Most Well Designed Magic Book

May 18, 2008
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Hey guys!

When I buy a book on magic, I look for good material. But another thing I look for is ease of learning; I know everyone here has bought that one book where the explanation just wasn't clear. Something that I think can help a lot with this is having a book that looks really, really nice.

Having recently been impressed by Above the Fold by Rich Aviles, Reinventing the Real by Tyler Wilson and pretty much anything Vanishing Inc puts out, I'm looking for other examples of great design in magic books.

What do you guys think is the most well designed magic book (aesthetically pleasing, ease of use, etc)

All the best,
-Chris
 
Jul 13, 2010
526
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"52 memories" Jack Parker/Andi Gladwin...Vanishing inc. but it`S OOP AFAIK
The layout is the best I`ve seen. It`s similar to the Sankey books by Vanishing. Andi Gladwin did a great job.
-> Difficulty (only Sankey Books)
-> description of the effect
-> sleights/props used
-> setup (if any)
-> method and presentation
-> additional tips and handlings (sometimes)
-> credits
Thats`s the way it should be.

"Lessons in Card Mastery" Darwin Ortiz (or anything else by Ortiz)... I´ve never read anything that is better explained, more clear and precise. Every detail is explained, even timing, misdirection and psychology behind the construction.

Anything by Roberto Giobbi. He and Darwin Ortiz are two of the best writers in my opionion. Crystal clear and even the smallest detail is explained.
Their books are also aesthetically pleasing IMO. The layout and illustrations (by Tony Dunn (Ortiz) and Barbara Giobbi-Ebnöther (Giobbi) ) are excellent.
 
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Aug 31, 2007
803
1
Two of my favorite books are Totally out of Control by Chris Kenner and Session by Josh Jay and Joel Givens. The former is full of fantastic tricks, as well as fun to read, weird/cool illustrations, and the second half of the book is upside down. Yup.

The latter, Session, is easily the most readable magic book I've come across. It reads like an actual story, an interesting story at that, which tells the day of which Josh meets Joel at a restaurant, and the story is told in real time, over the course of the night you follow them through their adventure, it's just awesome. Also some seriously intelligent effects in there - my favorite collectors routine by far.

I like this question though - what makes you pick up a magic book? Is it the cover? The material? The author? And what makes you keep reading it after you take the leap to start? I'm interested to know :)
 

Pav

Elite Member
Apr 7, 2012
537
12
It is interesting to see what physical qualities of a book actually add to it's intrigue. However, a fantastic testament to "Never judge a book by its cover" would be Expert at the Card Table. Such a boring looking little book, filled with some of the greatest content in magic literature. I generally like minimalist presentations and concise wording in the books I read.
 

Pav

Elite Member
Apr 7, 2012
537
12
EATCT is everything but concise worded! Don't get me wrong though, it's a wonderful book.

Oh, absolutely. EATCT practically needs a translator. No, I used EATCT as an example of presentation not effectively representing the content within the book. I didn't enjoy EATCT very much as a BOOK, I enjoyed it for the moves. So the concise wording part is what I like seeing in books.
 
Jun 27, 2011
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Oh, absolutely. EATCT practically needs a translator. No, I used EATCT as an example of presentation not effectively representing the content within the book. I didn't enjoy EATCT very much as a BOOK, I enjoyed it for the moves. So the concise wording part is what I like seeing in books.

Gotcha! Completely agree :)
 
Jul 13, 2010
526
34
I picked up "The Complete Walton Vol 1 + 2" last year.
I saw the Jason England video "What to read?" and he said these are great books but hard to get (was OOP).
Also recommended by Paul Wilson.
Davenport reprinted it and it is indeed wonderful.
Good quality binding. No flashy cover. Just to the point.

The content is the same as the old books, and the illustrations are not the best and the clearest (some were even wrong or misleading) to be honest, but the material in it is fantastic. I heard of Roy Walton before, of course, because of his most famous creation, Card Warp, but didn`t know he wrote such good books.
I wouldn`t judge a book by its cover, and these books show why.

http://dananddave.com/editorial/the-complete-walton/
http://www.davenportsmagic.co.uk/acatalog/Complete-Walton.html
 
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Apr 6, 2011
540
6
Lansing, MI
Oh, absolutely. EATCT practically needs a translator. No, I used EATCT as an example of presentation not effectively representing the content within the book. I didn't enjoy EATCT very much as a BOOK, I enjoyed it for the moves. So the concise wording part is what I like seeing in books.
Expert at the card table may be difficult to read and understand, but it is most definitely concise. Insofar as being a TON of information communicated in as few words as possible.
 
Dec 29, 2011
703
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Any other choice favorites you guys have?

Anything Derren Brown writes. Not just the material, which is absolutely excellent, but he is just so eloquent in the way he writes things, the way little things are emphasised in just the right way so you know exactly what hes trying to get across, the little jokes; hes the only writer I've seen where its actually physically entertaining to read the words. Saw Absolute Magic today going for a little less than normal, so I thought nows the time, before it gets even more rare and expensive. So looking forward to reading it.
 

Ashrei

Elite Member
Sep 1, 2007
351
2
Surprised to see the Paper Engine - Aaron Fisher did not make it onto anyone's list thus far...
 
May 18, 2008
812
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I like this question though - what makes you pick up a magic book? Is it the cover? The material? The author? And what makes you keep reading it after you take the leap to start? I'm interested to know :)

I think design is hugely important (but that's probably because I surround myself with art students and artists). :p

A good magician friend and I had a discussion about this the other day. There was a book for sale that I didn't find appealing at all because it had an awful cover with horrific Microsoft Word Art on the cover. His argument was that it lead more focus to the content inside, but I don't know.

That brings up another interesting question. Are people less harsh on "bad" books/DVDs if the art and layout are good?

All the best,
-Chris
 

Pav

Elite Member
Apr 7, 2012
537
12
Expert at the card table may be difficult to read and understand, but it is most definitely concise. Insofar as being a TON of information communicated in as few words as possible.

Those two statements sort of contradict themselves. How can something be difficult to read and understand, and still be concise? Concise means giving a lot of information CLEARLY in as few words as possible. Difficult to read and understand isn't exactly "clear" in my opinion.
 

S.G

Feb 9, 2010
664
1
I'm not incredibly well-versed in books dealing with magic, but one of my favorites is Drawing Room Deceptions by Guy Hollingworth.

Clear cut and simplistic, the book is one that I truly enjoy reading.
 
Apr 6, 2011
540
6
Lansing, MI
Those two statements sort of contradict themselves. How can something be difficult to read and understand, and still be concise? Concise means giving a lot of information CLEARLY in as few words as possible. Difficult to read and understand isn't exactly "clear" in my opinion.

I know concise to be defined as being brief yet comprehensive; in which case the book is concise. As there is tons of information in relatively little words. However you are also right, because if you were to add clear to the definition of concise... Well the book isn't exactly easy to read.
 
Aug 31, 2007
803
1
Life Savers is another interestingly designed book simply for it's odd size. If put on a pile of magic books, it definitely sticks out, and I think is a fair representation of the material - odd, but awesome.

Great suggestions so far, keep the conversation going!
 
Have you read the Art Of Astonishment series by Paul Harris? Sounds like it's right up your alley.

Edit: You might also want to pick up The Annotated Words Of Slydini. It's been a while since I've looked through it, but from what I remember, the wording and annotations are great, and the photos are good as well.
 
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