“A magician never reveals his secrets!” Ask anyone about a magician’s code, and that’s what they’ll tell you. A magician is never supposed to share how the tricks are done.
Of course, if that was true there would never be new magicians! In truth, I love teaching people how to do magic. It’s why I offer teach my magic learning workshops and it’s why I wrote a comic book to teach kids how to do magic (you can find a downloadable copy in the Fan Club section of my website – use the password “LEARN” to get in).
I started learning magic when I was in elementary school. My father taught me a few simple tricks he had bought at a local magic store, but I wanted to know more. To learn, I turned to my local library where – to my surprise – there was actually a nice selection of books on magic to choose from!
So, as kids around the country are digging in to their summer reading lists, I thought I would put together a list of my three my favorite books for learning magic.
Magic For Dummies by David Pogue – Ah, the “for dummies” series. You can learn everything in these books, from how to program computers to how to recognize a corky wine from a woody wine (believe it or not I actually own “Wine For Dummies!”). Magic is no exception. This book not only teaches many easy to learn magic tricks, but also shares stories from well known magicians. The “Grace Under Fire” sections, sprinkled throughout the book, are things I still think about regularly in my own performing career. Easy and accessible, this is a fantastic place for any budding magician to begin!
Magic: The Complete Course by Joshua Jay – Joshua Jay is a well known and respected magician. He’s put together a great, modern book for teaching both adults and children the basics of magic. This book is a fine place to begin if you have no previous background in learning magic, but it gets a little more advanced a little quicker than Magic For Dummies.
Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic by Mark Wilson – There’s nothing quite like a classic! Mark Wilson, along with his performing partner and wife, Nani Darnell, invented the concept of a television magician when they debuted their hit show, The Magic World of Allakazam in 1960! This book, published in 1975, truly is the complete course in magic (and my favorite of the books on the list). There’s a reason it’s still printed today! Far more comprehensive than any other beginner book on the subject, Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic covers everything from coins and cards all the way up to some simple stage illusions. That’s right – this book actually contains blueprints you can use to build your own fantastic stage illusions – in some cases with nothing more complicated that a couple of cardboard refrigerator boxes! The only downside to this book is that’s incredibly dated. Some of the “every day objects” this book references aren’t easily found (sugar cubes?), and the writing style might make it a little less approachable for young audiences today. Still – the concepts are timeless, and the lessons taught in this one book will take anyone very, very far in to learning the craft of magic.
There you have it – my three favorite books on teaching magic. “Magic For Dummies” for it’s accessibility, “Mark Wilson’s The Complete Course In Magic” for it’s comprehensive presentation of magic principles, and “Magic: The Complete Course” for falling somewhere in between the other two!