It's not out dated, though some of the supplies he recommends getting aren't in stock anymore and some of the items may be a tad bit hard to find. But generally everything else in the book is do able today.
If one knows how to read a magic book, then it doesn't really go 'out of date'. The presentations might be dated, but they are only the facade on the front of the building. The foundation and walls are solid and they can be repainted if needs be.
Most people consider it the bible of mentalism, so 13 steps to mentalism is to mentalism as the bobo book is to coins and expert at the card table is to cards. Widely considered one of the greats for mentalism. The reason I posted this was because I wanted to steer more into mentalism than I currently am (I focus more on cards) and because I have been reading mixed reviews about the book i.e. that its the best way to start mentalism and then from another source that the things it has to offer are useless because it was made 50 years ago and uses things people wouldnt be familiar with for the most part and that it is "old magic".
'Old magic' stopped wars. I fail to see a problem.
I would say that 13 Steps probably isn't the best way to begin mentalism, though. It's like trying to learn a language by reading a dictionary. It's a reference, a textbook. There are other sources I would recommend one starts with, while keeping 13 Steps around as a reference tome. Check out Steerpike's recommendations: http://pittandpendulum.blogspot.com/2010/08/beginners-guide-to-mentalism.html
I never said old magic was a problem, hence the quotes around it. But it does have a touch of validity. Look at the card to wallet, wallet. It used to be this obnoxiously long and old fashioned wallet that you would need to have in your suit jacket pocket. If I whipped one of those babies out people wouldn't even know what the heck they were looking at. Thus, magicians and suppliers have been producing wallets that function the same way, but can actually be out in a jean pocket. In that sense something unusable and "old" was made usable and "new".
Card to Wallet is an effect, the specific wallet used is irrelevant. If one is overly focused on the prop and not the magic then yes, things will get out of date. But that is the wrong way to study magic.
Actually, most of what mentalism consists of these days can be traced back to some concept in one of a few books, one of which being "The 13 Steps to Mentalism". I still use concepts and sleights from "13" and Tarbell's course. As far as "old magic" is concerned, the person who thinks that the book is useless because it was written 50 years ago has nothing to do with the quality of your imagination when performing. If it did, kids these days wouldn't know what a TT was.
Christopher: I don't think being picky about the look of the wallet is being overly focused. it's a genuine issue of convenience and style. it't not convenient to carry around a wallet that's the size of a brick with only jeans and a t shirt. And what about if your style of magic is the more goth and evil look, then the wallet looks thoroughly out of place. That's one of the reason I don't use the darker looking playing cards that abound from ellusionist. they look out of place and odd. Along with that, the style of wallet that the ctw wallet is, closely resembles the style of wallet that is becoming popular with women. Moving away from props, look at the original erdnase bottom deal. The hand looks arthritic and uncomfortable and it is NOT a natural mode of holding the hands for dealing and has been updated over the years many times to eventually end up with a natural mechanics grip deal. Though it still has value in the learning process when learning how to properly deal from the bottom of the deck, it is not the greatest bottom deal out there. And Expert at the Card Table was written 100 years ago. My purpose in this post was to hear your thoughts on what I was reading online about the book. I never said I agreed with it and I feel a little like you're attacking this post as my ideals and not the ideals of some fools on amazon.
Veteran: Couldn't agree more. See it all the time with card moves as well, because people are always taking old concepts and putting new twists on them to make the magic even more entertaining.
It's a great purchase to explore mentalist routines and methods. It's a wealth of knowledge and tools. Use the tools to accomplish plots that you find interesting, or to help streamline effects that you already do.
Recently-ish an effect came out called Blackmail, besides being a good effect it is practically strait from 13 steps method wise. And to really get the most out of it a copy of 13 steps would be helpful.
I had to chuckle at some of the comments about "out of date" information set into this thread. You see, I've worked some of the most famous effects of the big stage using Howard Thurston's actual props such as the Sawing in Half and in so doing, I've watched that massive, clunky looking cabinet totally dumbfound the public and get a better reaction than my pretty little thin model sawing. I've seen Kirkham get standing ovations for doing the original slight of hand version of The Orange Bowls -- a very "simple looking" effect in which two empty glass bowls end up overflowing with real oranges . . . there are some complicated gimmicked versions of this same effect, not nothing as elegant as the original.
Methods can be ancient but in the right hands . . . the hands of a serious minded and focused student . . . those old methods can and will devastate minds, including that of the older generation who've forgotten about said techniques because they'd been ignored for so long. Doug Henning built a successful career reviving long thought dead or impractical effects.
13 Steps is a "Must" for anyone wishing to take an honest go at developing Mentalism as is Annemann's Practical Mental Magic (which is actually less applicable in some ways than Corinda) and the Karl Fulves self-working Mentalism text. In addition to this I would include Banachek's Psychological Subtleties and Psychophysiological Thought Reading (along with Disc 3 of his PSI Series).
My book MENTALISM: An Introduction & Resource List will give you a better overview on things, including a look at a few other texts not directly related to show biz/magic that the student should consider.
The part most fail to understand is that Mentalism doesn't concern itself with "tricks" -- there is only one primary Illusion and that is the claim and validity you paint around yourself as the performer.