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Shattering Illusions Review

December 14th, 2002 6:50pm
Reviewed by Christian
I did not like this book. In my opinion this was one long rant, and not a well structured one at that. The advertisements state, "insightful and occasionally incendiary essays" however incendiary could be replaced with malicious. One gets the feeling as you read his book that there is only one standard for good and he has the monopoly on that standard.

Mr. Swiss's style is condescendingly colorful and at times mean spirited. There seems to be some contradictions or at the very least some unfinished thoughts. In one essay Mr. Swiss states that secrets are not a moral issue. Any one can own a secret and the real power is in how you wield that secret. Then later, in another essay he attacks the video magic world for putting so many secrets in the hands of the public.

At times, his essays ramble with a strong odor of self-importance as he talks of his skills and name drops for reasons not quite clear to the reader. The book also contains a large helping of creative name-calling that simply has a bad taste in my mouth.

There are some solid thought foundations in the book "Why magic sucks" and "Odometer Ethics" are two of them, but I am not sure that we need to be insulting and self-absorbed to make the point.

I think if someone wants to learn how to increase their performance skills and gain conceptual thinking in magic then read one of the following books:

Strong Magic
Our Magic
Anything by Eugene Burger
Brain Food

Save your money and purchase a book takes the high ground, this books seems to be the magical equivalent of a Howard Stern show.


Product info for Shattering Illusions

Author: Jamy Ian Swiss
Publisher: Hermetic Press
Average Rating:  (3)
Retail Price: $35.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

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?

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