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
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DOVE MAGIC - Marian Chavez
EXPERT AT THE CARD TABLE - S. W. Erdnase
FITZKEE TRILOGY, THE - Dariel Fitzkee
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.