5 Best Magic Books for Beginners: Revealed

Want to learn magic and need a good place to start? The best trick secrets, tutorials, and methods are in these five magic books.

5 Best Magic Books for Beginners: Revealed
Stack of Books

Everyone starts somewhere, and almost all magicians remember their first great magic book. There are thousands of magic blogs, magic shops, and magic books to dive into and learn from. But finding that book can be hard–there are literally thousands of options, and all of them promise miracles.

So, we’ve sorted through the noise to deliver five can’t-fail magic books. If you need a place to start, you can’t go wrong with any of these:

Magic: The Complete Course by Joshua Jay

This more modern book was gifted to me when I was about eight, and I read the entire thing. While there is some original material in the book, Josh mostly repackages magic classics like out of this world and ashes on the arm.

The book is conveniently categorized into card, restaurant, impromptu, office magic, and other sections, making it easy to flip through. There’s also suggested setlists at the end using the tricks in the book. If you make the effort to learn the routines, you’ll have solid material to put together a small performance. Because the book was published in 2008, it comes with a DVD rather than a download. If you have a DVD player, you’ll get to see 35+ effects both performed and taught.

Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic

This book is a classic and it always will be. While Jay’s book is great, with updated color photos and a more modern touch, almost everything there can be found, in some version, here. The Complete Course is also a fantastic use of money. The average magic book is $40-$60. It’s usually overhyped and features recycled material. But in the Complete Course, you can get 500 pages of magic for $30.

The Complete Course teaches everything from rope and apparatus magic to the legendary card in orange. It’s so easy in magic to get caught up in the latest method and gimmick, before realizing that most of what you’re looking for is in the old books. While there are no silver bullets, this book might be as close as it gets in terms of comprehensive and diverse tricks for an unbelievably reasonable price.

Card College, Volumes 1-5, by Roberto Giobbi

There is no better place to learn the fundamentals of card magic than Card College, which covers everything from how to hold a pack of cards to full-fledged routines. And, as the title indicates, the books are organized into lessons that build on each other, which makes this an excellent book to learn from. Many magic books are written with the intermediate or advanced practitioner in mind–Card College is written for the beginner and is meant to be studied and learned.

Truly studying each volume will leave you with an arsenal of card material to last years. While each book is $40, don’t worry about buying the whole set. Just work your way through each volume one at a time.

Magic for Dummies

Believe it or not, Magic for Dummies features contributions from a lot of the world’s best magicians for literally $15. It’s like a sampling platter of magic, and for the price, you really can’t go wrong. If you had to decide between Mark Wilson’s Complete Course and Magic for Dummies, we’d still recommend the Complete Course. But if you’re trying to maximize your investment because you aren’t sure about magic, this is a great place to start.

13 Steps to Mentalism by Corinda

This is slightly more advanced, but we think the importance of “beginner” magic books is, truly, to establish fundamentals. The above books are great for card magic and other tricks involving basic props, but 13 Steps goes more in-depth on tools like peeks, center tears, and mnemonics. It’s definitely closer to intermediate, as the book is old and not as accessible as the above options. However, for people trying to establish a foundation in mentalism, there is truly no better place to start. What Card College is for cards, 13 Steps is for mentalism.