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Anthony Vinson

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It has taken a while to work my way through this book, but only because it lends itself to close, careful study. I reread most of the effects several times to properly absorb every detail and nuance, sometimes shaking my head in amazement. Then, grabbing a deck and working through the tricks with cards in hand, and finally contemplating what I had just learned and discovered. Yeah, it took awhile.

Easily delivering on its promise of Sound Thinking On Mentalism With Playing Cards, the book’s foreword is penned by the inimitable Max Maven. That’s right, Max Maven. For most of you I needn't say more. But I will.

There are 17 effects with ordinary playing cards, one using a pocket-sized magic square, and one original technique. I am already performing one of the effects and it is getting great reactions. And I do mean great. We’re talking reactions along the lines of, “How the @#$% did you do that?!”   

Instructions are clear, complete, and detailed. Full scripts are provided. Most importantly, Ben – along with co-author Thomas Baxter – explains not just the what, but the why as well; the thinking behind the effects, the specific handlings, etc. This level of detail might prove off-putting or boring to some, but personally I find it fascinating.   

There are no knuckle-busting sleights. In fact, practically all of the effects are within the reach of the intermediate hobbyist, at least from a technical standpoint. And that might not be such a good thing. Why? Because all of these effects require a high degree of audience management and storytelling skills, without which the effects would fall flat.  

These are not quickies, nor are they flashy; they are 5-8 minute long theatrical performances. Some of them require procedural elements, well disguised and thoroughly justified by the scripting, that in the wrong magician’s hand might induce glassy eyes rather than wide-eyed surprise. Some of Blau’s scripts use elements of pop psychology, neurology, and even Eastern mysticism, so the mentalist will need the gravitas to pull those off. Of course one could revise the scripts, but once you take a look at them you’ll realize that they have already been written, rewritten, and revised to the point of near perfection.

Bottom line: If you like card tricks and mentalism, have intermediate card handling skills, can properly manage an audience over several minutes time, can tell a convincing story, and enjoy blowing people’s minds with cleverly constructed mental miracles, you will want a copy of this book.

I have received no compensation for this review. It is intended solely for the users of this forum.           

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Christensen

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Reply with quote  #2 
Anthony, thank you for this thoughtful review. I am only 2/3 of the way through Asymptotes, but totally agree with your comments. I can see how these effects, properly presented, could have a great effect.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hey, Christensen, thanks for the compliment - And thanks for reading the review!
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Ben Blau

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My goodness, I have only joined the forum a couple of days ago, and was completely unaware of this review! Thank you for your very, very kind comments. It warms my heart to know that this material is resonating with some of you.

-Ben
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Amazer

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Reply with quote  #5 
I'm late to this party.  Don't know how I missed it, because I do like this book.  I'm very curious though, Anthony.  

Quote:
"I am already performing one of the effects and it is getting great reactions. And I do mean great. We’re talking reactions along the lines of, “How the @#$% did you do that?!”   "


Which effect are you referring to, if you don't mind saying?

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #6 
I currently perform two effects from the book, Sort of the Truth, and Ishin-Denshin. I have The Caussand Effect marked, but haven't yet made the time to learn it. The effect I referred to in the review was probably Sort of the Truth. Ishin-Denshin is killer, too.

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Ben Blau

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Reply with quote  #7 
Here is an informal video performance of "Manhattan" that I shot yesterday.

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Zedd

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Reply with quote  #8 
I have all the works of Ben Blau and they all get my highest recommendations!! Asymptotes is (IMHO) the best book of last year!!!

Best,
Torsten
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Ben Blau

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zedd
I have all the works of Ben Blau and they all get my highest recommendations!! Asymptotes is (IMHO) the best book of last year!!!

Best,
Torsten


Do you do this one, Torsten?
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Ben Blau

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Reply with quote  #10 
My next book, “Truth Fables”, should be available about a month from now. Another hardcover mentalism book, even larger than “Asymptotes”. Lots of card material (of course), but also some routines that do not involve playing cards at all. This one is roughly 500 pages.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Blau
My next book, “Truth Fables”, should be available about a month from now. Another hardcover mentalism book, even larger than “Asymptotes”. Lots of card material (of course), but also some routines that do not involve playing cards at all. This one is roughly 500 pages.


Wow! That's a big book, Ben, and if it's packed with killer material like Asymptotes, well, sign me up! Thanks for allowing us time to start saving.

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Mbreggar

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Reply with quote  #12 
Count me in too, Ben. I love your thinking and effect construction!

.. Mike
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Ben Blau

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Reply with quote  #13 
Hi Everyone. I started offering preorders for “Truth Fables” just over a week ago. My website is stocked with copies before it hits retailers.

I grossly underestimated demand, and have sold out of my first five print runs. This occurred within a very short time span.

My next shipment of books should arrive within the next ten days or so. I’m still accepting preorders, because if you order from me directly, you’ll still have the book before the online retailers have it.

The book can currently be ordered from my website (www.benblaumentalism.com), but should also be available through online dealers worldwide very soon.

The book is hardcover with dust jacket, 500 pages, extensive foreword by Jeff McBride, and 100% mentalism. It’s a big book, and somewhat expensive. Having said that, it is WAY less expensive than some of the ridiculously priced and insubstantial mentalism pamphlets, books and PDFs that have been put out by (mostly) younger and greener mentalists over the past several years. If we increased the price compared to the cost of manufacturing Asymptotes linearly, “Truth Fables” would have a base MSRP of well over $120.00. I pleaded with my publisher and wholesaler to keep this book under $100.00. The retail price is $98.50 USD plus shipping. Still expensive, but I deliberately went out of my way to make less profit so that the book could be more accessible to more readers.

I’d love it if you would consider visiting my website for more information. If you liked my last book, I personally think this one is even better. I’m also happy to answer any questions, short of exposing methods.

Thank you for your time!

❤️

-Ben Blau
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