MAGic library

BOOKS vs. DVDs - The same video that killed the radio star is rapidly killing Magic's printed word. Obviously, the choice between print or video instruction is a matter of personal preference and learning style. In this age of electronic media, massive volumes of information are instantly available with all of the inherent pros and cons. Sadly, this freely available information devalues its true worth because it is so easily discarded.


Research states that the human brain processes videos 60,000 times faster than the written word. Reading takes a serious cognitive effort while watching a video is largely passive. Physically, this compares to a day at the gym (Reading) vs. being a couch potato (Watching). We retain and assimilate much more from reading, or even supplementing videos with books, than we do from simply watching the video.


Videos are ideal seducers! Ever wonder how our old timers got along with a few dozen books while modern day magicians tend to have shelves overflowing with DVDs? Serious marketers know that video is the stronger means of increasing impulse sales. Just as reading is all about thinking, video is better at getting us to feel. We become immersed and create an empathetic connection with the subject on the screen. Our emotions lead us to focus more on the exciting flash over the duller instructional content - often to our dismay and later buyer's remorse. Emotional responses equal impulse sales.  However, when we read something, our brains become actively involved in processing the information in front us. Our hard-working cognitive processors suppress our emotional processors.


For these reasons, the best magicians still rely on the instructional medium that retains its value year after year - The Magic Book.  Magic books require time and effort to absorb. They force us to find a quiet corner free of distractions to study our art. The written word stimulates our creative imagination in ways no video can. The very act of reading instantly creates a mental image placing the reader in the role of the magician. Through the written word, we are best able to develop an act based on our own personality and skill set rather than mimicking move-for-move and word-for-word the skills of another. Books coupled with our imagination builds that most precious of magical skills - Originality


Finally, the best magicians know that by prospecting through the older out-of-print books, we discover true "hidden gems" - magic tricks and techniques that have fallen out of use and generally go ignored in modern media. The truth is that nearly every secret, technique, and skill of any value to magicians can be found in the books listed below. Nearly every expensive "New" effect on the market today has its roots in these magnificent books. But, to find gold we have to dig. The reward? Nothing compares to finding a trick or technique that few of our peers are aware of and making it "New" again!  


Don't misunderstand. The visual learning offered through DVDs and downloads has its place. Everyone learns magic in different ways. Use the method, or combination of methods, that works best for you. To get you started, here are our recommendations for the ideal Magic Book Library.


LIST COLOR KEY - BEGINNER - ADVANCED - BOTH - MUST READ


 ADVANCED FINGERTIP CONTROL - Ed Marlo

ANNOTATED MAGIC OF SLYDINI, THE - Tony Slydini

ART OF ASTONISHMENT, THE (Vols 1-3) - Paul Harris 

BOOKS OF WONDER (Vols 1-2) - Tommy Wonder

CARD COLLEGE (Vols 1-5) - Robert Giobbi 

COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY, THE (Vols 1-2) - Alex Elmsley

CREATING THEATRICAL MAGIC - Max Howard

DUNNINGER'S COMPLETE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MAGIC - Joseph Dunninger

DUSHECK'S MAGIC SERIES (Vols 1-4) - Steve Dusheck

  • Dusheck's Card Magic
  • Dusheck's Coin Magic
  • Dusheck's Thumb Tip Magic
  • Dusheck's Mental Magic
  • Dusheck's Close-Up Magic

​​ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DOVE MAGIC - Marian Chavez

​EXPERT AT THE CARD TABLE - S. W. Erdnase

FITZKEE TRILOGY, THE - Dariel Fitzkee

  • Magic by Misdirection
  • Showmanship for Magicians
  • The Trick Brain

​​GREATER MAGIC - John Northern Hilliard

​ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF MAGIC, THE - Milbourne Christopher

INNER SECRETS OF CARD MAGIC (Vols 1-3) - Dai Vernon

INSIDE THE MEDIUM'S CABINET - Joseph Dunninger

LET ME TELL YOU A STORY - Barry Mitchell

MAGIC 1400s-1950s - Mike Caveney, Jim Steinmeyer, Ricky Jay

MAGIC AND SHOWMANSHIP - Henning Nelms

MAGIC BOOK, THE - Harry Lorayne

MAGIC MENU, THE (Vols 1-3) - Jim Sisti

​MAGIC OF MICHAEL AMMAR, THE - Michael Ammar

MAGIC OF THINKING CREATIVELY, THE - Barry Mitchell

MARK WILSON'S COMPLETE COURSE IN MAGIC - Mark Wilson & Walter B. Gibson

MAXIMUM ENTERTAINMENT - Ken Weber

MNEMONICA - Juan Tamariz

NEW MODERN COIN MAGIC, THE - J.B. Bobo

NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON'T (Vols 1-2) - Bill Tarr

OPEN SESAME: A BOOK FOR THE CHILDREN'S CONJURER - Eric Lewis & Wilfred Tyler

OUR MAGIC - Nevil Maskelyne & David Devant

PRACTICAL MENTAL MAGIC - Theodore Anneman

RESTAURANT WORKER'S HANDBOOK, THE - Jim Pace & Jerry MacGregor

RICE'S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SILK MAGIC (Vols 1-4) - Harold R. Rice & Francis B. Martineau

ROUTINES MATTER - Trevor Lewis & Phil Willmarth

​ROYAL ROAD TO CARD MAGIC - Jean Hugard, Frederick Braue

ROYAL TOUCH - Cellini

SCRIPTING MAGIC - Pete McCabe

SCARNE ON CARD TRICKS - John Scarne

SECRET ART OF MAGIC, THE - Eric Evans & Nowlin Craven

SEMI-AUTOMATIC CARD TRICKS (Vols 1-8) - Steve Beam

SERIOUSLY SILLY: HOW TO ENTERTAIN CHILDREN WITH MAGIC AND COMEDY - David Kaye

STARS OF MAGIC - Dai Vernon

STRONG MAGIC - Darwin Ortiz

TARBELL COURSE IN MAGIC (Vols 1-8) - Dr. Harlan Tarbell

WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND - Joseph Dunninger

WORKERS (Vols 1-4) - Michael Close

 

We hope this list will help loved ones find the perfect birthday or holiday gift for that special family magician! Do you have a book that you think should be added to this list? Send the name and author to info(at)raleighmagicclub.org! List compiled by Skip Way.