on November 11, 2001
I am a professional magician. I have used this book on many occasions to teach a magic workshop. The tricks are very well explained and most are very easy to perform. Lots of pictures make this process quick. If you are a beginner in magic, a professional or even a teacher, I highly recommend making this purchase!
on August 19, 2000
This book is more than a simple collection of tricks. It's a full introduction to the world of magic. Not only do you discover the secrets behind tricks that you can reproduce without much special equipment, you also get a foundation in the whole art of magic.
Most of the book is, of course, consumed with telling you how to do stuff. The tricks are organized by the venue in which they could best be performed. There are tricks for the office, tricks for restaurants, tricks for parties, and tricks for wherever you carry a pack of cards. The instructions for all the tricks are clear and even humorous. Mr. Pogue is an excellent teacher, able to convey in writing what many couldn't do through speech.
But the book is more than just these tricks. It's also a guide to the performance art of magic itself. Nothing, according to Mr. Pogue, is as important as the panache you can exhibit. And of course he's right. Pogue teaches you that the projection of confidence is, more than anything you do with your hands, responsible for the creation of illusion.
He also gives you a real sense of the history and tradition of magic. There's an introduction to famous magicians and a listing of resources to help you continue your exploration of the craft. I was also impressed to discover that there's an attempt at a "trickography"-something like a bibliography attempting to credit, where possible, the inventors of the included tricks. This trickography goes into some detail about the responsibility that magicians have towards each other, even though there's nothing in the magician's trade which can be copyrighted.
All in all, it's a fine work, well worth your money. Still, it's worth mentioning that the style of trick included here isn't necessarily everyone's idea of "magic". This is simple, sleight-of-hand stuff. It's not, for the most part, stage magic. There are no rabbits drawn from hats nor beautiful assistants sawn in half, here. Of course, to many readers this will be considered a virtue: these tricks can be done anywhere with minimal investment. But if you're hoping to make a career-or at least a paying hobby--of magic, this book is probably just a baby step along the way.
on June 10, 2000
Magic for Dummies is an excellent book for a beginning magician or an intermediate looking for new tricks. There are 100 tricks in this book that will leave your audience floored. It also provides great photos and patter and the format is very easy to read. And it is written in a lighthearted sense and is very funny. It also gives you a glossary of terms, things to say when someone asks you "How did you do that?", places to learn about magic, buy magic stuff, etc.
Bend a regular spoon, make a saltshaker disappear, do a reflex test on a volunteer and always win, keep track of money even when your back is turned, or locate your volunteer's card without even looking at it. Whatever you want to do, pick up Magic for Dummies!
on October 30, 2004
Read the title again. Yes, that's right... Magic for Dummies, a book targeted towards interested laymen, holds the greatest secret behind all magic, whether or not you're Lance Burton or David Copperfield up on a stage or a teenage magician strolling the streets.
The secret behind all magic: showsmanship, patter, personality, and intrigue. The effects in this book, simple as they are, are the building blocks of all magic. Beginners will learn the integrity behind the magic, the showsmanship necessary to perform, and some great but simple effects. Intermediates will find the importance of showsmanship and patter... reemphasized tenfold - and, maybe, some new effects will be learnt. Advanced magicians? I can not speak for them... but sometimes, a magician needs to take himself down a few notches in practicing advanced, knuckle-breaking sleights and, instead, concentrate on the magic behind the magic - the presentation.
Behind Magic for Dummies exists a magic for professionals. There's a brief history of magic, a compilation of great magicians in history, a list of things to say when you make a mistake, and hilarious magic cartoons. For those who don't know much behind magic, this book holds everything from the old static pencil on hand to a simplified restaurant zombie effect.
I recommend Magic for Dummies for young and old alike, whether you be layman or magician... it will make a magician out of a layman and a wizard out of a magician.
I'll leave it at that.
on August 14, 1999
I am not allowed to read this book. My daughter sleeps with it under her pillow and will not tell anyone, I mean anyone, how a trick is done. she has developed skill, confidence & a David Pogue-ish sense of humor. I have read most of Mr. Pogue's other books from MAC FOR DUMMIES to OPERA FOR DUMMIES. I can only say that anyone who gives this book less than 5 stars, must either a)have no sense of humor or b) a pc use with an axe to grind! Any book by David Pogue is a sure best seller. I sell books, I know!!! :-)
on August 7, 2005
If you're looking for some new magic tricks and a good laugh (Eccl. 3:4), read "Magic for Dummies" by David Pogue. Don't let the title fool you, even experienced magicians can benefit from this book.
The book contains many impromptu effects--things you can do anywhere with familiar objects. For example, you're in a restaurant with your friends and the conversation lulls. You take a packet of sugar off the center of the table and pour it into your clenched fist. Give it a little squeeze and "voila!" there's no sugar to be found.
You could adapt many of the tricks to a Biblical theme. For example, "The Phantom Photo" is an illusion where you assemble an empty picture frame, an audience member selects a famous movie star, and their photo appears in the frame. This same illusion and a little imagination could turn it into a lesson about the major Bible prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
Each chapter has something valuable. The effects are quite strong and unique. Many of the tricks were submitted by over 35 of the top magicians in the world. In addition to the secret, David adds tips and valuable suggested patter to the effects. The book contains several cartoons by Rich Tennant (The 5th Wave). One was especially appropriate for the Christian Conjuror and is included with this review.
I found the answers provided to common questions like "How did you do that?" and things you can say when you flub a trick very helpful. Although I wish I never needed to use those lines, reality proves me wrong. It's good to be prepared. To help you become a well-rounded magician, David has also included a couple of chapters on the history of magic, describing some of the most famous magicians and incredible moments in magic.
One appendix provides many places you can contact to continue with your interest in magic. There are many up-to-date internet addresses for information included as well. Unfortunately, the "Fellowship of Christian Magicians" is not listed. I've suggested this to the author for a future edition.
Even if you bought the book and decided not to read it, you could always use the book as a prop in your next show. For comedy effect when a trick goes bad, pull the book out of your bag and pretend to check out the secret. It's always humbling to let your audience know that you consider yourself a "dummy" sometimes.
All in all, "Magic for Dummies" is an excellent instructional book on magic for the beginner or professional. It's filled to the brim with practical illusions that you can do. David's sense of humor really makes the book fun to read. I give it a thumbs up!
on September 3, 1998
This light-hearted book pleasantly surprised me. It manages to teach a broad range of effects while emphasizing the real goal of performing magic, which is to entertain an audience by providing a moment of astonishment. It also lists resources for anyone inspired to continue beyond this introduction. I thought it was well done, and suitable for interested beginners of any age.
on December 20, 1998
I have recently discovered the ancient art of visual deception, and I am more entertained than my "victims". This book was a surprise choice that has won my heart as an excellent starting book for anyone who really desires to be an expert deceiver. I like the fact that most of the stunts can be done with things you can carry in your pockets. Don't expect to make the Statue of Liberty vanish, although that trick is quite easy, but you will find ways to amaze and mystify your friends and customers.
on November 14, 2014
The vanishing saltshaker, rubberband jumping, bending spoons, ring off rope and the cut rope trick appear in many magic books including a few I new as a kid but also The Complete Idiot's Guide to Street Magic and WIlson's classic course on magic. But, you can present things a different way. So, in a way, even seeing the same trick gone over 3 or more times in various texts, gives you, the performer more ideas. I like this book because there are more photos than in the Street Magic book mentioned before because, your really need this to learn the magic. So, yeah, I am glad I got this. No problem with shipper.
on December 1, 2013
Despite its unassuming name, this book contains some very strong magic. Most tricks require no or minimal slights and just ordinary things you have around the house or office. I would think even fairly accomplished magicians would find something to like in this book and for beginners its pure gold.