Magic Books

ProAma

Elite Member
Jun 13, 2013
214
103
I need everyone to pitch in their spoon of knowledge and tell me all essential magic books they know of. This shouldn't be just card magic as card magic you can do a lot with and it is basically training wheels for other things but in reality if magic was real we wouldn't be using a deck of cards. So what magic books are essential to buy and which ones should I look into buying? It can be anything from beginner to expert.
 
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I was going to ask what skill level you are specifically looking for but it seems you are open to any skill level. I would say the essential material for a magician that does a variety of different styles (cards, coins, close-up, stage illusions, etc.) would be the Tarbell volumes (pro tip:expensive online, affordable used copies at magic conventions), Paul Harris's Art of Astonishment Volumes 1-3 (1 and 3 are the best but 2 has some good material as well), Mark Wilson's Complete Course, and Expert at the Card Table (if you have intermediate to advance card skills). Mnemonica by Juan Tamariz is on everyone's must read list although I haven't picked it up myself yet. I have seen some of the effects from the book and know of some of the material and from that knowledge I can tell you it's worth the purchase. Tamariz also has The Five Points of Magic which will help develop you as a performer rather than teach you specific effects. Kenton Knepper also has released some written material on mentalism that is pretty good. The books I have mentioned can be challenging to find at a library so you might have to go to bigger cities to rent them or they are always available online to purchase.
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,740
2,854
(pro tip:expensive online, affordable used copies at magic conventions)
I've spent more for a single book than I usually find the complete set of Tarbell. I've seen the full set for $150 on Hocus Pocus.

What I like and what you like are going to be vastly different most likely. I am a bizarre performer with strong mentalist vibes.

Also, the stuff I've liked the most is generally also the hardest stuff to get ahold of. Derren Brown's books, for example - I have both Pure Effect and Absolute Magic and re-read them each once a year.

Paul Brook's stuff is great - Alchemical Tools, Book of Lies, and On Mephisto's Shoulder changed how I perform.

I have Kenton Knepper's Hidden Influence but I didn't like it that much. It's interesting stuff, for sure, but I found most of it was the same sort of thing I've been reading in articles and other books for over a decade.

Caleb Strange's Garden of Strange has a lot of really interesting, theatrical ideas.

Luke Jermay's Faith Healer, as well as his Modern Mentalism are excellent books.

I have Looch's Black Project which was great, and I took a fair amount of those techniques right on board.

Spirit Theater as well as Mastering the Art of Magic by Eugene Burger.

Show Doctor by Jeff McBride.

Pygmalion Effects by Aaron Alexander. (I got the special edition)

Andreu's Intimum Scararium.

So much by Bill Montana that I can't even begin to list the titles. These are all eBooks, though.

The Dark Waltz (Arcane Edition)

The Aretalogy of Vanni Bossi by Stephen Minch

Deep Shadows, Deeper Still, by Dee Christopher - I think How To Get Away With Murder is included in those.

The Mental Mysteries of Hector Chadwick.

For card magic I think Paul Curry's World's Beyond is under appreciated.

That's what I can think off of the top of my head.
 
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ProAma

Elite Member
Jun 13, 2013
214
103
I've spent more for a single book than I usually find the complete set of Tarbell. I've seen the full set for $150 on Hocus Pocus.

What I like and what you like are going to be vastly different most likely. I am a bizarre performer with strong mentalist vibes.

Also, the stuff I've liked the most is generally also the hardest stuff to get ahold of. Derren Brown's books, for example - I have both Pure Effect and Absolute Magic and re-read them each once a year.

Paul Brook's stuff is great - Alchemical Tools, Book of Lies, and On Mephisto's Shoulder changed how I perform.

I have Kenton Knepper's Hidden Influence but I didn't like it that much. It's interesting stuff, for sure, but I found most of it was the same sort of thing I've been reading in articles and other books for over a decade.

Caleb Strange's Garden of Strange has a lot of really interesting, theatrical ideas.

Luke Jermay's Faith Healer, as well as his Modern Mentalism are excellent books.

I have Looch's Black Project which was great, and I took a fair amount of those techniques right on board.

Spirit Theater as well as Mastering the Art of Magic by Eugene Burger.

Show Doctor by Jeff McBride.

Pygmalion Effects by Aaron Alexander. (I got the special edition)

Andreu's Intimum Scararium.

So much by Bill Montana that I can't even begin to list the titles. These are all eBooks, though.

The Dark Waltz (Arcane Edition)

The Aretalogy of Vanni Bossi by Stephen Minch

Deep Shadows, Deeper Still, by Dee Christopher - I think How To Get Away With Murder is included in those.

The Mental Mysteries of Hector Chadwick.

For card magic I think Paul Curry's World's Beyond is under appreciated.

That's what I can think off of the top of my head.
I know a lot about the weird. It is magic. Thank you for the recommendations Christopher.
 

RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
3,578
3,848
New Jersey
This shouldn't be just card magic.

The Basics (i.e. if you have little to spend and want the most magic)
Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic
Scarne on Card Tricks by John Scarne
Royal Road to Card Magic by Hugard and Braue
Count, Cuts and Subtleties - Jerry Menzler
Expert Card Technique by Hugard and Braue
Expert at the Card Table by S. W. Erdanse
Modern Coin Magic by J.D. Bobo
Encyclopedia of Card Tricks by Jean Hugard
Practical Mental Magic by Theodore Annemann
Self Working Mental Magic - Karl Fulves​

The Next Level :
Tarbell Volumes 1 though 8
Card College Volumes 1 through 5
Art of Astonishment Volumes 1 through 3 by Paul Harris
13 Steps of Mentalism by Tony Corindina
Expert Coin Magic by David Roth​

The Amazing:
Stars of Magic
Totally Out of Control by Chris Kenner
Conjuring by Jim Steinmeyer
Full Bloom by Gaetan Bloom
Books of Wonder Volumes 1 and 2 by Tommy Wonder
Mind, Myth and Magik by T.A. Waters
The Jinx by Theodore Annemann ($15 on Lybrary or Conjuring Arts)
Apocalpse by Harry Lorraine
The Presentation:
Transformations - Creating Magic Out of Tricks by Lawrence Hass
Maximum Entertainment by Ken Webber
Mastering the Art of Magic - Eugene Burger
The Magic Way - Juan Tamariz
Life, Death and Other Card Tricks - Robert Neale​
 
Jan 14, 2017
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149
It is difficult to add anything to the amazing collection of titles provided in this thread.
I grew up (way back before the internet or DVDs) learning from many of those mentioned (Scarne, Mark Wilson) and Professor Hoffman. I had checked out "Modern Magic" and "Later Magic" from the local library repeatedly.
I highly recommend those.

---
As a Christmas present my oldest son provided me a DVD with about a dozen of Hoffman's books in electronic form.
I believe he sources it on eBay (and, honestly, I am not quite sure about copyright laws; it may be old enough to be in the public domain) if anyone is interested in locating them as PDFs.
 

Nurul

Elite Member
Dec 8, 2013
228
180
Birmingham, UK
I think everyone has covered a lot here. In regard to Tarbell, I know Penguin Magic often sell parts of the course whenever they have a Cool Box discount available.
My personal favorite is John Born's Meant To Be... book. I know you said it shouldn't be all card magic, but the work he produces is so amazing and insightful.
 

Josh Burch

Elite Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,961
1,096
Utah
The Basics (i.e. if you have little to spend and want the most magic)
Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic
Scarne on Card Tricks by John Scarne
Royal Road to Card Magic by Hugard and Braue
Count, Cuts and Subtleties - Jerry Menzler
Expert Card Technique by Hugard and Braue
Expert at the Card Table by S. W. Erdanse
Modern Coin Magic by J.D. Bobo
Encyclopedia of Card Tricks by Jean Hugard
Practical Mental Magic by Theodore Annemann
Self Working Mental Magic - Karl Fulves​

The Next Level :
Tarbell Volumes 1 though 8
Card College Volumes 1 through 5
Art of Astonishment Volumes 1 through 3 by Paul Harris
13 Steps of Mentalism by Tony Corindina
Expert Coin Magic by David Roth​

The Amazing:
Stars of Magic
Totally Out of Control by Chris Kenner
Conjuring by Jim Steinmeyer
Full Bloom by Gaetan Bloom
Books of Wonder Volumes 1 and 2 by Tommy Wonder
Mind, Myth and Magik by T.A. Waters
The Jinx by Theodore Annemann ($15 on Lybrary or Conjuring Arts)
Apocalpse by Harry Lorraine
The Presentation:
Transformations - Creating Magic Out of Tricks by Lawrence Hass
Maximum Entertainment by Ken Webber
Mastering the Art of Magic - Eugene Burger
The Magic Way - Juan Tamariz
Life, Death and Other Card Tricks - Robert Neale​

I defer to reality one for the essentials. I'll just cover some of my current favorites.

The Show Doctor by Jeff Mcbride - If you are trying to make a show you should read this book. He goes through what to perform, finding a character, and some of the pitfalls in professional magic careers.

Hiding the Elephant by Jim Steinmeyer - One of the best writers in magic this book is semi autobiographical. He gives amazing insight to how magicians think and have thought throughout the years.

Practical Mental Effects or Practical mental Magic by Theo Anneman - Anneman is very accessible. His magic is very creative, I'd read anything you can get your hands on for Anneman and Steinmeyer.

High Caliber by John Bannon - For the hobbyist check this book out. Easy to do yet powerful card tricks with a really fresh perspective.
 
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