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Theory, Articles & Reviews

Theory is too often neglected. As the saying goes "The most practical thing is a good theory," you should be well grounded in magic's theory. We offer a wide variety of titles from the classics Our Magic, The Art of Magic and Fitzkee's trilogy, to modern articles by some of the most respected and outspoken teachers like Jamy Ian Swiss and Michael Close. You might also want to browse our Marketing category which offers a lot of advice on how to present yourself in a professional manner.

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Bill Nagler MD
The Psychology of Magic by Bill Nagler MD

Dr. Bill Nagler is a psychologist and he provides a psychologist's in depth view of the world of magic. The information is radical and instructive.Why do top magicians rarely earn the sums of money that top stars in other entertainment fields earn? Why do some people hate magic so much? What is basically wrong with most people's approach to magic?

Find out for yourself and be prepared to be startled and perhaps end up changed in your attitude to magic. Bill includes his full close up act which helped him to pay his way through medical school. You'll see that he is not just a theorist! ...

★★★★ $14
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Daniel Skahen
The Public Approach by Daniel Skahen

This ebook addresses in a fairly comprehensive and very thoughtful way, how should one approach a stranger with magic. I have not seen any other work which addresses this issue in such detail and with such practical advice. If you are looking to do some 'street magic', this is an ebook you should not ignore.

1st edition, 2005; 140 pages.

  • Why the Public Approach?
  • Reversing the Perspective
  • Fundamental Human Nature
  • People are Bored
  • Personal Confidence
  • The Freedom of Indifference
  • Reframing Limiting Beliefs
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Practice Makes Perfect
  • Testing the Waters
  • It's Nothin' Personal ...
★★★★★ $10
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Paul Gordon
The Real Secrets of Card Magic by Paul Gordon

Tips, Advice, Thoughts, Experience, The Business, Patter, Presentation, Acting, Skills & More

"The book is called The Real Secrets of Card Magic but it should more accurately be titled The Real Secrets of Being a Professional Magical Entertainer. In this new volume, Paul Gordon offers wisdom that could only be gained through years of actually performing magic for real people for his living. If you feel that you have a commercial repertoire of material and can present it in an entertaining fashion, The Real Secrets of Card Magic will surely help you to the next plateau of becoming a professional...
$15
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unavailable


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Jim Sisti
The Restaurant Magic Reader by Jim Sisti

Essays and thoughts on the performance of restaurant magic.

"This is real world experience from a top pro who has spent his professional life learning what works, what is important and, most importantly, what is universal." - Richard Osterlind (from the foreword)
The Restaurant Magic Reader collects the many articles and essays that Jim Sisti has written over the last 20 years on the subject of restaurant magic. Between these covers, you will find thoughts and ideas on such important topics as choosing material, selecting a performing character, getting and keeping a restaurant magic engagement,...
★★★★★ $15
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Dartagnan
The Secret Gate by Dartagnan

The oldest, most pernicious, and insoluble problem in the history of magic was stated best by Henning Nelms, in his 1969 Magic and Showmanship: A Handbook for Conjurers ...

"No matter how astonishing a trick may be, it suffers from one major fault - it has no point."

This ebook is the long-sought-after answer to that statement.

[Please note that access to appendix 11 and 12 requires registration at the author's website.]

  • Acknowledgements
  • Foreword by Eric Evans
  • Preface
  • A Long Time Ago
  • A Lot of Simple Tricks and Nonsense
  • Best Star Pilot in the Galaxy
  • Scum and Villainy
  • Hokey Religions and Ancient Weapons
  • What Are You Trying To Push on Us
  • Tremor in the Force ...
★★★★★ $20.20
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Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin & Professor Hoffmann
The Secrets of Conjuring and Magic by Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin & Professor Hoffmann

The original title is Les Secrets de la Prestidigitation et de la Magie. It was the collection of lessons and information Robert-Houdin intended to teach his sons to make them expert magicians. However, his sons did have other interests, mechanics and military, which led him to publish his recordings as book. Prof. Hoffmann has translated this masterpiece into English.

  • Editor's Preface
  • Author's Preface
  • Introduction
  • Home of Robert-Houdin
  • Conjuring and Its Professors
  • Art of Conjuring
  • Coin Conjuring
  • General Principles
  • Coin Tricks
  • Card Conjuring
  • Sundry Expedients
  • Cups and Balls
  • Various Tricks ...
★★★★★ $9
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Jon Racherbaumer
The Too Perfect Theory by Jon Racherbaumer

Can a magic trick be too perfect? Too impossible? Well, opinions differ. Some of the most prominent minds in magic disagree. Reading these essays will help you form your own personal opinion on this fundamental question. The theorists are:

[Note that this collection of essays is also part of the Ask Roberto Giobbi ebook.

1st edition 2008; 61 pages....

★★★★★ $5
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Dariel Fitzkee
The Trick Brain by Dariel Fitzkee

This is book two from Fitzkee's trilogy and is unlike any other book ever written on magic. It was the first book (and to my knowledge the only book) to attack magic methods from a scientific standpoint. Fitzkee develops here a classification of effects, from appearances to vanishes, and then describes a system to invent or develop new trick plots. This is an invention system. I would say it is one way to invent new trick plots. But even if you are not of the scientific sort, the classification and discussion of magic effects and methods is a tremendous resource to expand your horizon and think...

★★★★★ $9
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Jim Kleefeld
The Volunteer Book by Jim Kleefeld

Most magicians involve a part of their audience in some of their effects, be it the trivial act of picking a card, or a more involved on stage helper or assistant. We can call all of these people volunteers, because they volunteer to participate in one form or another. Jim Kleefeld has written the first detailed and thorough work on volunteers, how to pick them, treat them and plan accordingly. Since he is trained in theater and psychology, he is very qualified to understand the perspective of volunteers, how they feel, how they would like to be treated and how they might react.

You can find...

$20
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Mark Lewis
The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Lewis by Mark Lewis

It's witty and it's full of wisdom. These are the ramblings of Mark Lewis on Internet forums. Irreverent and funny at times and full of deep thinking about magic and mentalism at other times.

Many incredible anecdotes of his varied life as a fortune teller, magician and hypnotist. In addition to this are techniques described on how to pitch svengali decks, how to do psychic readings, and most important of all how to do magic with showmanship and verve.

Included is a video clip of his legendary svengali deck routine which he has performed all over the world thousands of times plus tips...

★★★★★ $15
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John B. Pyka
Theatrical Magic Omnibus Edition: Turning Tricks into Theater by John B. Pyka

This is a revised and updated edition.

"A magician is an actor, playing the part of a great magician" - Robert Houdin.

This classic quote is at the heart of Theatrical Magic by John Pyka (aka "Big Daddy Cool" Johnny Dellarocca). John is an accomplished actor and magician, with a degree in Music and Theater Performance from Eastern KY University and a thriving career producing theatrical entertainment for theaters, theme parks, cruise ships and corporate events.

In his ebook Theatrical Magic, John teaches the reader how to create theatrical presentations for by presenting the reader with creativity...

★★★★ $5
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David Devlin
Theoretical Reality by David Devlin

This is a very in depth work on The Gozinta Boxes. This is not just a little eBook that teaches a single effect. It is a book on theories, philosophies, and thoughts on the effect; however, the thoughts on the effect itself that David discusses can be applied to all magic. This eBook really lets you in on the mind of David Devlin, how he thinks, how he puts routines together, and his feelings about magic as an art and the performance of magic. So, even if you do not use the illusion that is discussed you will learn ways of creating and improving routines of your own. The effect of the Gozinta...

★★★★★ $10
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Brian T. Lees
Thinking of an Assistant by Brian T. Lees

Bringing on an assistant to work with you does not have to be expensive. But it does need to be planned out. From adding the employee, to work costumes and through performance this ebook sets the foundation to get started. Begin with the magic you already own and with increased marketing watch your shows evolve to larger venues/audiences.

  • Selection
  • Payroll
  • Sources
  • Appearance
  • Performance
  • After the Show
  • Train Wreck Performance
  • Wrapping it Up

1st edition 2016, 23 pages.

$10
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Brian T. Lees
Timing by Brian T. Lees

One of the most important elements of a performance. Without allowing time for the audience to comprehend the magician is doing nothing more than running through a series of instruction steps. Time adds drama, energy and the sizzle needed to enhance magic.

Timing is a hard subject to cover. One does not learn from books or lectures. Those sources, like this text, help identify the value of time. The magician must acquire his/her own skills with the use of time.

This text will help identify how it is used, provide examples you can relate to, and get you started. Armed with this knowledge...

$10
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Brian T. Lees
Tool Box Show by Brian T. Lees

A call comes in and their magician cancelled. They need a magic show in the next half hour. Can you be packed and ready to go? Maybe you are at an event and one of the sponsors comes up to you and says they need to fill a thirty-minute gap in their schedule. Are you ready to step on stage and go to work? The answer rests in what this text refers to as a tool box show. When the phone rings, if the money is right, all you need to do is grab your tool box and go to work. This ebook will help you take advantage of those "short notice" performance opportunities.

  • Real world
  • Tool box show purpose ...
★★★★★ $10
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Brian T. Lees
Transitioning by Brian T. Lees

Now for my next trick..... Ladies and gentlemen watch as I take this silk...... And now, right before your eyes I will...... For my next trick......

Announcing each and every trick you do during your show gets boring to the audience. Nothing makes you sound more generic then constant repetition. For that reason, magicians have come up with methods to create flow through their performance. The methods they use between their magic is referred to as transitions.

The three basic transition tools are: announce, lead and connect. This text identifies the three transitions and helps you use...

$10
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Werner C. (Dorny) Dornfeld/Dornfield
Trix and Chatter by Werner C. (Dorny) Dornfeld/Dornfield

Dorny was a much liked and regarded magician of his time. One of the highlights of this book is the "Who's Who and Why" section which will tell you a lot about the colleagues of Dorny. There is also a good patter section and a number of tricks ranging from cards, coins, mentalism, most of them contributed by other magicians like Hugard, Blackstone, Jordan, Brema, Hilliar, ...

1st edition, 1921, W. Dornfeld, published by Arthur P. Felsman; 286 pages.

  1. Overture
  2. Act One - "Chatter"
  3. Intermission - "The Ne-Kro-Mancer Man"
  4. Act Two - "Who's Who - and Why"
  5. Intermission - "War Magic"
  6. Act Three - "Trix"
  7. Finale
...
$9
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Clint Barron
Understanding Misdirection by Clint Barron

This is a nice and sweet introduction to the concepts of misdirection and how you can apply them to your own performance.

1st edition 2012, 12 pages.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What is Misdirection?
  3. The 4 Principles of Misdirection
  4. Principle 1: The Off-Beat
  5. Principle 2: The Eyes
  6. Principle 3: Use Your Natural Style
  7. Principle 4: Justification of Moves
  8. Putting It All Together
  9. Final Thoughts
  10. Credits & Useful Resources
★★★★ $15
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Wilhelm Eberhard
Understanding the Tamariz False Clues Method by Wilhelm Eberhard

Tamariz' False Clues method helps professional magicians to eliminate contradictions from their acts, guaranteeing they produce the effect they really want on their audiences. This ebook explains the method, helps you avoid common errors and provides an overview of the fundamental theoretical concepts you need to correctly use every aspect of it.

Contents

  • Understanding and using Tamariz' False Clues method
    • Is it difficult to use the False Clues method?
  • First Part: Preliminaries
    • Nelms' importance of meaning theory
    • Tricks lacking meaning are perceived as a challenge to solve a puzzle ...
★★★★ $7
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Wolfgang Riebe
Virtual Magic Show Set-Up by Wolfgang Riebe

A practical guide to creating a basic professional virtual studio.

Times have changed and virtual magic shows have become commonplace all around the world. Do you have a virtual studio in your home and do your Internet broadcasts come across as professional? Or do you shy away from the technology and not sure where to start? Here is a great booklet aimed at the beginner in the virtual space who has a limited budget. A few options are shared, from basic to advanced, including how to make the best of what you currently have, and how to add to your studio with various simple, professional, yet...

$10
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L. C. Collier
What is a Stage and How Do I Use It? by L. C. Collier

This publication is intended to give you a general working knowledge of the parts of a stage and how to use them. It covers stage construction, stage terminology, lighting and cue sheets. This will give you a nutshell version of subjects that would normally take three book volumes to cover.

A general working knowledge will help you present your act in the best possible way. Most of the legitimate theaters require union workers to run the theater. They appreciate it when you know what you want, what their facility has to offer and how to ask for it.

1st edition 2003; 17 pages.

★★★★ $5
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David Devant
Woes of a Wizard by David Devant

Woes of a Wizard was written by David Devant before he was partner to J. N. Maskelyne in his famous Egyptian Hall in London. Devant became a partner after George Cooke, Maskelyne's former partner had left the enterprise. Devant was a natural choice as he was fast becoming the top magician in England. But at the time of this publication he was, as Paul Daniels says, "a jobbing magician." His base was just outside London, and he traveled the country repeatedly giving shows for society and in the Music Hall. In his famous book, now happily made available once again, he relates the stories that every professional...

★★★★ $12
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Brian T. Lees
Working on Stage by Brian T. Lees

From the Preface:

An actor who has always been an inspiration to me once said:

"There are plenty of $400 magicians out there who are only worth $75 and there are plenty of $75 magicians out there that should charge $400."

That is a harsh, cold but very true fact. They all have the skills and potential. Still some do not take their performances up to the levels they should. The ending result is an audience that only gets parts of their show. The cheap $400 magicians shut out part of their audience. They do not allow the entire audience to listen to what they say. And they have serious...

$10
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Brian T. Lees
Working with a Partner by Brian T. Lees

A primer for working with a partner. This text addresses such questions as: why work with a partner, what do look for in a magician you want to work with, documents that both partners need to consider, the basics of putting a performance together and other information.

  • Why a partnership
  • What to look for In partner
  • The partner agreement
  • Partnered performance
  • Transitioning
  • Accent the positive
  • Wrapping it up

1st edition 2016, 21 pages.

$10
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