honestly say that the more books I got rid of, the better my library got.
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Postby Guest » 02/27/02 04:55 AM

"I can honestly say that the more books I got rid of, the better my library got."

This subject just came up when discussing books with a friend of mine. I told him that although I probably own about 300 books on magic, there are maybe 30 books that I really get anything out of. Out of those 30 books, there are approximately 12 I have to have in my library.
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Postby CHRIS » 02/27/02 08:35 AM

It is a very interesting fact that there are so many magic books. No other field of art has such a large bibliography.

Why is that? There are not that many magicians. I have my own theory but I would be interested in your thoughts. Why are there so many magic books/magazines? And why do they keep coming and coming with no end in sight?

Chris.... Lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time.
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Postby Thomas Van Aken » 02/27/02 08:52 AM

Mike Rogers, (...)claimed that one of the things that bugged him the most was magicians who hadn't read Expert Card Technique, among other texts.

I wonder what M. Roger use to think about card magicians who hadn't read "The Royal Road to Cardmagic"...(and they are many)
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Postby Bill Mullins » 02/27/02 08:58 AM

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
It is a very interesting fact that there are so many magic books. No other field of art has such a large bibliography.

Why is that? [/URL]


First, I think other fields of art have, in fact, larger bibliographies. Check the painting section of your public library, and compare that to the magic section. Yes, most magic books aren't in the public library, but there is no reason to think that most art books are either (go to a research library at a big university, or at the National Gallery in Washington, to see a _big_ selection of art books -- bigger than any magic library I've ever seen). Likewise theater/plays, poetry, sculpture.

But magic does have a large amount of printed matter compared to the number of practicioners. Why? because so many pros make a chunk of their money by selling self published books (lecture notes), so magicians have a greater incentive to write a "book" [I feel a little awkward calling a publication printed on a photocopier a "book"]. Also, since there is little protection in the law for the creative output of magicians, many try to establish credit for their original thinking by getting it down on paper, thus a continual amount of material for self-published books and magazines and journals.

Plus, some people churn out stuff just to keep Jon Racherbaumer fuming about the "glut" <G>.

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Postby Brian Morton » 02/27/02 10:57 AM

James Foster writes:
Jim's experience of re-discovery is a good lesson for all of us to return to our bookshelves to read, study, and ponder the wealth of material already in our collections.


I don't feel the need to start off a new topic here, but I'm curious. In the manner of the "what's on your bedside table" type of question, what you you guys currently "re-reading" or rediscovering.

I often just go to my librbary and pull out a book I hadn't looked at in a while, just to get my mind off the kinks of the current repetoire. Right now I'm "rediscovering" Tommy Wonder's discourse on "direction," as opposed to misdirection, in the first of the Books Of Wonder.

So -- what are you rediscovering lately?

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Postby Jim Morton » 02/27/02 11:03 AM

For the reasons I already stated, I like to pull out all my old books from time to time and go through them. My favorite book for doing this is Greater Magic. The more books I read, the more I appreciate what an amazing book it is.

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Postby Guest » 02/27/02 11:05 AM

Brian,

Good question. If I had to have magic books that I couldn't do without, they would be the following : (also keep in mind that I perform card magic exclusively and these are books that are available as of 2/2002)

Card College - Vol. 1-4
Royal Road to Card Magic
Expert Card Technique
All books written by Darwin Ortiz (which covers Erdnase)
Vernon's Inner Secrets Trilogy
Close Up Card Magic - Harry Lorayne
All books written by Juan Tamariz

My magic is heavily influenced, shaped, structured etc. from these sources. There are other books I like and have gotten stuff out of (ie - Classic Magic of Larry Jennings, Tarbell 1-7, etc.) but the sources I listed above or the ones that I find most useful for me.

[ March 02, 2002: Message edited by: Mark Ennis ]
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Postby Pete McCabe » 02/27/02 12:09 PM

Every six months or so I go through my library and see which books make me think "man, I should read that again."

The ones that do this, I read them again.

The ones that don't, I send to H&R Magic Books. Dick Hatch tells me how much credit they're worth in exchange, and I order new (i.e. used) books to replace them.

This helps keep my library (and my magic budget) down to a manageable size. And it also helps remind me to reread all the great books that are part of my "permanent" collection.
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Postby Guest » 03/01/02 08:09 PM

Pete,
I admire your willingness to let your library be a bit "liquid". Just curious, What are some of the books you've NEVER let go? And, are there any that you ended up buying more than once? And are there any that you let go, and now want but can't get? Its often hard for magi to let go of any of their books, but for me it became easy, when I looked at what I was KEEPING, instead of what I was getting rid of. Its a great feeling by the way, for those of you who haven't done it. You make a few bucks, you feel free, your library becomes smaller but better, and its less FORMIDABLE.
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Postby Guest » 03/02/02 06:50 AM

Hmmm, the problem with letting books go, is that on a later reading you might find something you like that you missed or couldn't perform first time around.

I had a big clear out about 18 years ago with the intention of keeping a "working" library. MANY times since then I have kicked myself for not being able to check a reference, because I no longer have the book!

What do you consider a manageable size Peter, the famous "Five foot shelf"? :)

If you want a good library, keep 'em all,
but that doesn't mean buy 'em all! Add selectively.

My last really good book investment was The James File.

Paul Hallas www.PH-Marketing-magic.co.uk

[ March 02, 2002: Message edited by: Paul Hallas ]
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/02/02 12:14 PM

I'm glad to see some comment about Roberto Giobbi's new column, because no one said a thing about the first one! Was wondering if anyone was paying attention.
The second part of the "Expert Card Technique" column will be in the May issue, which we are laying out now.
Here are my books that I reread:
1) Cliff Green's Professional Card Magic--absolutely the most underrated book in our field.
2) Hofzinser's Card Magic--the most inspirational and greatest book ever written in our field.
3) Greater Magic--second only to Hofzinser's card book in its re-readability, and it just continues to give forth new information every time you go back to it.
The next three books are my own writings, and I'm not embarrassed to include them because I wrote them precisely because I wanted to read these books: Complete Works of Dingle, Secrets of Bro. Hamman, and everything I'm doing on Jennings.
Each person has his or her own particular favorites based not entirely upon the intrinsic value of the book itself, but because of the time in the person's life when the book was first read. Certain things become hard wired into your brain during moments in your life when they might otherwise have had little effect.
That's why everyone's list is so subjective.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 03/03/02 01:09 AM

My "permanent collection" is always growing, but my magic library still fits into two 2.5-foot shelves. However, the permament part now takes up at least 3/4ths of this space. Soon I'll need another shelf!

The keepers, in no order whatsoever:

Carneycopia
Art of Astonishment
Art of Closeup Magic
Books of Wonder
Paramiracles
Life Savers
Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic
CoinMagic
Bertram on Sleight of Hand
Mastering the Art of Magic
Close Up and Personal
Close Up Illusions
Smoke and Mirrors
Impossibilia
Drawing Room Deceptions
Bobo
Dai Vernon Book of Magic
My Best
Fitzkee Trilogy
Ambitious Card Omnibus
Complete Dingle
Card Magic of Bro. John Hamman
Complete Elmsley
Great Secrets of the Master Magicians
FASDIU Lecture notes
Andrus Card Control
Andrus Deals You In
Workers 1, 2, 4
Al Koran's Legacy
Williamson's Wonders

There's also a slew of pamphlets and lecture notes that I'll never give up -- too many to list here.

My most recent exchange with H&R yielded three keepers: Hamman, Dingle, and Elmsley vol 2. Also Steranko on cards, which I'll never give up even if I never use any of it. And all for a bunch of stuff which I can't even remember what it was. That was a good swap!

Several years ago I traded in my copy of Great Secrets of the Master Magicians. Then later I came to my senses and traded something else to get it back.

I don't think I've ever gotten rid of anything that I couldn't replace, because If it was irreplacable I'd probably keep it just to have it. I mean, if I had a copy of Variations I'd damn sure keep it, even if I didn't use anything in it (which I'm sure I would).

[ March 04, 2002: Message edited by: Pete McCabe ]
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 03/09/02 02:57 AM

Whenever I buy a book, its going to stay in my library forever. Every book, manuscript, set of lecture notes, etc. that I have read have taught me something. Not necessarily something big but it is the finer points that make the magic that much better. I think the statement that your library gets better as it gets smaller is foolish. I try and add to my library every chance that I can. A library that only consists if 1000 books is a medium sized one in my opinion. The problem is not the amount of books. It is that nobody reads them properly. You should read through the book and try everything out. Only then can you truly make a judgement as to if the material or technique works for you. And just because the first time around something does not interest you does not mean it won't later to come. If you were to get rid of the book, you would not be able to go back and find it. Let's be honest here. How often have we seen a performer do material from a book of his that we have read and it has still fooled us because we never tried it out. Of course, we are fooled so we immediatly go back to the book and learn it. I wonder how many people went to The Complete Works Of Derek Dingle to learn Rollover Aces after Ammar performed it on WGM. This is one of many reasons why as soon as a book is in my possession it will stay there forever.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/23/02 09:59 AM

It's been my experience, as reader (not as a writer and publisher) that almost every book contains one very good or at least intriguing item. That single item is usually the reason the book was written in the first place. Without one decent item to act as a catalyst, even the crappiest book is less likely to become a reality.
So, my friends, pick up the biggest piece of junk you have in your library and look through it CAREFULLY. I think you'll find one thing in there that is interesting!
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Postby Guest » 03/26/02 04:12 AM

Beneath ETC on my bookshelf:
:p Annemanns Card Magic, Tarbells Course of Magic, and Dover reprints Hoffmanns Modern Magic, Sleight of Hand, Exclusive Magical Secrets, etc. have all great ideas for "Modern" tricks. Tommy Wonders "Books of Wonder" tell between the lines how to make an art out of magic. ;)
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Postby Brian Morton » 03/26/02 06:30 PM

Matt Sedlak writes:
Whenever I buy a book, its going to stay in my library forever. Every book, manuscript, set of lecture notes, etc. that I have read have taught me something.


I'm with you 110%. That's why, although I may never open "Cards As Weapons" again (What more am I going to learn from naked women holding cards in a throwing position?)...

(Don't answer that)

... I'll keep it in my library. I was raised to love and keep books. And I love going back and re-reading. So I'll ask again:

What are you re-reading currently?

For me, almost a month later now, it's Derren Brown's "Pure Effect" -- the best laugh-out-loud writing in any book, magic or otherwise, I found in a long time -- and Card College 3.

brian :cool:
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/26/02 09:43 PM

I'm rereading Cliff Green's "Professional Card Magic," though who knows where I'm finding the time.
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Postby Guest » 03/26/02 09:56 PM

I hope no one gets me wrong here, I LOVE my magic books. Richard, you make a good point, and indeed something I alluded to in my first post on this topic. Matt, you also have your reasons for doing things your way, however, yes, I did toss many many books, but the Dingle book? OF COURSE I kept that! Its mainly the other 90% (especially of the CURRENT), books I was talking about! These thoughts also fit into Matt Field's post about being mad as hell. Even the books I tossed would make a nice library for someone, but my library is so perfect without them, and WITH: Bruce Elliot, Frank Garcia, Harry Lorayne, Hugard & Braue, Darwin Ortiz, Juan Tamirez, Dai Vernon, Simon Lovell, Paul Harris, Karl Fulves, Robert - Houdin, Larry Jennings, and such wonderful titles like: THE JAMES FILE, CARD COLLEGE, COLLECTED ALMANAC, SECRETS OF BROTHER HAMMAN, COMPLETE WORKS OF DEREK DINGLE, MAGIC WITH FAUCETT ROSS, CARD CRAFT, etc etc etc! Really now, I'm not even THINKING about what i no longer have...only what I DO have. These, along with so many more, really eliminate any desire for any that have been tossed, no matter WHAT they contain!
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 03/27/02 12:03 AM

John, I understand what you are saying, however, all I can say to that is: The best material in my library is in those small books stapled together that most people overlook at magic shops. While I am not saying that the material in the big books put out by Kaufman and Greenberg, L & L, Hermetic Press is not good, the absolute best stuff is found in the back of some manuscript that was published by the author, and these are the things that people throw away. Also, while this is more of a preference, I always want to be able to read something and go back and look at it somewhere down the road. Just because you don't like an idea the first time you read it you may end up liking it at a later time and by keeping everything you are able to access it again.
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Postby Guest » 03/27/02 01:26 AM

I agree, Matt. VERBAL CONTROL, THE GREEN MIRROR COUNT, MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE, ADD COMEDY TO YOUR ACT, and SECOND TO NONE are still an active part of my library! There are others of course. I completely respect what you say about always having them to go back to, but the wonderful feeling that I feel when eliminating books can't compare to the "security" of knowing they are there! yours in magic,
john
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