|13 Steps to Mentalism||The essential introduction to mentalism. If you limit yourself to one book only this should be it. It covers almost all the fundamentals of mentalism.||Check Amazon||Amazon|
|Practical Mental Magic||The second most important book on mentalism that you should read||Check Amazon||Amazon|
|Amateur magicians handbook||If you are knew to magic then i Recommend this book over all others. Read this first then read a book regarding mentalism.||Check Amazon||Amazon|
|Bob Cassidy's "Fundamentals"||The second volume of Bob Cassidys Fundementals. An absolute master class of mentalism this is his second edition.||Check Amazon||Amazon|
|What Every BODY is Saying||An Ex FBI's expert account on how to read body language. One of the best and most popular books available to unlock the hidden understanding of interpreting body language||Check Amazon||Amazon|
|Mind, myth and Magick||Pretty much the life work of T.A Waters. Again this is a really good book but the price point will turn most people off. Definitely better material for that price is available. Read more in our review below||Check Amazon||Amazon|
|Psychological Subtleties||Has been mentioned as a more modern approach. But not to my taste.||Check Amazon||Amazon|
|Magic for Dummies||You can't really go wrong with magic for dummies it's great if you are knew to Magic. Read this or Amateur Magicians Handbook if you are new to Magic||Check Amazon||Amazon|
|Bond Guide to Cold-Reading||Another cold reading technique book not quite as good as "what every body is saying" in my opinion but still very popular||Check Amazon||Amazon|
|Mentalism for Dummies||Dummies magic book dedicated to mentalism. The price point will put this out of most peoples reach and you are better off with other options to begin with.||Check Amazon||Amazon|
The best books on mentalism
SO you want to learn mentalism? Which are the best books for mentalism? Well that question isn’t so simply answered by referring a single book. Each individual is different and will have gaps in their knowledge very different from the next person. So to recommend just one book is to assume everyone is in need of the same knowledge. If you are brand new to magic and want to get started in mentalism then I wouldn’t recommend a book specifically for mentalism. I would instead insist that you read Henry Hay’s The Amateur Magician’s Handbook or Magic for dummies. This is by far the best way to get a firm grasp of the fundamentals of magic and performing as a magician. If you jump straight into learning mentalism without the fundamentals of the general principles of performing magic then you may find yourself overwhelmed. Most of these books assume you already have some background in performing magic. If however you are already familiar with performing and wouldn’t consider yourself a beginner then the following books are the ones i would recommend as essential books for mentalism.
If you already have a decent background with magic and want some books that will teach you mentalism then I recommend that you get two books the first is “13 steps to mentalism” Bob Cassidy refers to it as “This is the best most complete introduction to mentalism ever written”. The second is “Practical mental magic”. This is a pretty generic answer if you look in magic forums this is the typical answer you will find and for good reason.There are a lot of books out there that are very poor and give out generic information and are really unimpressive. Stick to books that teach the fundamentals of mentalism so you can build on them. Many of the titles mentioned below are considered essential reading by the majority of mentalists.
13 steps to mentalism
Where to begin with this book? if you ask anyone within the mentalism circles to recommend one book this will undoubtedly be mentioned time and time again. The saying “if it isn’t broke then don’t fix it springs to mind” this book has been the leading resource for learning mentalism since it was published in 1961 but it’s still as relevant today as it was back then. Originally it was written as 13 separate pamphlets each focusing on different aspects of mentalism such as mind reading, predictions, mnemonics and card tricks. Later they were compiled together into what has become the essential reading for mentalism.
Most people will read it cover to cover first then use it as a reference book. It focuses on what you might consider “inside secrets” and practical application that you can easily follow whilst performing any of the huge array of tricks and illusions it will teach you from the very simple to the very complicated. The book can be a little difficult to read as it was written in 1961 and can feel a little dated but my advice is to not give up on it and stick with it and absorb everything it has to offer. To get the most out of the book you should probably have some props at hand such as a pack of marked decks and a nail writer.
The books main criticism is that it is priced too low for all the information contained within it. Seriously that’s the main criticism other than a slightly dated writing style. Even if you just want to perform general magic without venturing into mentalism this book is frequently recommended.
This book is considered a classic. If you have any interest in mentalism Get it now
Practical Mental Magic
Written by Theo Anneman, this book and 13steps are the two solid cornerstones to mentalism this book is incredibly in-depth and Anneman’s outlook and the way he teaches mentalism is outstanding. Unfortunately he never actually saw the finished product as it was released two years after his untimely death. Don’t let the year it was published (1944) put you off. This and 13 steps are the most frequently cited books for starting mentalism. If you are knew to magic in general though you should definitely read the amateur magicians handbook first. Don’t fall into the trap of reading Practical mental magic thinking its outdated most of the routines work as well today as they did nearly 100 years ago. The book covers around 200 “mental miracles” and is 310 pages of pure excellence. It’s easily organised and very easy to reference different sections if you need to return to it. There is also a huge section dedicated to being a one many psyhic show, it shows you everything you need to know to perform excellent shows without any props at all. It teaches you many things about performing well to an audience with effective routing and how to use misdirection effectively. This is used by many mentalists as a reference book to go back to whenever you are thinking of a new trick. Buy practical mental magic from amazon
Although I find a lot of the work essential it’s a little dated Psychological Subtleties is a quite a lot newer than 13 steps and practical mental magic and might be a better choice for some. There are some nice bits and pieces in psychological subtleties. This book does get occasionally recommended to beginners and I can understand why. There is some interesting material in here such as the “nose knows”. I think there are much better sources for new mentalists. I would leave this one to later as extra reading. This book has been known as the perfect companion to practical mental magic. With practical mental magic you get the principles that have stud the test of time and with psychological subtleties you get the modern day setting. With the two you have a perfect combination. Visit amazon to see Psychological Subtleties
Mind, myth and Magick
This book gets thrown around quite a lot in forums for beginners to read and I can see why it gets recommended. I still would recommend any of the top 3 books in my list over this to a complete beginner if I had to give a Boolean decision. This book definitely does carry merit with it in the way that it gives insight into waters mind and can defiantly motivate you and give you inspiration to continue to perform. The book is an accumulation of his life in mentalism all written in chronological order. You can actually see his progression with mentalism as you read through the book and although he may not of been of the best performers around his theory was fantastic. Again one of the problems people may have is that its quite dated in one part waters elaborates on an act and how you need to dress up a monkey. Get it here at amazon
These two books are specifically aimed at improving one particular mentalism skill and that is reading body language, cold reading and detecting lies. These books are very modern which may suite some people more and they are incredibly popular not just specifically for practicing mentalists. The first book is
What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People
Cold reading is an essential skill to many mentalists. There are many ways of performing cold reading the more skills you have that can complement each other the better. Taking visual cues from involuntary body language from your mark is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. It’s well none by most people that most communication is done none verbally and body language can tell us a tremendous amount. Yet there are very few people who learn to read the subtle cues from someone else’s body language. This book gives you insight and teaches you how to speed read other peoples body language. Not only is this skill essential to most mentalists it also helps in general life.
What better way to learn than from an ex FBI agent who‘s countries security depends on his ability to read peoples true intentions. Joe Navarro is a former counter intelligence officer is a world renown expert in nonverbal behaviour. He will teach you how to read others body language and control your own. You will learn that the face is the least likely place to gauge a person’s true intentions and you are much better secretly diverting your attention to look at a person’s thumbs, feet and eyelids to get a much greater understanding of what the person is actually thinking. The book is filled with lots of anecdotes from Navarros experience as an FBI officer.
Its an amazing book and very popular and well received on amazon with 4.5 rating overall from over 636 reviews. Don’t miss this book get it at amazon.
Are books the best way to learn mentalism?
Some people do not learn well from reading. If nothing else just to try and break up the monotony and add a bit of variation whilst educating yourself get some video tutorials or DVDS. I recommend master mentalism if you haven’t already got it and any DVD’s Richard Osterlind. You can even get 13 steps to mentalism on DVD here
I would like to give a special thanks to Bob Cassidy as he has been an inspiration to the list of books here. A lot of the books made this list are here because of his recommendations in his book the fundamentals. He gives an essential overview of the best 39 books with regards to mentalism.