Second 16th Card Book - Bad Review

Discuss products and their reviews in Genii.

Postby Guest » 04/26/07 04:08 AM

Got a lot of emails from people telling me about the (very) bad review in Genii. The letters I'm getting are all supportive. (I can't repeat what a few suggested I should do. But let me tell you, I don't think it would fit.)

Sales of the book (and the NEW second volume) are excellent, as are GREAT reviews by Jim Sisti, Walt Lees and nice comments from Jon Racherbaumer, Roger Crosthwaite and others.

With names (contributors) like Max Maven, Harry Lorayne, Aldo Colombini, J. K. Hartman, Karl Fulves, Roy Walton, Peter Duffie, Marty Kane etc., methinks the reviewer is being too harsh; but then I would, wouldn't I.

As for MY contributions in the book; I make a (good) living from them, so - they work well for me. it goes. The reviewer is allowed his own opinion; as am I.

Paul Gordon

Tom Craven, and by extension, Paul Gordon, have performed a service to the literature of card magic [The Second 16th Card Book] by not only resurrecting this gem but also giving it a new coat of paint. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent between its covers and if you're a card magic aficionado, I suspect you will, also." - Jim Sisti All Magic (MagicSpin)

Postby Guest » 04/26/07 04:14 AM

Forgot to add:

"This is a very nice effort from Paul Gordon." - Matt Field (The Magic Circular)

"Excellent job, my friend. Compact, succinct, and stimulating!" - Jon Racherbaumer

Paul Gordon

Postby Ian Kendall » 04/26/07 04:18 AM

Many years ago the Falkensteins (sp?) put out a couple of videos teaching their act. They got a lukewarm response from the reviewer (Mike Close),who pointed out the foibles of the video set.

This elicited a barbed letter from the woman of the team (the name escapes me, sorry), complaining that they were an established act and should not have been given a bad review.

The next month a letter was published from someone saying that if he ever wrote in to complain about a bad review, someone should shoot him.


Take care, Ian
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Postby Guest » 04/26/07 04:31 AM

Correct. I'm not complaining; just trying to redress the balance. If he dislikes the book, fine by me...really.

Postby Ian Kendall » 04/26/07 04:52 AM

Maybe so, Paul, but it still looks bad.

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Postby Guest » 04/26/07 05:07 AM

Yes, but I guess I'm feeling a bit more sore (than I would usually be) because of my hardworking talented contributors and THEIR feelings.


Postby Guest » 04/26/07 09:39 AM

Maybe I'm getting old or perhaps I'm simply "mellowing" (which precedes, as Woody Allen puts it, "rotting"), but I enjoy Jamy Swiss's reviews because they simultaneously reveal his measured and useful "spin" on what is being reviewed, but his reviews also reveals Jamy's own tastes, aesthetics, and thought process.

I also think that the mathematical principles that underlie many semi-automatic tricks are intrinsically interesting...interesting enough to warrant a booklet and that is what engaged me about Paul Gordon's foray into Elmsley's 7-16 Principle. There are many booklets of this kind.

Personally, I cannot resist anything regarding principles. (I just finished a large e-book on the 21-Card Trick, which I'm sure Jamy would consider a momentous waste of time...although I did not foist this on the public nor did I sell it as a big booklet. Only about 75 people had access to it and who knows how many read it or found it useful?)

Sometimes these math ideas lead to better things. Bill Simon's "Four Queens" (from his 1954 book), for example, eventually resulted in the brilliant "Power of Poker" routine recently explained in John Bannon's latest book. (Elmsley BTW had a hand in its evolution, as well). Even Elmsley monkeyed around with weird principles such as one involving a mathematical thingy from the philosopher, Pierce. Marlo even played with the Monge and Klondike shuffles. Dai Vernon played around with principles and tricks like this. (Check out "Affinities" in the second volume of THE VERNON CHRONICLES - p. 131).The Down-and-Under procedure is not one of my favorites, but it is fascinating what can be done with it. Ask Harry Lorayne. Lots of the stuff Karl Fulves published in his magazines is math-based...and the principles and procedures are usually more interesting than the effects they produce. So what? Perhaps Jamy protests too much?

Gordon's book OBVIOUSLY consists of puzzles and I accepted it in this spirit.

Jamy ended his piece on a curious note. He said that he would rather be dead than do one of those tricks where an entire deck is dealt into four piles. Goshman (and others) used to call these "hemorrhoid tricks." I partially sympathize with this grouse. However, I also know several outstanding entertainers who might say with great impunity: "If you want to perform REAL, SOUL-SATISFYING magic, I wouldn't be caught dead with a deck of cards in my hands."

I suspect that there are "places" where playing cards, Monge shuffles, Reverse Faros, and mathematical puzzlers have a special, if not honored, place. Gordon's book was written for habitues of this place. In the meantime, I wonder what Jamy thinks of "The Rendezvous Force" that uses the Klondyke procedure?

Just a thought...


Postby Guest » 04/26/07 10:29 AM

I might be wrong here but I think you're talking about a different book.

PS.. Send me a copy, I'll give you a review. :cool:

Postby Guest » 04/26/07 10:37 AM

To begin I'll say I haven't read this book, or any of your other books. Nothing personal, I just haven't.
But seriously, one bad review is one bad review. Your reaction to this one bad review shows more about you than the reviewer. If so many people like your work than it doesn't matter whose dick is bigger.
In other words, you should really just let it go.
Sorry if I'm a bit mean.


Postby Guest » 04/26/07 01:42 PM

Dear Jon: Well, thank you. The book is for 'tinkerers', BUT there are also some commercial tricks within, too. I know - I USE them - to GREAT effect - in my professional (for laymen) act. I LOVE this kind of stuff 'cos I USE it. Like I LOVED your '21 book' - great IDEAS. As you'd say...onward.

Dear Gord: As I said, I just feel, rightly so, a bit protective to my talented contributors; Elmsley, Lorayne, Kane, Duffie, Hartman, Fulves, Higham etc., etc...21 NAMES in all! is one man's opinion.

Dear(?) Euan: I already know what you'd write!

Postby Guest » 04/26/07 01:55 PM

Forgot to say, the book - for those who don't know - was written by me AND Tom Craven.

If you want a list of contributors and tricks, see and follow the link.


Postby Guest » 04/26/07 02:10 PM

:sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep:

Postby Guest » 04/26/07 02:24 PM

If you're not willing to accept a negative review, don't submit items for review.

I don't think it would have been too hard to guess that Swiss wouldn't like a book filled with mathematical tricks. So I'm not even sure why you're surprised that it got a negative review.

Postby Guest » 04/26/07 02:38 PM

Aaron: A good reviewer doesn't knock the stuff he personally dislikes! He shouldn't be so biased...

I don't like memorised deck magic, but I don't knock it for being magic with memory work! In other words, it's just not my cup of tea; but others DO like it.

Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/26/07 03:24 PM


Reviewing is purely subjective. Its almost impossible to set aside personal bias. What is relevant is that the readers know what those biases are so the reader can determine the weight they will apply to a given opinion. Jamy does a fine job of letting his readers know where he stands on an issue.

For what its worth, I will soon be posting some extra DVD reviews that wont make it into the magazine. One of those will be on Prestidigital. On one of those discs, you teach a dandy semi-self working trick that I immediately started using. And I pretty much dislike self-working tricks. Go figure.

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Postby Syd » 05/02/07 01:38 PM

I've written many books (none in our art). Bad reviews hurt - we're human. I'm writing my first magic book - I hope it will get good reviews. I don't have a problem with Paul responding. If you don't want to hear his response - don't read it. I haven't read the book. But Paul and his contributors are people I respect greatly. I think reviews will always have the slant of the person reviewing BUT I think they should also provide an objective point of view that gives the reader an idea of the type and quality of the material. Reviews are DESIGNED to help the average consumer decide how and where to spend money. Good reviews are honest and fair. My 2 cents.
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Postby Guest » 05/02/07 04:15 PM

Well Paul, it makes a change from another Genii reviewer slating your books (with very little substance) - namely a certain M.C. who's reviews appear more personal rather than constructive.

If any reviewer (despite their reputation) had an ounce of magical ability and read this book, and could not subsequently see how these effects are commercial, then I'm gobsmacked. Even if they don't like the presentations within, then surely they could construct their own presenations once they had grasped the 'modus operandi'.

You do know the problem don't you Paul? You've produced a small softback book of workable, commercial card magic at a value for money price - it should have been 400 pages of pipe dreams, esoteric useless sleights, psychological rhetoric, double spacing, blank pages and with a glossy hardback ocver to leave on the coffee table to impress visitors (before selling it off on ebaY once it had gathered dust).

Postby Guest » 05/08/07 04:36 PM

Hi there,

Paul gave myself and about 10 other guys a copy of the new book last weekend at a get together for Jack Parker.

Thanks once again Paul.

By the way, you are all in for a treat when you see Jacks new stuff in Magicana next month.


John :)

Postby Ryan Matney » 05/08/07 05:08 PM

There are those of us that have sort of a 'hobby within a hobby' and enjoy mathematical, self-working tricks just for the pure enjoyment of them and the amount of effect one can achieve with minimal ,clever, means. I'm not sure Jamy Ian Swiss understands this side of card magic. But I usually enjoy reading his reviews and I'm always curious as to what he has to say.

I also understand that what you play with and what you perform are not always the same thing. But to think there are no commercial self-working tricks is just wrong.
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Postby Guest » 05/08/07 05:17 PM

After the Falkensteins appeared on a magic special -- this is the early 90s -- I posted on the EG (an magic email list) that my wife didn't like their performance. She didn't think Glenn was a very charismatic performer.

Simon Lovell posted that anyone who didn't like the Falkensteins was insane. When someone wrote in that his response was somewhat extreme, he reiterated that he was not exaggerating -- he genuinely thought that anyone who didn't like the Falkensteins was literally insane.

So I agree that how we respond to reviewers reveals more about ourselves than the reviewer.

I remember Mike Close's review of the Falkenstein's videos and it was not personal -- he gave specific reasons for the negative comments, as he always does. Meanwhile the people who accuse Mike of being personally biased all a) give no supporting evidence for their views and b) are personally biased in favor of the aggrieved party.

Meanwhile the idea that a reviewer doesn't let his or her personal tastes affect their reviews is almost supernaturally naive. All reviewers are influenced by their personal tastes. Good reviewers acknowledge their tastes up front. Bad ones pretend they are unbiased. Give me good reviewers any day.

And finally, which is this book. "Obviously a collection of puzzles," or "commercial card magic?" There is precious little overlap between these two areas.

Nothing personal Paul. Good luck with your book. But I have to agree that carping agains negative reviews only diminishes yourself. I've had some bad reviews: one person who covered one of my screenplays wrote that I have a lot of maturing to do before they recommend even reading another of my screenplays. I recommend you do what I do when you get a negative review: bitch about it to your friends, have a drink, and get started on your next book.

Postby Steve Bryant » 05/08/07 05:57 PM

Jon, you should publish (hard copy) your 21-card trick book. It has killer material in it. Some of which will even fool magicians, as you know.
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Postby Guest » 05/08/07 10:32 PM

I think Jon should publish ALL his books as hardcopies! In fact - ALL books should be my opinion! Or at least, softcopies!

Paul Gordon (not the world's best e-book fan)

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