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Little introduction and some advice needed


Elite Member
Jun 13, 2017
Hi all,

Since it’s time for me to ask some advice, after some months lurking around, I thought it would be better to introduce myself first a little bit.

I’m Nick, a 30 year old beginner, working on cards for about 10 months now.

After seeing a performance of Lennart Green on youtube I decided I wanted to give magic a try, and boy, I was hooked.

Fulltime accountant and part time bartender, wich means I don’t have much time to practice, but I’m getting there.

Next month will be my last month working in the bar, so it’s time to up my magic after march.

Resources I currently own:


- Expert Card Technique

- Mnemonica by Juan Tamariz

- Lessons in card Mastery by Darwin Ortiz (first book I bought, I know, big mistake. After reading the first pages I realised this was way to advanced and immediately ordered RRTCM)

- Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz

After focusing on cards for all this time I’m getting tired of them, so it’s time to explore other directions.

I’m limiting myself to 3 books to buy in 2018 and this is where I need your advice.

Book nr. 1 will be The Magic Rainbow by Tamariz. (Once it’s released in English)

Book nr. 2: I want a book that covers all, so I’m gonna with Tarbell for this.

For book number 3 I’m looking for the best resource that covers Paper balls over Head. It’s in ‘Tarbell’, but I’m looking at ‘The Best of Slydini’ for this.

The reason I’m looking at ‘The Best of Slydini’ is because of the valuable pointers about misdirection I might learn from this book.

I’m just worried that this book will be to advanced for me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, and maybe some suggestions/alternatives you guys might have to offer.

Thanks in advance!
Feb 16, 2018
Lake Forest, CA
Here's my thoughts Nick. You already have a bunch of books and probably already read them right? Glancing at 'slydini' you already know that's about misdirection. You seem to know what you want. My suggestion is john bannon


Elite Member
Jun 13, 2017
Off all the books I own I only finished Strong Magic. I'm working my way through RRTCM and ECT with focusing on getting the basic sleights under controle: double lift, force, false shuffle and false cut.
I'm still sifting through Mnemonica to see wich effects I like, the only effects I perform from Mnemonica are 'All of a Kind' and 'Any card called for'. One day I'll be starting with 'Any hand called for'. But like I said, I need a break from cards at the moment.

I think I know what I want, but truth be told, I know nothing. So I might as well want all the wrong things, if this makes sense.


Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
"Tarbell" is an 8 book series that would likely take you about 8 years to study decently thoroughly. Most people use it as a reference resource, though it's got great essays in it.

My first thought is that if you've been in magic for 10 months, the books you've listed are going to be plenty for the next year and a half or so. However, you did mention you wanted something other than cards, so for that I always recommend Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic. It's inexpensive and covers everything from close up to parlor illusions. Coins, thimbles, sponge balls, etc.

The thing about the paper balls over the head is that it can really only be learned by doing. You can read Slydini, and that's a great thing to do, but you still won't get good at it until you're working with actual people's actual attention.
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Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
New Jersey
For Strong Magic, that is a difficult first read. Go back to it after you perform for a while and read it a second time. You will get a lot more out of it and be able to judge the validity of Darwin's ideas to your performance.

Tamariz is a genius and I expect The Magic Rainbow to be amazing. However, if it is like Tamariz's other books on theory, there is not a lot of effects in there.

There are two different Tarbell books. The first is a single volume of the original lessons and the second is the 8 book series that expands on the original lessons. I think the 8 volume series is better, but the one volume set is less expensive. From your description of where you are in your progression, I wouldn't recommend either of them. I would echo Christopher's recommendation of Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic and for around $15, it is worth it.

As far as I know, the Ganson, Annotated Magic of Slydini (as well as the Fulves books on Slydini) are out of print. I have the Fulves books and they are wonderful. Slydini's magic isn't physically difficult, but requires a lot of mental energy to remember the various phases and the differences in each phase when you are learning the effects. Slydini's misdirection is very much related to his style. My favorite quote from him in some of his performances is "You a look a, but you a no see."

Here are my recommendations for three books:

1. Mark Wilson's Complete Course ($15)

2. Stars of Magic (Around $45) - This is an amazing piece of history and it has a bunch of amazing effects including Slydini's Flight of the Paper Balls, Vernon's Triumph and Ambitious Card, Scarne's Silver and Copper as well as stuff from Daley, Bertram, Leipzig, Malini and others. This was originally a mail order, trick-a-month type publication and the material was really good and has withstood the test of time.

3. So here are some options.... (a lot of what I want to recommend is out of print, unfortunately):

* Art of Astonishment, Volume 1 - It is a wonderful piece of strange. After all the other stuff you have read, this will be a breath of refreshing fresh air. You will smile when you read it. Guaranteed. If you don't, Paul Harris will personally refund your money. OK, probably not the last part... but still. More focused on cards but lots of other props.

* Aretology of Vanni Bossi - This book is just beautiful. The binding, the leather, the pages. You won't want to read it, but you will just want to look at it and touch it. It will have you at hello. It is Tom Cruise and you are Renee Zellweger. It looks magical, it feels magical, it is magical. But do actually read it. Stephen Minch's writing is... well... beautiful.

* Totally Out of Control - Supreme MME Edition ($75 - Amazing coins and everything else. Well above beginner level, but it's Chris Freaking Kenner. I have the original and proudly will say that I can't do any of the faces of Sybil. The second half of the book is printed upside down, which makes it somewhat harder to read, but don't let that hold you back.

* Conjuring Anthology by Jim Steinmeyer. This is mostly parlor magic and not close-up. On second thought, actually, don't get this book. A lot of my act comes from it and I don't want anyone else using that material. It is too good. It won't fit your style. It is too difficult to perform. You have to make a lot of stuff yourself. You don't want this book. There aren't enough card tricks in it. Too much emphasis on the classics. Don't get this one.

* Marlo's Arcade Dream - OK, this is off the wall. It's Marlo without cards. Coins, props, a ball vase, dice stacking, bar magic.... it has it. It has lots of variations and variations on those variations. What do you expect... its Marlo. It has an effect called Paddling the Nude. What more do you need in a book?

* Handsome Jack - I just ordered this one. If I order it, it has to be good. He's handsome. He's Jack. Now, I don't know Jack... well at least not personally, but I saw him on Penn and Teller. The book has sold out twice. 'Nuff said.

Have fun.
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Elite Member
Jul 28, 2016
I would agree with most of the above suggestions.

I would say to take a look at two by Harry Lorayne..."The Magic Book" and "Close-Up Card Magic." Another interesting book would be "Now You See It, Now You Don't" by Bill Tarr...good instruction with detailed sequential illustrations covering a lot of sleight of hand work (not limited to cards). If you are leaning toward more advanced stuff (especially with cards) you could consider "Drawing Room Deceptions" by Guy Hollingworth. And for a classic selection I would look at "The Dai Vernon Book of Magic" by Lewis Ganson.
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