USPS Priority Mail: $8.00
Overseas Air Mail: $15.00
230 pages in bibliophilic hardcover
Don't Settle for the Average!
A New Book of Challenging Thoughts about Our Magic…
Jamy Ian Swiss has long been recognized as a force to be dealt with in the world of magic. Intelligent, well-informed, thoughtful, volatile, inspiring, infuriating, articulate, skilled — these are a few of the words used to describe Swiss and his writing. When his first collection of essays on magic, Shattering Illusions, appeared, it received high praise from magicians and trade reviewers alike. This attention broke into public notice with an unprecedented and laudatory review in the Los Angeles Times. Swiss's opinions and evaluations come with the imprimatur of a successful full-time performer who is also a devoted student of the craft and history of conjuring. Among his many credits are appearances on The Today Show, CBS's 48 Hours, PBS's Nova and repeat appearances on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. His clients include Fortune 500 companies and the Smithsonian Institution. He has consulted for such talents as Penn & Teller and Marco Tempest, and has been extensively profiled in The New Yorker. His writings will frustrate those who believe magic theory spills from an ivory tower. Swiss writes from a position of long experience as a performer, and as one who is intimate with many of today's greatest professional magicians.
In Devious Standards, Mr. Swiss has gathered together some of his most recent, insightful, challenging and poignant explorations into the performance of magic and its practitioners. These essays include some of his most trenchant thinking about what constitutes a great magic performance and what hinders it. They include "The Method Is Not the Trick," "Discovering Importance," "Empathy," "A Dissertation on the Double Lift," "The JS Rules of Magic," and "The Last Layman."
Also included are recollective studies — part homage, part analysis — of four of magicís past masters: Martin Nash, Derek Dingle, Bob Read, and Billy McComb.
Devious Standards is a book written for those who aspire to better magic, and for those who love the best in magic. It maps the pathway from craft to art, for those with the courage to take it.
"Mr. Swiss is an astute observer of character, a passionate lover of good magic, and the kind of friend that good people value. … The finished book is as beautiful as it is challenging, informative, stimulating and a genuine pleasure to read."
—Eric Mead, Genii
"Calling Devious Standards a book on magical performance theory is hard, because what Jamy Ian Swiss writes in its pages are is based on real, tested, workable concepts and strategies. Great books on the subject have been written by Dariel Fitzkee, Henning Nelms, Darwin Ortiz, and Ken Weber, all of which fail to impact a performance the way Devious Standards is bound to. … The title is perfect, because if you take what Swiss lays out for you in its pages and make his suggestions standard operating procedure every time you are building a new routine or show, your magic will be better, stronger, and more enjoyable for your audiences. … Books like Devious Standards are, to coin a phrase "six month books." Every six months they are worth revisiting -- not because you've forgotten the information inside, but as a personal reminder of the things you should be doing with your magic but never quite get around to. … Whether you are a strolling performer or a stage illusionist, reading Devious Standards will help raise your magic and performance to a new level, a huge bargain at $40. Highly recommended."
—Farrell Dillon, MAGIC
I regard Swiss as a cross between Tom Bowyer, the witty, insightful but often acerbic critic in the early days of The Linking Ring, and S.H. Sharpe, the British magic essayist and polemicist. Swiss surpasses Bowyer and Sharpe, however, with the quality of his ideas, his ability as a performer and his gift as a writer. … collectors and magic historians should consider reading this work to learn about four modern masters who are no longer with us … [in] profiles and appreciations of the post-Houdini, post-Cardini, post-Vernon world of magic. They reminded me of Maurice Zolotow's profile of Cardini that appeared originally in The Saturday Evening Post. The difference is that Swiss's are more insightful because he had a better understanding of the work involved than Zolotow did of Cardini, and he knew his subjects on a more personal level.
—David Ben, Magicol
"…will set you on a road to ponder your own magic, and the way in which you perform it, and make you a better magician because of it. I highly recommend it."
—Matthew Field, The Magic Circular
Jamy Ian Swiss takes himself seriously, and I am sure he wants us to take him seriously. But for all the serious work that he put into Devious Standards, his latest book of opinion, scholarship, and reminiscences, the main thing that I take away from it is that this book is just plain fun to read. It's hard to wipe the smile off my face. … "The Last Layman" is a satire worthy of Jonathan Swift in which only one layman is left on the planet.
—Steve Bryant, Little Egypt Gazette
Jamy Ian Swiss: Live in London
Put your money where his mouth is…
…and receive an entire close-up act of extraordinary magic from a true professional's repertoire. Swiss's performances and reputation as an accomplished teacher and incisive thinker have been attested to by Penn & Teller, Lance Burton, Jeff McBride, Eugene Burger, Dai Vernon, Johnny Thompson and many others. This DVD includes his entire lecture, teaching in depth ground-breaking tricks and routines that have already been adopted by many of magic's top professionals. Included are his definitive versions of Card in Box, Card in Matchbook, Animated Finger Ring, three secret card folds and much more. Intensely powerful sleight-of-hand magic, forged in the fire of exten sive real-world performance. Expect quality.
This exciting lecture is packed with practical material from a professional's working repertoire — filled with real-life information about the performance of magic — all delivered in Jamy's powerful, entertaining, and unprecedented style!
THE KISS OF THE BIG APPLE — The last word in "card in container" routines, featuring an original element that has since been adopted and varied by countless other magicians.
WISHFUL THINKING - The ultimate Card in Matchbook. An entertaining and mystifying multi-phase closing routine straight out of a professional's act.
THE ANIMATED RING — Based on an Al Baker creation and remarkably easy to do, yet probably the most powerful invisible thread effect yet. As featured in Jon LeClair's The Art of Invisible Thread .
Among the sleights taught are three different secret card folding techniques, including Jamy's own diabolical "Under-the- Spread Fold."
This is more than a lecture — it's a carefully constructed performance, a session with an expert teacher, a riveting motivational experience. These are not merely magic lessons — these are life lessons!
293 pages in hardcover with dustjacket
(Hermetic Press, 2002)
Back in Print! Available here.
"Shattering Illusions is an important book. Buy it. Study it. Think about it. You'll be a better magician for having done so."
—Michael Close, MAGIC magazine
Twenty insightful and occasionally incendiary essays on the topics of why magicians have failed to stop the exposure of secrets to the public; why magic is held in low esteem by much of show business and the public, and what can be done about it; intellectual property rights in magic; the problems of presentation for mentalists (and one solution); should you learn magic from books or from video; how to tell a good trick from a bad one; the fallacy of "naturalness" in sleight of hand; commercialism, its benefits and pitfalls; discovering an on-stage character and a style that can lead to success--and an answer to the troubling question, Why do we do magic?
"Jamy Ian Swiss is
an esteemed colleague, a terrific performer, and someone who cares
very deeply about the art of magic…. For Mr. Swiss, complacency
is not an option…. Shattering Illusions contains no tricks, but
it contains many of the real secrets of successful magic…. Shattering
Illusions is an important book. Buy it. Study it. Think about it.
You'll be a better magician for having done so."
— Michael Close, MAGIC, November 2002
written … At their best, these essays remind us of the wonderful,
the fleeting, the transcendent feelings we've had while experiencing
the performance of a magic effect, and give us reason to pause and
reconsider our own objectives…. This is an entertaining, illuminating
and provocative collection by a man who possesses a profound affection
for magic. Every generation seems to produce a few voices that shout
from the wilderness, waking us from our complacency, pointing out
alternative paths and cajoling us to do better. Jamy Ian Swiss will
certainly be remembered as one of those voices."
— David Regal, Genii, December 2002
"I honestly don't know of a single person in magic and/or mentalism
that would not be healthier after a good dose of this book….
In one of my favorite chapters ('Mentalism Grows Up'), Mr. Swiss
writes about mentalism. But how can this be? After all, I have heard
for years that Jamy Ian Swiss despises mentalism. Well, I hate to
be the one to break it to you, but that is simply not the case.
(Although he has told me that hates bad mentalism, and who
can argue with that?) The views that he expresses are very well
thought out, and they could help raise mentalism to the level of
true artistry, but only if it divorces itself from the backroom
charlatans…. In my opinion, all of Shattering Illusions
is in the "must-read" category, but I believe that the final two
chapters are truly definitive…. People often discuss what books
they would want with them if they were stranded on a deserted island.
In the case of Shattering Illusions, I will pack two copies
in case one gets damaged."
— Rick Maue, Voices (Deceptions Unlimited), December 2002
"This is an important book, one that should be read and reread by everyone thinking him or herself a magician."
— Phil Willmarth, Linking Ring, December 2002
"Swiss is currently best known in the magic community for his 'no
hold barred' book reviews in Genii. Although there are many
who disagree with this or that comment he might make, few would
challenge his abilities as a wordsmith. His writing ability, combined
with his great passion, commitment and integrity, make for compelling
reading. This is a collection of twenty essays, most previously
published, but all updated for this collection. Although no tricks
are taught, these essays are not entirely theoretical. For example,
his 'Good Trick, Bad Trick' is a useful system for analyzing performance
material for its commercial potential. There is a history of bar
magic, tributes to Goshman, Vernon and Slydini, autobiographical
pieces and a constant grappling with ethical issues, ranging from
intellectual property to exposure to the performance of mentalism.
It is impossible to read this book without thinking, which is a
very good thing indeed."
— H&R Magic Books, December 2002
"This is a book about 'magic!' No, not tricks.
This book is REALLY ABOUT MAGIC! What it is, what it could be, used
to be, should be, will be, may never be, etc…. I can guarantee
that you can turn to almost any paragraph on any page of this book
and there is something there that will make you think about your
magic, or just magic in general. It will create a spark in your
mind that just might be the key to a better approach to your magic.
This book is REAL…. I really think that Jamy has gone far beyond
expectations with these writings. I will go so far as to put this
on my bookshelf with Fitzkee, Maskelyne & Devant, Nelms, Sharpe,
Wonder and other 'important' works. If magic is truly in your 'soul'
then this book MUST be read, not once, but many times."
— Denny Haney, Denny & Lee Magic Studio
"A must have.
End of story. Will benefit the professional and amateur alike. This
stuff like fine wine is to be sipped and appreciated. It's not for
everyone, but then again neither is magic. One of the very few books
by someone qualified to write a book, not some new jack on the block.
Jamy Ian Swiss knows what he is talking about."
— David Malek, Earth's Largest Magic Shop
"Be prepared to have your thinking on magic challenged by one of magic's finest wordsmiths and deepest thinkers. Jamy Ian Swiss is a performer, writer, lecturer and TV magician who knows a bit about magic. His reviews in Genii have truly lifted the bar when it comes to product review and his 'speak your mind with thought and justification' style has ensured readers open those pages first each month. the first essay in this book 'Why All Magic Sucks' may get your back up but calm down and re-read and you will see where he is coming from. This sensibly priced book may well become the next "Strong Magic."
— Taylor's Magic Shop, Australia
The Jamy Ian Swiss Book Reviews
Genii magazine, 1994 through 2000
The Complete eBook Collection
Published by Lybrary.com
If you're at all interested in the literature of conjuring, then you probably already know that I write book reviews for Genii magazine. In fact, I'll soon begin my ninth year of book criticism, having begun reviewing for Genii in June of 1994.
Now you can own the complete collection of these acclaimed book reviews, from 1994 through 2000, in one convenient ebook. In addition to 217 reviews, you'll receive "A Millennium of Magic Literature," a special, comprehensive feature written for the January 2001 millennium issue of Genii, as well as an introduction written expressly for this collection that will give you new insight into my approach.
This review collection comes with fully hyperlinked title-index and author-index. Whenever a reviewed book is mentioned elsewhere in the collection, you will find a convenient hyperlink to the actual review. The collection also includes publisher Lybrary.com's innovative "LybraryReader," with its built-in search engine and a text-to-speech feature that enables your computer to read the material aloud, all of which combine to produce a timeless resource for guiding your next book purchases. Whether or not you subscribed to Genii during these years, you'll love the convenience of owning the complete collection of reviews all in one place in this easily-searchable, electronic form.
—The Linking Ring
"I'm a big fan of Mr. Swiss's writings. He has
raised the quality of magic criticism to a high level. His essays
are thoughtful, erudite, and scholarly. He educates while he entertains.
Having all these reviews in an easily accessible format is invaluable.
If you have any interest in the literature of magic (or if you just
want to be a smart shopper) then The Jamy Ian Swiss Book Reviews
should be next to your computer. Buy it. Period."
— Mike Close, MAGIC magazine
Theurgical Thread II
8-1/2 X 11, plastic comb binding,
card stock covers, 27 pages
This booklet is actually both a detailed manual on invisible thread in general, covering many different types, their proper application, lighting, strength, psychology, etc., as well as a detailed instruction manual for professional presentation of a psychokinetic effect. You may have seen Jamy perform a brief segment of this on the PBS NOVA special featuring James "The Amazing" Randi. A borrowed finger ring animates and moves across an ordinary pencil, rises up the pencil, and then finally moves across the pencil while all the props are in the spectator's hand. Truly a show-stopping miracle that will leave your audience talking about it for a long time to come, it is the easiest and quite possibly strongest invisible thread effect you will ever do. This invaluable booklet is a bargain! Chapters include:
8-1/2 X 11, plastic comb binding,
card stock covers, 38 pages
Original presentations (only) and complete scripts for eight classic card routines, the technical instructions for which have appeared in other publications (complete references are provided). These presentations are not only useful, but serve as excellent examples of how to work up stories and original presentations around your own tricks. Included are new and original presentations for:
Yet Another Interesting Application of That Principle
8-1/2 X 11, plastic comb binding,
card stock covers, 44 pages
More than a set of lecture notes, a detailed booklet including 12 card and coin routines ranging from the very easy to the advanced.
8-1/2 X 11, plastic comb binding,
card stock covers, 34 pages
This lecture manuscript includes four routines, two of which have been the feature of the Jamy Ian Swiss lecture since 1987: Kiss of the Big Apple: A terrific card-in-impossible location effect. A kiss appears on a previously initialed selection, which subsequently vanishes from the deck and appears in a previously introduced covered dish, filled with chocolate kisses. This routine introduced a new addition to the Kaps Card in Container method and plot, which has since been applied by a number of magical creators, including John Bannon and others.
8-1/2 X 11, plastic comb binding,
card stock covers, 62 pages
A thought-provoking work, without any tricks. Includes:
by Pete McCabe
Pete McCabe and 26 other guys show you the art of scripting magic. Includes 45 scripts, 13 essays, 7 interviews, and 1 flowchart to make you a better magician.
Contributing magicians include: Michael Ammar, Jon Armstrong, Bruce Barnett, Rafael Benatar, Eugene Burger, Michael Close, Bob Farmer, Paul Green, Eric Henning, Guy Hollingworth, Larry Jennings, Mark Joerger, Kenton Knepper, Jonathan Levit, John Lovick, Max Maven, Eric Mead, Sean O'neill, Gary Ouellet, David Regal, Jim Steinmeyer, Vic Sussman, Jamy Ian Swiss, Teller, Joe M Turner and Larry White
Excerpt from the book:
"They did it because they believe that scripting your magic will make you a better magician. They all believe that scripting can make you more effective, more entertaining, more dramatic, and most of all, more magical."
— Pete McCabe
Unfolding the $100 Bill Change
by John Lovick
Introduction (and a routine) by Jamy Ian Swiss
Few objects that magicians conjure with stir the imagination the way proper currency does. Money never goes out of style. Imagine being able to increase a dollar's value a hundred-fold. In the 1970s, a handful of American magicians encountered an Eastern European circus performer named Vlado, who stunned them all by doing just that! Vlado never published his revolutionary bill change, but variations quickly spread throughout the world of magic. Today it is a close-up standard, known as the $100 Bill Switch.
For three decades, magicians have been exploring new and different applications of this versatile technique. Changing $1 into $100 is only one of countless possibilities. The switch can be combined with items like the mis-made bill, used for transpositions, torn and restored routines, bill to impossible location effects, and much, much more. Switch collects the best work on this subject from magicians around the world. In addition to a thorough description of the original handling, more than twenty variations are meticulously taught using hundreds of crystal-clear line drawings. Some variations use a thumbtip and others don't, some use fewer folds, and one uses no folds at all! There are instantaneous and visual transformations, multiple switches, a one-handed change, palm-up handlings, and more.
In addition, Switch contains over 60 complete routines as well as sleights, subtleties, utility moves (such as bill productions and vanishes), a definitive history of the bill switch, performance theory, presentation ideas, and several routines that don't even involve money. Plus, for the very first time, Vlado, the inventor of the $100 Bill Switch, emerges from the shadows to tell his own story in a revealing interview.
Switch is not just a book of close-up magic - a majority of these items can be performed in a cabaret or stage setting. This is probably the largest single volume in magic literature devoted to one principle. Thirty years after its remarkable arrival, Switch brings the bill change up to date and into the future!
MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING!!!
David Acer — Jon Allen — Michael Ammar
Danny Archer — Gaetan Bloom — Marc DeSouza
Dan Garrett — Bill Goldman — Dave Gripenwaldt
David Harkey — Richard Hatch — Roger Klause
Mike Kozlowski — Gary Kurtz — Bill Malone
Jay Marshall — Max Maven — Steve Mayhew
Robert E. Neale — Andrew J. Pinard — David Regal
Marvyn Roy — Richard Sanders — Jay Sankey
Jim Sisti — Jamy Ian Swiss — Vladimir Vladimirov
Michael Weber — Gregory Wilson — Scotty York
The Art of Magic
(the book) The Companion to the PBS TV Special by Carl Waldman and Joe Layden with Jamy Ian
(256 pp, 1997, PBS Books/R.R. Donnelley, General Publishing Group; 200 illustrations, many in color.)
A beautiful coffee-table style book version of the PBS documentary, The Art of Magic, with a foreword by Siegfried & Roy and a preface by Lance Burton. This extensively illustrated book offers a general overview of the history of magic as practiced by shamans, court entertainers and stage illusionists. Especially useful as a Who's Who of contemporary magicians. A companion to the three-part PBS series which debuted in February, 1998. A nice book to show to non-magician friends, and also a beautiful gift item.
Magic for Dummies
by David Pogue
The coolest magic tricks have been gathered together in one book, best-selling author David Pogue's Magic For Dummies, which is guaranteed to leave your friends, family and coworkers spellbound at your mastery of the mystical arts. Perform great magic at the drop of a hat with these tips and tricks — literally — from Pogue and 35 of America's top professional magicians, including a contribution from Jamy Ian Swiss! One of the best introductory magic books available, using simple tricks to illustrated important concepts of performance, misdirection, psychology and more. With a little practice (and some clever misdirection, which lays at the heart of all magic tricks), you'll bewitch everyone around you with card tricks, coin tricks, disappearing acts, and even mind-reading! Magic For Dummies features more than 90 deceptions, illusions, and sleights of hand for all occasions, along with photos, patter, and presentation tips for every trick in the book. A great gift for someone who is considering magic as a hobby.
Sleights of Mind
by Stephen L. Macknik
and Susana Martinez-Conde
with Sandra Blakeslee
Jamy, among other magicians, is featured in this book!
"This book doesn't just promise to change the way you think about sleight of hand and David Copperfield — it will also change the way you think about the mind."
—Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide and Proust Was A Neuroscientist
Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, the founders of the exciting new discipline of neuromagic, have convinced some of the world's greatest magicians to allow scientists to study their techniques for tricking the brain. This book is the result of the authors' yearlong, world-wide exploration of magic and how its principles apply to our behavior. Magic tricks fool us because humans have hardwired processes of attention and awareness that are hackable — a good magician uses your mind's own intrinsic properties against you in a form of mental jujitsu.
Now magic can reveal how our brains work in everyday situations. For instance, if you've ever bought an expensive item you'd sworn you'd never buy, the salesperson was probably a master at creating the "illusion of choice," a core technique of magic. The implications of neuromagic go beyond illuminating our behavior; early research points to new approaches for everything from the diagnosis of autism to marketing techniques and education. Sleights of Mind makes neuroscience fun and accessible by unveiling the key connections between magic and the mind.
About the Authors:
Stephen L. Macknik, Ph.D., is Director of the Laboratory of Behavioral Neurophysiology at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Susana Martinez-Conde, Ph.D., is Director of the Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience at BNI. Sandra Blakeslee is a regular contributor to "Science Times" at The New York Times who specializes in the brain sciences, and the author of several books.
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
by Seth Godin
Jamy is quoted in this book!
A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have been seeking out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads). It's our nature.
Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. All those blogs and social networking sites are helping existing tribes get bigger. But more important, they're enabling countless new tribes to be born — lgroups of ten or ten thousand or ten million who care about their iPhones, or a political campaign, or a new way to fight global warming.
And so the key question: Who is going to lead us?
The Web can do amazing things, but it can't provide leadership. That still has to come from individuals — lpeople just like you who have passion about something. The explosion in tribes means that anyone who wants to make a difference now has the tools at her fingertips.
If you think leadership is for other people, think again — leaders come in surprising packages. Consider Joel Spolsky and his international tribe of scary-smart software engineers. Or Gary Vaynerhuck, a wine expert with a devoted following of enthusiasts. Chris Sharma leads a tribe of rock climbers up impossible cliff faces, while Mich Mathews, a VP at Microsoft, runs her internal tribe of marketers from her cube in Seattle. All they have in common is the desire to change things, the ability to connect a tribe, and the willingness to lead.
If you ignore this opportunity, you risk turning into a "sheepwalker" — lsomeone who fights to protect the status quo at all costs, never asking if obedience is doing you (or your organization) any good. Sheepwalkers don't do very well these days.
Tribes will make you think (really think) about the opportunities in leading your fellow employees, customers, investors, believers, hobbyists, or readers.… It's not easy, but it's easier than you think.
About the Author:
Seth Godin is the author of ten international bestsellers, including the New York Times bestseller The Dip. His books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages and include Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, and Meatball Sundae. He is also the founder and CEO of Squidoo.com (a huge and fast-growing tribe) and the most popular business blogger in the world.
by Edward R. Tufte
With Visual Explanations, Edward R. Tufte adds a third volume to his indispensable series on information display. The first, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, which focuses on charts and graphs that display numerical information, virtually defined the field. The second, Envisioning Information, explores similar territory but with an emphasis on maps and cartography. Visual Explanations centers on dynamic data--information that changes over time. (Tufte has described the three books as being about, respectively, "pictures of numbers, pictures of nouns, and pictures of verbs.") The book includes a chapter, "Explaining Magic," co-authored by Jamy Ian Swiss; it is the only collaborative material in Tufte's three landmark texts on information design.
Like its predecessors, Visual Explanations is both intellectually stimulating and beautiful to behold. Tufte, a self-publisher, takes extraordinary pains with design and production. The book ranges through a variety of topics, including the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger (which could have been prevented, Tufte argues, by better information display on the part of the rocket's engineers), illustrating magic tricks, a cholera epidemic in 19th-century London, and the principle of using "the smallest effective difference" to display distinctions in data. Throughout, Tufte presents ideas with crystalline clarity and illustrates them in exquisitely rendered samples.
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
by Edward Tufte
A timeless classic in how complex information should be presented graphically. The Strunk & White of visual design. Should occupy a place of honor — within arm's reach — of everyone attempting to understand or depict numerical data graphically. The design of the book is an exemplar of the principles it espouses: elegant typography and layout, and seamless integration of lucid text and perfectly chosen graphical examples.
by Edward Tufte
A remarkable range of examples for the idea of visual thinking, with beautifully printed pages. A real treat for all who reason and learn by means of images.