What book would you recommend for a beginning magician? "Magic for Dummies" by David Pogue? "Close-up Magic" by Nicholas Einhorn? "Magic Tricks for Grownups" by Jon Tremaine? Or even "Magic: The Complete Course" by Joshua Jay?
Think back when you first learned magic. Did you really get a book first? Only a few of us have been so lucky? Before we got a book we had a trick.
In my case it was the Ball and Vase that my grandpa used to own. It was a plastic version. It was dark green and the ball was black. Like a black pearl. He used to fool the hell out of me. And one day I stole the darn thing.
So that was my serious introduction to magic. A criminal act. Next Christmas I got my first magic kit... yeah who's been naughty or nice? My first book on magic was years later. I was in third grade and my reading skill finally has come to a degree that I had fun doing the reading.
But before I read the book I had tinkered with magic stuff many times. And if I hadn't done so I probably would have had a hard time to comprehend even half of what the book was talking about. I was 8 years old. I had a hard time to differentiate between the reality the spectators where perceiving and the reality I had. And that I had to pretend to have the same sort of fake reality that my spectators had. And rather difficult concept really! Now imagine the enlightenment the following trick had on me:
A bowl of rice. You place a wooden ball on the surface of the rice. Then you lift the bowl above every ones head. And then you shook the bowl slightly. And when you brought the bowl down the ball had become golden. I knew what was going on, but realizing to pretend to be amazed myself got me a greater reaction I slowly understood the meaning of magic. Because I didn't see the ball change my reality was the same as the spectators reality. Now I only had to deny the absolute reality of it being a trick and physics and all.
That knowledge really helped me to "pretend". Now when I change the color of a ball I see it. But I can pretend not to see it. Therefore I don't send any signals of guilt or that of a different reality apart from the spectator's reality.
And that is something that those books do not teach you. At all. I made this little drawing I should have seen many, many years ago: