Maxims of a Magician is the second book by Richy Roy that we have reviewed here. You can read our review of The Wealthy Magician here.
The Wealthy Magician was a very applied book – looking at the business side of marketing and sales and value for a magician. Maxims of a Magician is a very different kind of book. As its name implies it is full of short ‘maxims’ followed by a brief (paragraph) unpackings of the same. There are 116 maxims in all.
It is a very difficult book to review because of its format and content. Some of the maxims seem to obvious that they hardly need stating (e.g. “Every Magician will have bad shows”!) – yet at the same time there is something liberating in having the truth of such statements ‘confirmed’ in print.
There are maxims and there are maxims…
For every ‘state the obvious’ maxim there are plenty more that are more thought-provoking or profound. For my money, some of the maxims about relating to other magicians are well worth taking on board, and some of the maxims about the life of a magician beyond the stage are also worth reflecting on.
There are some maxims which seem a little repetitious. And, if I am completely honest, there are some which seem a little vague. There is a Yoda-like form to some of the sayings which is not always clarified in the explanatory paragraphs – sometimes it feels like terms are not clearly enough defined. This may be a deliberate strategy to encourage the reader to reflect further on the matter themselves, but I found myself a little confused at times.
For me, one of the overriding values of the book is the way it gently encourages you to keep improving and growing and reflecting on what you are doing. So many new/inexperienced magicians are happy simply to trot out the same old stuff as everyone else, but I think Maxims of a Magician encourages you to reflect more deeply on what you are doing and why you are doing it. Regular readers will know that this is an aspect of our art that I value deeply and so I applaud the sub-text behind many of these maxims.
For a magic book lover, there is also a list of 56 recommended magic books at the back (of which I have a slightly disappointing 28!). There are some good suggestions here – though the order seems entirely random.
This is the sort of book that I think is well worth reading for a beginner or even a slightly more experienced magician – and probably worth coming back to every year or two. It is nicely produced as a small perfect-bound paperback running to 148 pages. At this size it feels just a little-overpriced to me.
You can pick up Maxims of a Magician for £21.99 from our friends at MagicShop.co.uk.
(Or just a notch cheaper at Amazon – if you don’t want to support a real bricks and mortar magic shop!)
I’m grateful to Richy Roy for providing a review copy of this book.
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