The Secret Art of Magic is comprised of two sections, essentially two books: Street Magic & The Art of War and The Secret Art of Dispersion. Separate, yet inextricably linked by the paradigm of ancient war strategy.
Street Magic & The Art of War uses strategies from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to teach the intricacies of street magic, from trick selection, to the pitch, to stopping people, to handling hecklers, to building a crowd, to collecting the hat. Its most profound lessons, however, deal with controlling yourself and your audience, the most critical thing for all performers.
Though Street Magic and The Art of War is already being called “THE textbook” for street magic, ultimately the most important and largest section of the book is The Secret Art of Dispersion. It provides a framework to understand, assimilate, and implement deception as never before.
Using an ancient Chinese manuscript of 36 strategies for deception in warfare, The Secret Art of Dispersion teaches a new and expanded approach to misdirection—dispersion. Based on the military concept of dispersing concentration, it not only encompasses the concept of directing/misdirecting attention, but unifies all the ways magicians control their audience’s awareness. Not just of what they see, but of what they think about (and conversely, and perhaps more importantly, what they don’t think about). While misdirection is usually thought of as a tool just for sleight of hand or manipulation, The Secret Art of Dispersion uses a plethora of examples to show the applications of dispersion with apparatus, illusions, stand-up, doves, mentalism, and children’s magic as well.
“The Secret Art of Magic is a remarkable book. … Highly recommended.”
“This book will make you a warrior of enchantment. Using and fully explaining the time-tested strategies and tactics of war, its goals however are those of a lover: to seduce, charm, and satisfy audiences. This is the aim of all performance, especially when done alfresco, in the raw, in the trenches. Highly recommended.”
“It was more than a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to study and reflect on the inspired teachings within The Secret Art of Magic. This work should be required reading for all dedicated and aspiring students of our Art.”
“Beg, plead, or borrow but get your hands on this astonishing book.”
“This is as fascinating and thought provoking a magic book as I’ve read in many a moon. I’d recommend it to anyone searching for a new and utterly different way to think about their act.”
“Who could have guessed that two “good ol’ boys” from Texas would unlock the real secrets of magic by deciphering a 2,400 year old Chinese manuscript on warfare? The fact that both are international award winning magicians makes this no less astonishing an accomplishment. This is a thought-provoking, insightful, and important work. Ignore it at your own peril.”
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