Businessassins 1 and 2 Review by Paul Hallas.
It makes sense to me to review these e-booklets together. The introduction to both books is identical as the theme of each booklet is the same: routines with business cards for the mentalist (though some magicians may be interested too). There are three detailed routines in each booklet with variations on some of them included and material to print out so you can get them printed on your business cards or print on stickers to add to your business cards while you experiment with the routines. If you like the first book, you’ll want the second.
There have been booklets on routines with business cards before (I wrote one myself decades ago) but these are aimed more for those who lean towards mentalism. The mentalist might write a prediction on a business card before leaving it with someone or do a ‘flash’ magic square a la Roy Johnson or Doug Dyment but the routines in these booklets are meant to be more interactive and in some cases done over the phone later. The idea is that the person you give the business card to prompts the demonstration by asking about what he sees on your card.
Just as there are some mentalists that don’t like to use playing cards I’ve come across some that don’t like to use printed lists so if you’re one of those then walk right on by. For the most part the routines use mathematical principles and clever forces so the mere mention of math has lost some more readers unless you’ve previously read anything by The Unknown Mentalist in which case you might stick around.
The first routine in the first booklet is called Telepathy Test. On the back of the business card is what looks like a word search puzzle and a list of words. After the performers introductory patter the participant chooses a word and looks for it in the puzzle. The performer is able to reveal the word he is looking at.
Routine two is called Digital Destiny. Apart from information on the business card (a list of words) another small card is used with different years on in three different colors. One side of the card has dates from the past and the other the future. In the simplest version of the routine as soon as someone picks a color you know which word they will eventually end up with.
Other versions of the routine are given where the color is never used. If I were to make this up I’d eliminate the first line on the future dates side of the card as they are years that have already gone. Also you’d pick younger people to do this with, if someone my age picked some of the later dates they’d be dead before the date arrived so the final word arrived at would not be significant in any way.
A very unusual limiting force is used with this routine involving digital numbers and whilst I found it interesting, I thought it too many hoops to jump through to reveal a word. Maybe it will open the door to people giving readings based on the digital segments in someone’s date of birth?
The third routine is a humorous one, the spectator’s fingerprint apparently appears on your business card. It’s taken as a bit of a joke but eventually an ESP symbol he is concentrating on appears in the fingerprint. No mathematics in this one, but you need a Frixion pen. And if you have one, there’s also a killer use for it in the second booklet.
Universal Answer is the first routine in Businessassins 2. I found this one amusing as the spectator finds the answer to the meaning of life. A 25 square grid full of words is on the back of your business card. An alternative grid with symbols/pictures could also be used and while that does look better, the word grid is far more practical if you were going to do this over the phone, as pictures can be described by people in different ways, and in the end the participant has to use words for the images anyway. At first I thought the use of ‘traffic light’ seemed out of place as a choice and something else could be substituted, but then realized it doesn’t matter as the climax shows this is not to be taken too seriously (which is not to say the person won’t be baffled).
This is an unusual application of an old force and whilst the author mentions in passing that some of the routines in the booklet with a little thought could be sized up for bigger audiences it made me think of some of Martin Gardner’s bigger prediction squares and using words perhaps for those (see The Magic Magazine, February 1975 or Martin Gardner Presents p.141) but I know I never will.
The second routine in book 2 is Zodiac Zap. A mixture of principles here, one is the use of a Friction pen but I can imagine this having quite an impact as everything written on the back of the business card disappears except for the date you met and the participants zodiac sign which you could not possibly have known.
The final routine in this booklet, Fast Forecast is another routine with a list of words on the back of your business cards. These forty five words represent positive development for the subject at different times. Under the guise of a numerological experiment the participant is guided through a series of calculations with information the mentalist could not know and the resultant number leads to a word on the list which the performer is able to slowly reveal. All the possible words can be milked for a positive future forecast.
If you get just one routine from these booklets that you are going to use a lot, then it’s a good investment. The principles, thinking and presentations described may very well spark your own imagination.