For $45 bucks (or $25) you get a 290 ish page incredible hardbound book (or interactive iPad book) from Jeff McBride that is full of incredible advice for all levels of magi.
The Big Picture . . .
For several years, Jeff McBride has authored a column in Magic Magazine called The Show Doctor. Simply put, it's a 1000 words or less each month giving advice and tips and ideas to magicians. It's loaded with fun medical jargon puns and terminology. "Doctor McBride" and "Nurse Abbi" don their medical gear and magic-to-medical translator in a successful effort to entertain us with clever wit while simultaneously teaching us good magic.
There are nearly 50 articles taken from the original Magic Magazine column. Additionally there are articles and follow up articles that never were printed in the magazine. Sprinkled throughout you will also find 11 "operations" (a.k.a. tricks) ranging from a fun and simple coin production to advanced stage productions, mentalism and much more.
You can get the printed book at the Theory and Art of Magic website, and you can find the digital version by downloading the free app (from the Apple App store) called "MAGIC Books." Once you've downloaded the free app, you can purchase the digital copy of the book. I highly recommend you go to the Magic Magazine page that shows the details of the iVersion. You'll get a good look at the book's contents and the concept.
That's the basics. Any questions?
So is it any good?
Well . . . let me answer that question with a big fat "DUH!!!!!!" Come on folks . . . Jeff McBride and Larry Hass. What do you think!? But just in case let me tell you this. Whenever I have a product that is really bad, I look for something nice to say just so I don't sound like a jerk. Whenever I have a product that's really good, I look for something negative, so I don't sound like I'm over hyping a product. This product falls in the latter category, and it was truly hard to find anything negative to say. The "best" I could do is tell you that I found a handful of typos and print errors, and that the Vampire effect was a little hard to follow when I read the instructions. However, bonus points for mentioning my girlfriend Buffy. :)
The only other thing that, in my opinion, really would have made the book better is if there were a glossary or table that listed the definitions of some of the stage terminology. It seemed to be taken for granted that everyone who reads the book would be familiar with the stage terminology. But that's it folks. This book is S.O.L.I.D.
There is so much great advice and material in this book, and everyone will get something different out of it. I particularly loved the "Case Studies" where at the end of an article they would look at a real-life example of a student or friend who had actually dealt with the problem in the article.
McBride has taken 45ish of the most common ailments in magic (in performance, business, pre-show, everything . . . ) and he diagnoses them and gives you a prescription to cure them. I found countless tidbits of wisdom and advice that made a huge difference in how I approach certain aspects of magic. If you don't learn something or get inspired from something in this book, you're just not trying.
The extra interviews with Larry Hass were excellent. They provided further depth and insight into the subject of the moment. All of the effects described in the book were very intricate and detailed with excellent accompanying illustrations to make things even more clear. I'm not a flower production kind of guy, but after reading McBride's handing (written by Larry Hass) it finally made sense to me how to actually perform it so that it doesn't look like you're pulling the flowers out of your sleeve.
So . . . nutshell . . . a book full of tons of killer advice along with 11 excellent tricks/effects.
Finally, there is an amazing list of books (i.e., recommended reading) peppered throughout the text plus the bibliography is 4 full pages of incredible books for the serious student.
Book vs. iPad
You can get the book in two forms. You can either get a digital "app" version of the book for the iPad for $24.95, or you can get the hard-backed printed version for $45. The hard book is beautiful and well made and is a great addition to the Stone Cold Book Shelf. However, the iPad version comes with everything I've mentioned thus far plus a ton more . . .
- Links to other article from other contributors (e.g., Eugene Burger for one)
- Links to other websites
- Bonus videos of Jeff and Larry further discussing ideas relating to various articles
- Performance footage of some of the effects taught in the book (e.g., the flower production)
- Other video footage that adds flavor and style to the book
I own both the hard copy and the digital version. More and more these days, I'm loving the portability of the ipad, but I still haven't "let go" of my paper and ink book loving self . . . so it's hard to say which one I recommend. However, considering the price of the digital version is nearly half the printed cost and you get a bunch of extra stuff . . . well . . . you decide. :)
If you're looking for some cool ideas and effects, though that's not the focus of this book, you'll find 'em here. If you're looking for advice from a true doctor of magic on how to improve just about every aspect of your "self" as a magician . . . you've come to the right place. The doctor is definitely in.
5 stars with a Stone Status of Complete and Total GEM!