Challenging the "classics" in mentalism

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bliff, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. I remember when I was new and asking for suggestions on how to start mentalism. When someone new asks on forums like this about where to start, a lot of people recommend " 13 steps to mentalism" and " practical mental magic". This thread is about why I don't think this books are for beginners in mentalism.
    -This books start with effects you can do rather than teach the basic and fundamental principles how mentalism works and how to think like like a mentalist.
    -Both books are a bit dated. I don't mean dated in a sense you can't perform anything from these books, what I mean is if you want to perform from these books you need the ability and skill to "improve" and make them plausible for the audience.
    -They have too much content and take a long time to fully digest what is written which can turn off beginners not continue their study.
    I believe the first book a new person needs to read is "fundamentals" by Bob Cassidy. After this, the book itself will guide you where to go after you finish reading it. I expect to hear your opinions.
  2. I'm not sure you are going to find a lot of disagreement. Most of us on the forums recommend Cassidy's Fundamentals. We also recommend Fulves Self-Working Mental Magic and Anneman's Practical Mental Magic. We typically refer to 13 Steps as a secondary reference.

    If you read Anneman's book cover to cover you will learn how to think like a mentalist. It just won't be laid out for you in plain language but you will have to deduce the thinking from the collective methods of the various effects. The dated nature of the material requires you to adapt what is there and not just perform it out of the book. Might it turn off beginners... maybe, but I'm not sure that is a bad thing.
    Mr_ARPY likes this.
  3. I think I do disagree a bit with the OP. 13 Steps is highly underrated. That is largely because of Corinda's immensely simple approach to mentalism. Sometimes the methods are so stupid simple that someone reading it would think "that would never work!" But if you actually go out and try it, it does work, and it works beautifully! Take for example "1 in a Million", the prediction effect with the map. Or "Great Minds Think Alike" from the Billets step. The latter of these I was terrified to actually go out and try because I didn't think it would work, but it did! And it is a "perfect trick" that can be done anywhere, completely impromptu, close up, parlor, or stage, resets instantly, packs small, plays huge... is there any other criteria for a perfect trick you can think of? It fits that too.
  4. They've covered the basic responses - but David hinted at the real response.

    Mentalism should turn away beginners. Because it's not for beginners. Mentalism is advanced. While the methods are often extremely simple, the theatrical requirements to proper mentalism put it beyond the realm of "beginners". If sources like Fudnamentals and Self Working Mental Magic just seem outdated - then one is not prepared to perform mentalism.

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