Why should you read books instead of learning from DVDs?

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by tan567, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. Hey everyone :)

    This is something that keeps on coming into my head...every professional magician I hear about seems to be recommending to read as many books as you can, instead of learning from video.

    For example, everyone seems to recommend Royal Road instead of a beginner DVD like Born to Perform.

    Why is reading books so important?
  2. Make it your own

    Hey! Awesome Post. I think reading books is important.. because everyone interprets the reading a little differently and they practice there slights with there hands in mind. In videos you see exactly how the performer handles the cards and you try to imitate them exactly. When you learn from a book you customize the slights to your own liking without even realizing it.
  3. Well, videos take out the creative thinking element for your thought process. Basically when you read your mind is stimulated to think and create. With a video, that element is taken away. I prefer books over videos any day.

    As far as recommendations for beginning material, I would not choose the cliche of Erdnase. I personally think that people say Erdnase because it's cliche and people think that if they don't say Erdnase that they will be frowned upon. Erdnase just dives right into the material, and for the most part if a gambling book. I would recommend something like Mark Wilson's course, Royal Road, or even Josh Jay's course. The material will help you become comfortable with a deck of cards and mechanics rather than flipping to a page and working on a diagonal palm shift.
  4. What's wrong with just learning from both? No one says you have to learn one over the other.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to learning from both methods. As has already been said from a book, you are able to put more of yourself in a trick and develop creativity as you aren't just copying straight from a video performance. Another advantage of a book is (as Jason England put it on a roundtable discussion) you can literally fill a book with a lifetimes worth of information (just look at Erdnase) as oppose to a DVD which is more limited simply because you can only put so much on a single disc. On the flip side though, for very technical sleights I much prefer the video resource because you can a) see the sleight performed and b) you can get a clearer picture of the finger placements etc.

    Personally, I prefer to learn sleights (especially very technical ones) from a video source due to my above reason. I don't think the "copying from the creator" argument holds water in this scenario, as for some sleights you absolutely have to copy, and even if by copying, the sleight looks wrong you will figure out a handling that works for you anyway.

    I think the scenario where things absolutely should be published in and read from is books, for the "copying" reason. You have to think more if your reading through a routine in a book, and you may therefore create different handlings or directions for the routine to go putting more of yourself into it as oppose to eating what is put for you on a plate in video format.

    Both are very good resources and should both be used together. There are no rules in how to learn magic and I think those that choose to have a strong view for one over the other need to rethink how they learn material.
  5. Use both. There`s one thing that no book in the world can show you...that things are feasible. Feasability gives you confidence. Later on it isn`t important anymore because you know what you`re capable of.
    I prefer books, but that doesn`t mean I´m restricting myself to one medium. Why should you ?
  6. I have learned 85% or more of my go-to material from books, and 85% of that is from Royal Road and other books from that time period (Early to mid 1900's). That being said, I enjoy learning from books. I find a fun challenge in it. Do I think it's better than learning from a DVD? Probably not better, but at least as good. I agree that learning certain complicated moves from a video is better because there is that extra visual element there, but I've been reading Expert Card Technique on an e-reader and doing well with it. (This is difficult. The illustrations are all out of place.) I have had to modify the handling of the bottom deal some to fit my usual dealing position, but aside from a lack of practice, I can perform a bottom deal with no problem (O.K the lack of practice is a HUGE problem). On the other side of the coin, I learned the Diagonal Palm Shift from a video, and though I've only done it once in front of an audience, I have it ready if I ever need it.

    One reason for learning from books, especially old books, is that the tricks in old books are great tricks, but some do need updating. For example, there is a cool little effect in a book that was published in 1910 called Magicians Tricks where you give 11 audience members 11 "different" face cards, and at the end they all realize they were given the same card, a card which you now have, and they all have different cards. The original handling on this effect is rather out of date, requiring a very simple gimmick, but with a little thought it was easy to eliminate the gimmick.

    Perhaps my biggest reason for learning from books is that very few of the effects taught in books are revealed on the internet, or to be more specific, YouTube. I've had people (mostly those who try to be jerks) tell me they've seen something revealed on YouTube when doing more common effects. (Perhaps This 'n That is the most famous of those.) But whenever I perform something from a book, no one has any clue how it works (as it should be) and I can confidently say that they won't find the answer (which is nice).

    Base on your single digit post count and the titles you mentioned, I'm guessing you're rather new to magic. (If I'm wrong, I'm sorry.) If this is the case, I recommend picking up one good book, Royal Road or Bobo's Coin Magic depending on what you're looking for, and one or two good DVDs that cover a wide range of sleights. (Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic is also a great book with a wide range of effects.) Then decide what works with your learning style.

    Don't give up on books before actually trying to learn from them. Sit down with the book and necessary props and read the text. Then try to perform the effect with the text in front of you.

    Don't forget that nothing beats a personal teacher! I've got a couple of people that I go to when I'm having trouble with an effect who can give me specific advice on what to do to correct whatever problems I'm having. This is how I learned The Pass.
  7. coz everyone learn from dvd these days. and if you learn from dvd you will be just as same as the other guy. There are so many thing forgotten from books. Plus there are so many tricks that you can only learn only from books. Guy Hollingworth's reformation is just one of them, tom potente's flippant is also one of the tricks that you can only learns from book. hope that helps.
  8. Thanks for that great post!

    I'm still a beginner but I've been into cards for about a year now, and I started off with Royal Road (shuffling mainly) and then just dived into videos and more advanced books (like One Degree, Paper Engine).

    So I'm quite okay handling cards, but I've decided I want a good foundation before I learn any more advanced material. So I want to go back to the classics and learn more :) can't believe I just overlooked the classics and started learning the "next best things"!

    Thanks again :)
  9. I'm glad you are learning from the right sources! If you want, I can PM you a list of my favorite effects from Royal Road. They're all very simple and easy to do, but they always get amazing reactions. If you're into advanced moves get Expert Card Technique, also by Jean Hugard, it teaches some cool techniques for DL get readies and other fun sleights. I'm about half way through it and the ideas there are AMAZING!

    I highly recommend finishing Royal Road. It contains almost all of the essential sleights in card magic and you will quickly learn that the tricks in Royal Road are some of the best. I learned most of what I know from that book and a few other places. If you're looking for things like the Ascanio Spread or Elmsley count, Royal Road won't help much, but it covers the Double Lift, The Pass, numerous shuffle controls, the glide, the Backslip and tons of other useful sleights. The book is also organized so that you learn the moves in a logical sequence with each chapter containing effects using the moves taught in that chapter and moves from previous chapters.

    My other huge piece of advise is to find someone who can critique you. This will help you improve much faster. I'm not talking about the several hundred (or thousand) magicians on YouTube here. I'm talking about someone who can meet with you either face to face or via web cam. This way you can ask questions about their advise and really dig in and understand all aspects of a move or trick. Plus, they'll tell you if your flashing, and unlike a lot of YouTube commenters, they'll actually be able to give you good, specific, advise on how to avoid it.
  10. For me books are the way to go, when i first got started in magic we did not have magic dvd's or
    downloads, it was just books,pamplets, or the magic clubs, that was 22yr. ago and know i have
    over 300 books on magic. now that does not mean i am completly against dvd's, i own a few, but
    i noticed when most people (NOT all) get into magic they want to copy the performers personality
    patter from the dvd or download, and with books you dont do that, you learn to be yourself.
    a friend told me the other day if you want to keep something a secret put it in print.
  11. If you're like me, a university student who spends most of his time pre-reading and re-reading textbooks all day, it's nice to just sit back and watch a DVD.
    Books at this point in my life give me chills.
    Especially books about Immunology...
  12. I would suggest Card College. It's a lot less of a dry read compared to Royal Road. Royal Road is still great though.

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