Any book by Roberto Giobbi is a treat. If he had only produced the Card College series he would be assured of a place in magic history, but he has written so much more, including the “lighter” Card College series and a host of individual books on topics such as Stand Up Card Magic and the Art of Switching Decks. He is an accomplished performer, insightful theorist and superb communicator.
This book is billed as a sequel to his well received “Secret Agenda”, with 365 individual entries, one for each day of the calendar year. There is huge variation in style, content and length, with the contents including techniques, subtleties, tricks, presentations, ploys, practical advice, jokes, anecdotes, personal opinions, reviews, puzzles and (a new category for this book) presentational problems.
This is a highly personal collection of thoughts, ideas and observations. Most are fragments that invite the reader to reflect further, perhaps tiny bits of grit for potential pearls or “wrinkles” to improve performance. Some entries are not apparently about magic and reader reactions are likely to range from fascination to bemusement.
Roberto Giobbi is highly intelligent and sophisticated, and this book reflects an unending quest to understand and perfect magic performance– those who feel they are at a similar place in their magic career are likely to love this book. Those readers who are after new methods and tricks will probably feel it is mostly ephemeral and irrelevant.
I loved the book but perhaps found only half the entries resonated when I read them. However, such is the quality of the entries that I can imagine returning to the book in a year and finding that quite different pieces appeal.
Personal favourites included tips and outs for the classic force, most of the presentational ideas, several sets of quotes on diverse topics from “thinking” to “creativity” (there is a really useful index for the whole book), the “Imaginary Deck switch”, “most commercial items from Card College” and a psychological ploy for forcing one of a set. There were many others.
If you buy this book think carefully about how best to devour it. For me reading seven entries once a week feels right, allowing time to reflect or practice the two or three that intrigue me. I found reading just one a day often gave several days of relative disappointment, followed by too many good ideas at once!