The best books to learn magic

Why am I passionate about this?

Magic hooked me at the age of eight and never let go. I began with a Mysto Magic Set, graduated to books and more books, joined magic societies, and studied with a true master, Tony Slydini, and finally began writing books about magic and magic lore (The Secrets of Alkazar, The Sorcerer’s Companion—A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter). What keeps my interest alive is the astonishing flow of invention that daily bubbles out of the magic community. And lucky me, I perform weekly at a fabulous little venue in the town where I live. This is a great time to learn and perform magic.


I wrote...

Grandpa Magic: 116 Easy Tricks, Amazing Brainteasers, and Simple Stunts to Wow the Grandkids

By Allan Zola Kronzek,

Book cover of Grandpa Magic: 116 Easy Tricks, Amazing Brainteasers, and Simple Stunts to Wow the Grandkids

What is my book about?

No need to be a professional magician to wow your grandkids with something decidedly non-digital and totally unforgettable. Here are 116 easy-to-learn, easy-to-perform tricks, illusions, and brainteasers guaranteed to engage kids of every age—the little ones who will greet your “abracadabra” with jaw-dropping amazement, and the older one who will hound you to reveal how you did it (and bond with you even more when you teach them). All illustrated with such step-by-step clarity that even the purest novice will know what to do.  

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Houdini on Magic

Allan Zola Kronzek Why did I love this book?

This is the first book I responded to in a big way when I was fourteen.

It had everything: close-up tricks, illusion secrets, magic history, an exposé of phony mediums and spiritualists, how to escape from ropes and boxes, pick locks, read minds, and walk through a brick wall.

And most important, it also had a hero I could identify with – Houdini, master magician, escapologist, daredevil, pilot, author, historian, and champion of truth and justice. And he was Jewish, like me.

I found the book incredibly rich on many levels. It confirmed in me that I wanted to be a magician and that magic was wonderful.  

By Walter B. Gibson, Morris N. Young,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Houdini on Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This early work by Walter B. Gibson and Morris N. Young was originally published in the early 20th century and we are now republishing it. 'Houdini on Magic' contains a wealth of information on Houdini's approach to magic and the various tricks he performed in front of stunned crowds.


Book cover of Learn Magic

Allan Zola Kronzek Why did I love this book?

This is another important resource from my teenage years.

Henry Hay was the closest thing I had to a mentor. He had very good advice, a sense of humor, an encouraging attitude, patience, and an understanding of how to relate to an audience.

This is where I learned the basic repertoire of magic effects that were the features of my magic shows for many years. Some tricks may seem outdated, but the advice is golden.   

By Henry Hay, Hans Jelinek (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Learn Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Card tricks, silks, sleights of hand, coin manipulations, escapes, more — all with a minimum amount of equipment. 92 illustrations.


Book cover of More Self-working Cards Tricks: 88 Foolproof Card Miracles for the Amateur Magician

Allan Zola Kronzek Why did I love this book?

My first love in magic is card magic. 

With nothing more than 52 rectangular pieces of cardboard you can delight, amaze, astound, puzzle, and thoroughly enchant folks of all ages. This book is high on my list because it requires no sleight-of-hand skills (which take dedicated practice), which means the eager student can start performing serious mysteries from the get-go.

The very first trick in the book is a gem that will perplex any intelligent observer.  

By Karl Fulves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked More Self-working Cards Tricks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Card magic has captivated man for many centuries. Today, it remains the most popular area of legerdemain, accounting for half of all tricks performed by magicians.
Now Karl Fulves, noted writer in the field of magic, has compiled a new treasury of foolproof card tricks, the definitive sequel to his popular Self-Working Card Tricks. This book contains a wealth of new material — captivating and baffling card wizardry that will amaze your audience and astonish even accomplished magicians.
Fulves shows you how to perform such classic card maneuvers as Miraskil, The Open Prediction, Flip Top and The Jaks Two-Deck Trick.…


Book cover of Now You See It, Now You Don't! Lessons in Sleight of Hand

Allan Zola Kronzek Why did I love this book?

For anyone wishing to learn sleight of hand, this is the place to begin.

What makes the book so good are the more than 1500 illustrations combined with carefully written text. The book is loaded with more performance material than you’ll ever use, but so what?

The variety of magic taught is astonishing.  Bill—a noted sculptor as well as a magician—became a dear friend long after he had written this book. 

My wife and I once went to a magic convention with Bill and his wife Yvonne. The moment we walked into the main hall, he was surrounded by adoring fans who recognized him from his goatee and turtleneck and had grown up with his book by their bedside.    

By Bill Tarr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Now You See It, Now You Don't! Lessons in Sleight of Hand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new and simple learn-by-picture method that makes it easy for anyone aged twelve and up to perform all the classic sleights just as they are done by the world's greatest professional magicians. Long-time magician Bill Tarr has teamed up with Barry Ross, an illustrator famous for his instructional sports diagrams, for easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, so that with the help of more than 1,500 line drawings that capture each eye-fooling movement, you'll learn everything from simple sleights you can master in minutes to the great classics of magic. With ordinary objects -- a regular deck of cards, a coin from…


Book cover of Card College, Vol. 1: A Complete Course in Sleight-of-Hand Card Magic

Allan Zola Kronzek Why did I love this book?

The first of five volumes, Card College Vol. 1, introduces the serious student to the essentials of artistic card magic utilizing sleight of hand. Much of the material requires diligent practice, often for years, but what a payoff when you master it! 

All the latest techniques of card magic are here, accompanied by clear illustrations, a superb selection of tricks, and insightful essays on the psychology and presentation of magic. 

Giobbi is an excellent teacher and I return to these books often. It will be a long while before anything replaces this series. 

By Roberto Giobbi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Card College, Vol. 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Roberto Giobbi


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Alpha Max

By Mark A. Rayner,

Book cover of Alpha Max

Mark A. Rayner Author Of Alpha Max

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Human shaped Pirate hearted Storytelling addict Creatively inclined

Mark's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Maximilian Tundra is about to have an existential crisis of cosmic proportions.

When a physical duplicate of him appears in his living room, wearing a tight-fitting silver lamé unitard and speaking with an English accent, Max knows something bad is about to happen. Bad doesn’t cover it. Max discovers he’s the only human being who can prevent the end of the world, and not just on his planet! In the multiverse, infinite Earths will be destroyed.

Alpha Max

By Mark A. Rayner,

What is this book about?

★★★★★ "Funny, yet deep, this is definitely worth venturing into the multiverse for."

Amazing Stories says: "Snarky as Pratchet, insightful as Stephenson, as full of scathing social commentary as Swift or Voltaire, and weirdly reminiscent of LeGuin, Alpha Max is the only multiverse novel you need this month, or maybe ever."

Maximilian Tundra is about to have an existential crisis of cosmic proportions.

When a physical duplicate of him appears in his living room, wearing a tight-fitting silver lamé unitard and speaking with an English accent, Max knows something bad is about to happen. Bad doesn’t cover it. Max discovers…


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