Initial Mentalism book?

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Guest » 01/04/02 01:55 AM

With hindsight, if you were starting out again in Mentalism, and had the choice of only one book, which would it be and why?

kind regards,

Graham Nichols

Postby Matthew Field » 01/04/02 07:11 AM

No doubt in my mind -- "13 Steps to Mentalism" by Corinda.

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Postby CHRIS » 01/04/02 07:30 AM

I would get a complete file of JINX.

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Postby Guest » 01/04/02 07:51 PM

Matthew is correct to point out Corrinda. It is to Mentalism what the Tarbell Course is to magic. Of course you could also go back to the three foot shelf too and think of the several books that one might have on the subject. Corrinda would be one but there are many other excellent books one could benefit from on that shelf.

For mental magic (and practical ideas) very few can top Larry Becker's Stunners. A complete set of MAGICK would be another goldmine of information. For more on presentation of a bizarre or esoteric nature one might chose a complete set of Invocation.

The Jinx contains a wealth of information as does Pentagram (but they are not restricted to mentalism). If ones focus was on billets one might chose Richard Busch's Peek Performances (someone like Bert Reese made his entire reputation on material like that contained in that book), or perhaps Al Mann's Purloined Thoughts would also fit that bill.
Bob Cassidy's Art of Mentalism is also one that should be mandatory reading for all mentalists and in fact his series Principia Mentalia should be as well.

So as you can see, it would really depend upon the area of mentalism that you wanted to give your biggest focus. Perhaps some others might want to comment on that as well.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat

Postby Guest » 01/05/02 02:42 AM

My grateful thanks to all of you for your input. I think I'll need a new woodwork manual first, to brush up on my shelf building skills :)

Magic has so many avenues, with various twists and turns, that it is always fresh for me. I learn something new every day, often as a result of the kindness of others who take the trouble to reply to my questions.

Many thanks!

Graham Nichols.

Postby Guest » 01/06/02 06:52 PM

I'm also interested in not spending a fortune looking for the gem books. What makes the Larry Becker book so special? Can the material, or at least some of it, be worked in a strolling venue?

Postby Guest » 01/07/02 08:05 AM

Please do not take this as a direct bash on you as it is not however, It amazes me the attitude of so many younger people within the magic community that because of this age of free flowing information that they assume that it is perfectly OK to ask for specific information to be handed to them on a silver platter without having to learn the rest. Cash or no cash, reading through all the books is one way to extend ones education in magic.

A Brain Surgeon or a Rheumatoid Arthritis Specialist still must get ther GP (General Practicioner) before they can specialize and so should magicians. Even for ones who cry "but it is only a hobby", well why on earth would someone with a love for something want to do a half-assed job in it? Would one not want to learn as much as one could within that passion? Why should magic not be the same. There was a time where one had to absorb as much as one could and then some before any magician would ever take them into their confidence and teach them the real mojo and alas, the younger generation seems to feel that it no longer applies. With all the exposures going on, it seems that the magic underground may be making a comeback with more and more keeping their pet secrets to themselves.

Now to answer your actual question. Larry Becker is one of the most prolific inventors of the 20th (and now 21st) century in the field of magic and mental magic. All of his books should be studied as both their methods and ideas are applicable to almost anything you want to do.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat

Postby Guest » 01/07/02 08:32 AM

I'd just like to point out that my original posting, which initiated this thread, had nothing at all to do with the cost of books, I just wanted to start off down the 'right' path. The first reply by Chris appeared to indicate that cost was uppermost in my mind. It was not.

My first magic books were by Eugene Burger. This, for me was the 'right' path, as I learned the difference between performing magic and performing 'tricks'. I started off on the right footing thanks to Eugene. I wanted to do the same with the subject of mentalism.


Graham Nichols.

Postby Guest » 01/07/02 02:09 PM

I'm not in any way oppossed to spending a little cash, quite the opposite. When a student comes to me for lessons, I steer them toward quality books and merchandise because let's face it, much of what's produced in this crazy business is worthless. If you wanted to learn card handling, why go any further than Card College for starters. Why send someone on a wild goose chase when you can really help them on their quest?
What was wrong with my inquiry? I know nothing of Larry Becker's work, I'll admit, and want to learn from an experienced mentalist, (which I'm assuming you are) where to put my hard earned cash in this area.
I wasn't asking for your personal routines, or the personal routines of others, I was merely asking advice in a world where so much is filler.
Personally, I'm offended by your accusations as some young whipper snapper trying to get a free ride! I've spent tens of thousands of dollars, and an equal amount in hours, aquiring and practicing sleight of hand material. Yet if a beginner came along I would not resent handing over the few select books that have really made an impact in my studies.

Postby Guest » 01/07/02 07:16 PM

I appologise for taking your question wrong, although hopefully you and others will still agree with what I said. As for being an experienced mentalist, all I can go on is what others tell me and they seem to like what I do and also my feedback after my lectures to magicians seems to be good as well.

Now, as for Larry Becker's work - the man is a genius that never stops thinking. I have sat with him and seen him come up with several new ideas just from having a simple conversation. I am willing to bet that if you were to pick up ANY of Larry's books, that you will find at least two things that you will not only use but will feel they alone are worth twice the price you paid for the book. I cannot recommend his books more if you want to learn mental magic.

If however you want to learn "mentalism", well that is another story entirely and would also depend upon your focus within that realm and also the readers previous experience and knowledge. As a starter, 13 Steps is a must for everyone though.

Again, I appologise for the misunderstanding previously.
PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat

Postby Guest » 01/07/02 08:17 PM

I absolutely agree with what you said, and like other working professionals, I too keep all my reputation makers from the prying eyes of the casual observer. They must earn the right to the really good stuff.
I'll look into the Larry Becker material. Many others have spoken highly of him and my curiosity has been aroused.

I work several nights a week in strolling venues; restaurants, coffee shops, etc. So my criteria is strict. Although I am a serious student of all things magic, including its history, going full time has put limitations on choice of material.

I'm a slave to sleight of hand, but understand the impact a strong mental effect can have on an audience.

The problem with dealers is that they are salesmen first, so you cannot trust descriptions of books and merchandice. Too much hype. They need to make a buck and move the stuff. A couple, like Denny and Lee, will honestly tell if something is crap or not.

In any case, thanks for the Larry Becker lead. I want to apologize also for getting bent out of shape. I take this art of ours quite seriously, as my other posts will attest to.

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