My Favorite Magic Books: Jason Ladanye

By Alex Robertson - Thursday, May 6, 2021

We asked some of the greatest magicians we know to share with us their favorite Magic Books. This week is the turn of Jason Ladanye. You may know him from his own best selling books "Game Changer", or "Confident Deceptions", Over to Jason:


Out of the 1200 card magic books I own, I believe it’s impossible to narrow it down to my top three. So, here are a number of books I believe are a must-have for any serious student of card magic.

Darwin Ortiz is my mentor and I highly recommend all of his books. What’s unique about Darwin’s books is that all of the material has been audience tested for years. The effects are polished and ready to perform. However, note that some of his effects can take years to master. So, I recommended getting all of his books, learning what you can, and keep coming back to them over the years as you improve your skill set. (His card magic books are: Cardshark, The Annotated Erdnase, Scams and Fantasies, Lessons in Card Mastery, Darwin Ortiz at the Card Table.) Note: These books can be hard to find and can be quite pricey. I still feel they’re worth every penny. I made a career out of the material inside.

Another thing that’s great about Darwin’s books is the solid theory behind each effect. Every trick has a premise or narrative that makes sense. The effects have dramatic structure to help get your audience excited about card magic. So, you can perform the material and trust it’ll play big. Another two books to consider buying are Designing Miracles and Strong Magic. These books will help you explain how to get your magic to reach your audience in the best way possible.

Another book that I consider a must-have is Expert at the Card Table by S.W. Erdnase. It’s a fascinating read. He was so far ahead of his time with his technique and thinking. This book is by no means an easy read. But I recommend it highly as it’s the foundation for everything related to card cheating. In this book there are fantastic write-ups of shifts, palming cards, false deals, and running up poker hands. Written in 1902, some of the techniques in this book are still the best methods today.

As a card magician, your card library must include Giobbi’s Card College series. With this set, you have access to crystal clear write-ups of just about every card sleight there is. So, as you’re reading another book you may stumble across some sleight you’ve never heard of. Now you can look it up in a matter of minutes. Also, there are some great effects hidden in this series as well. In both of my books, Confident Deceptions and Game Changer, I reference these books over and over.

Finally, I want to mention a few other titles. The Stars of Magic, Expert Card Technique, The Card Magic of LePaul, and Royal Road to Card Magic should be considered required reading to help you build a solid foundation for your card work.

Some of you may already own these books. So, I just want to remind you to reread these books from time to time. Over the years, we learn more things and our magic tastes can change. You’ll find when you revisit a book there are tons of effects and ideas that you may have missed the first time through. Or, you may see an effect you dismissed last time but now you see great potential. All of the books I mentioned in this essay are classics for a reason. Buy them and you won’t regret it. (And yes—I’m aware I mentioned my own books!)

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