Calculated Thoughts

By Doug Dyment
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4.9 | 29 reviews
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Calculated Thoughts

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Calculated Thoughts - magic
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In Ken Weber's foreword to Doug Dyment's Calculated Thoughts, Weber refers to Dyment as "mentalism's best-kept secret." And you know something? He might be right. Doug Dyment spent 25 years performing mentalism across the globe, and until now his material was kept under-wraps in privately distributed manuscripts, or entirely out of print. Now, for the first time, it is all collected and described in one gorgeous volume: Calculated Thoughts is finally here.

With more than forty ready-to-perform routines, this 400-page book is brimming with creativity and performance-tested material.

In our eyes, Doug's "Quarto" is the perfect center tear. An entire chapter is dedicated to ESP cards, as well as a new, easy way to mark Bicycle cards, a memory aid that uses your feet, plus an impromptu star sign divination, drawing duplication, and other beautifully constructed mentalism pieces for both informal and formal performances. You'll even learn a method for apparently slicing your thumb open and then healing the bleeding wound. If that sort of gore isn't your thing, perhaps you'll enjoy the deep dive into Magic Squares, including what we believe is the finest handling of an impromptu magic square ever described in print.

What's refreshing about Calculated Thoughts is that it's a creator's lifework all in one place. Calculated Thoughts is the accumulation of a lifetime of mentalism secrets, sweated out through performance and refining from Doug and his illustrious coterie of high-profile mentalist friends.

“Doug Dyment is one of the deepest thinkers in mentalism and Calculated Thoughts is his Magnum Opus. The depth to which he explores each of his chosen subjects is simply breathtaking. He shines a highly perceptive light into some of the darkest corners of mentalism technique and reveals insights that will remain with the art for decades to come."Marc Paul

“For those who’ve not had the chance to enter the mind of Doug Dyment...your time has come! For those in the know, it’s time to give thanks that all his material and much more are now available in a gorgeous hardcover book. I predict this will become a neoclassic of modern mentalism.”Raj Madhok

“Now you have the opportunity to discover what, up until the publication of this book, has been one of mentalism’s best-kept secrets; you are about to dip into the vast creativity of Doug Dyment, a true “underground” genius.”Ken Weber


Foreword (Ken Weber)

Magic Squares

  • What Is It About Magic Squares, Anyway?
  • Flash Squared
  • Foundation Square
  • Square School
  • The Natal Square
  • Fair & Square

Full Deck Stacks

  • On the Ordering of Playing Card Suits
  • Hiding a Sequence in Plain Sight
  • The DAO Stack
  • The 4D Stack
  • QuickStack 3.0
  • SnapStack
  • The Q Stack
  • The Zenith Stack
  • The Chroma Stack
  • The ChroMem Stack

Card Capers

  • Menologue
  • PokerFace
  • PokerPlay
  • An Immoderate Deception
  • Major Arcanum
  • Couplet
  • Bob’s Your Uncle
  • ESPerimental


  • Introduction
  • Evolution
  • Execution
  • Consummation
  • Contribution
  • Codicil: Six Billet Layouts


  • Introduction
  • Symbols: Introduction
  • Symbols: Interpretation
  • The Circle
  • The Cross
  • The Wavy Lines
  • The Square
  • The Star
  • Transitions: Introduction
  • Transitions: Interpretation
  • A Reader Prepares 236
  • Reading Dynamics
  • An Abecedarian Adjunct
  • Coloured Symbols


  • Sign Language
  • Verbiage

Mystery Mélange

  • Penney’s From Heaven
  • Spoiled for Choice
  • FourSight
  • The Real Thing
  • The Vision

For the Toolkit

  • BikeMarks 2.0
  • Tick Tock Too
  • How to Construct a Forcing Matrix
  • Premise NV
  • Marker Cribs


  • On Performance
  • On Overthinking
  • On the Use of Props in Mentalism
  • On Extrasensory Perception
  • On Psychic Guilt
  • On Predicting the Future
  • On Learning Cold Reading
  • On The Validity of Readings
  • On Being a Perpetual Student

Borrowed Business

  • Other Minds, Other Thoughts
  • The BBB Peek
  • Design Duplicity
  • Psi Coin
  • C.C. Seer
  • Figmental
  • Bloodied

Afterword (Richard Webster)

398 pages. Hardback.

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Customer reviews for Calculated Thoughts

VI Monthly


I knew it was an excellent book when I purchased it... and I still was very positively surprised! The content of the book is extremely original and (as the title suggests) very carefully thought (you can feel the years of experience of the author behind each explanation). It might sometimes seems a little bit repetitive (especially the part on the magic square part), but besides that the content is worth ten times the price of the book! A must have!



So happy with this purchase. The book goes deep into a few topics including a calculated stack (and a convincing argument why you should adopt one), magic squares, his center tear, and ESP cards. Some of these things may not be interesting to you.

The second part of the book has some very good routines including two very solid billet routines that are worthy of being in a professional mentalist's show -- they could also be very good starter routines if this is your first time doing this sort of thing.

The star sign and word force are things that I think many folks would use. These all appear to be material that Dyment has worked on and performed for many years.

So happy to have purchased this and would recommend it to those who are interested in mentalism or the above topics.



I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in performing as a mystery entertainer. The things that caused me to buy the book (CT and card stacks) turned out to be splendidly valuable. The rest of the book is equally superb. Doug stirred me to perform walk around magic squares and reinvigorated my interest in Zener stacks. The routines provided are 100% performable as written, but they are also excellent foundations for your own work. Buy this.



I first discovered Doug Dyment when I learned his DAO Stack in "Tricyclic". "Calculated Thoughts" is a collection of his published pieces and so much more. As a former educator, I used magic squares when I talked about the magic of mathematics. I learned so much from his thoughts in his section about them. I am so glad I added this book to my library.



In the Insider podcast by Doug Dyment, he likens the structure of his book to Unreal by Bruce Bernstein. Both are amazing neo-classics on mentalism. Doug's analytical and erudite thinking carries over to the book in it's systemtic nature. The gems are in Doug's meticuluous overview and new additions to the methods of classic mentalism plots. I don't think a beginner would benefit from this book as much as someone who has the foundations of mentalism down ex. Annemann's/ Corinda's PLOTS of mentalism. However, the book gives updated contemporary methods to bring those effects to 21st century and next level. To demonstrate how thorough the tools offered are here is one example. This book contains the final work on R2D2 called Quatro which is brilliant and the best real time CT; (even if I'll be sticking with Acidus Novus). But even in this section, Doug goes over the apocryphic history of CT's to different types and then follows it up with his 21 requirements for a solid CT. Here I wish the book had a video supplement to demonstrate the steps in clearer detail despite the sufficient illustrations.

TL:DR: A neo classic book on mentalism tools for the intermediate/advanced mentalist already familiar with the basic plots and methods of mentalism. A very erudite and systematic breakdown of the tools and great essays and contributions from other mentalists for how to effectively use the tools. In his section of stacks, he goes over the different systems of stacks and pros and cons before offering his insights. Same for the other sections. There's a a section for every mentalist to delve into for study.



Now this is an interesting book. It's definitely written for the thinker and curios type. The expose on the magic is square is super fascinating. I have not read much about it in the past and never gave it much thought but this book just opened a new world. The explanations around the different types of stacks are very informative and comparing the different stacking methods pros and cons are very insightful. This is not your normal magic book it's for magicians that really want to know at a deeper level. I love this book. The production values are excellent.



There is something both reassuring and rather intimidating about reading a book filled with so much accumulated knowledge, wisdom and great routines.

Oh yes, and erudition.

I haven't finished the book, but already am mightily impressed with Doug's thinking and work on magic squares. And I've dipped into other sections and been equally blown away by the level of detailed thinking.

One tip. Read Figmental. Then perform it.



There is gold on almost every page of this book. I learned to do multiple deck stacks, a magic square which will fool other magicians, and much much more. Great mentalism explained so well, I can’t give a higher recommendation. A+

VI Monthly


It's a thinking man's book, in my opinion. Yes, you get tricks. But you also get a look at how the author thinks. Some of the ideas on the Magic Square were so interesting...and practical.

His take on crib sheets, while not surprising to me, were full of the practical points you need to really use the idea. I like that. When I'm told an idea or principle, I want to know EXACTLY how to do it the right way. And he does that.

The only thing I didn't like is the section on cold readings, but that's only because I'll NEVER do them. But I'm still willing the bet the information is completely accurate.

Great book that I'll be re-reading for years to come.



If you are into mentalism - or even better, you feel comfortable with Math and Calculus, this book is for you. Dyment's compilation of tricks and manoeuvres are top of the line for every mentalist entertainer!



If there was an opportunity to offer a "Superior" rating for Doug Dyment's Calculated Thoughts, that is the rating that I'd give it! This is by far one of the best magic purchases that I've made in 48 years of practicing magic. Having limited exposure to Number Squares, Dyment's work and thinking about them offers a Master Class. The extensive reflections on a "Full Deck Stack" were something that I applied immediately. I am now using and performing an effect that demonstrates and differentiates the difference between clairvoyance and telepathy inspired by his work. Thank you, Doug! This routine, in and of itself, far outweighs the cost of the book. Thank you so much for sharing your wealth of very practical, applicable knowledge with us!


Jose Antonio

Amazing book! A lot of interesting tricks and essays. I love the magic square section, Doug teaches you how to create an amazing magic square easy to learn. Stacks, quarto center tear, ESP, Full of gems you would love. One of my favourite magic books and the best magic book of this year without a doubt.



In a quest to learn more about the world of illusion, mentalism etc. I have been searching for the kind of book that would give me a "deep dive" into the subject in a way that it can take me from an interested novice through to a deeper understanding that might well help me with my card designs and ultimately in designing effects and illusions which I am hoping to achieve.
An easy to follow guide that provides the depth of understanding that i'd never consider being able to achieve as I have no plans to become a performer. I would heartily recommend this fabulous resource as a constant source of reference and not just another title to sit on the shelf in the background of an instagram image or video.
For my work, the depth of information relating to the range of effects being discussed has generated huge amounts of clues, ideas and reasons for my own designs. In that regard, this book is priceless. Highly recommended.



Calculated Thoughts by Doug Dyment is a deep dive into a variety of excellent mentalism effects and theories. While several of the broad topics did not interest me, the section on magic squares is intriguing and practical in the real world. The Natal Square is my highlight, allowing a magic square to be personalized based upon any spectator’s birthday. Can become a memorable give away. Book is well written with clear diagrams to support the text. There are also several thoughtful essays.



As suggested in another review (thank you Joe), and as I am a collector of methods, a phrase i've now adopted, my reason for purchasing this amazing tome was to learn more about marking systems for playing cards, that's all.
Boy was I susprised when I unsealed the book and sat down with a coffee and phone turned off to learn something new. This is such a well written work that I strayed well beyond the marking section and found myself wanting to absorb everything that I can gleen from its pages.
I would recommend that anyone with even a vague interest of any of the areas that this book covers should buy one now, before they sell out. Not doing so would be to miss a golden opportunity. Highly recommended for all.



This is the kind of mentalism that I like. Minimal and powerful.

Magic Square material = brilliant
DAO stack = brilliant
Quarto billet tear = brilliant

And loads of great presentation ideas.

Also, the books lies flat without having to hold it. I love this.



I'm new to magic and finding "my place". Although some of the concepts here are not "for beginners", per se, I'm finding the material both fascinating and accessible. The psychological concepts to consider and explore while trying out these effects and routines provide a much deeper dive than "here's a trick and how to do it". For me, this is like studying the ACAAN concepts of DD instead of learning a card trick. It's a way of thinking about approaches and using the simple and concrete methods to instill a sense of wonder into those around you. I've had the book for a few months and was skipping around looking for a "trick" to do. This is wrong. I re-started at the beginning and just started reading, with a notebook nearby. I can honestly say that as someone who has been struggling to find an area of magic that truly fits my interests and personality, this book has changed my entire approach.

And as with all the books I have from V, Inc. the product itself is beautifully created and something I'm proud to own.



This book is so good! The routines, theories, the writing style, everything are great!

Doug will cover every little details that you need to know and he will not only provide his solution, but also recommend different sources that you can look for. I saw many online reviews said the book is written like a textbook. Yes indeed! However, if you are into mentalism, this will be the most interesting textbook you will ever read in your life! I find this type of writing style and structure suits me the best.

My favorite parts of the book are: magic square, different stacks, ESP readings, Penny's From Heaven, The Real Thing, Psi Coin and more... There are simply too much great materials to learn from. He even share a tool that could be use to make rough and smooth without any spray (I accidentally found it while reading quick stack 3.0).

Doug loves approaching mentalism with impromptu setting, thus many of the routines CAN be done with very limited (or no) set up. This sometimes mean memorization or some sleights, but they are all manageable if you practice.

Doug is now my favorite magic/mentalism author. Love this wonderful book!



One of the best things about practicing this Art we called Mentalism is the wonderful people we get to share our passion with. People from all walks of life who enrich our lives by sharing their experiences and thoughts. People who bring out the best in us and inspire us to become the best performers we can become; Doug Dyment is one of those people.

“Calculated Thoughts” is a hefty tome. Coming in at just shy of 400 pages, there is no fluff, no filler, every page is solid, covering a vast swathe of Mentalism routines with the level of detail and insight Doug is renowned for. It’s an encyclopedia of knowledge and wisdom garnered from decades of performance that I’ll keep coming back to when I need that little bit of extra inspiration.



Wow. This book has such a wide range of mentalism tools, ideas, and practical routines.
The chapter on magic squares is great for ideas on how to make the magic square practical in performance.
The chapters on ‘stacks’ and ‘mem decks’ is incredibly detailed and has a range of stacks that can be learnt very easily!

Must have book for any mentalist.



This is so far my favorite mentalism book I've read this year!! Although I don't personally perform magic square effects, if you do, the methods in this text is fanatastic. It also has one of the most reliable center tear ever that Mr. Dyment teaches. However, my favorite part of the text were the teachings on stacks and cold reading. He teaches various stacks, which all have it's strengths such as determining the card from looking at the card above or below, but with much less memory work and chaotic looking stack. Great book!!

VI Monthly


This is a GREAT book. Not just because of the effects, which are good. Much better, however, is the thinking behind each effect (and even the use of the word effect). The first part of the book is about the "Magic Square." I've experimented with other options that suggested that there were much easier ways. I'm much more concerned with how this memory lasts with the spectator. I believe that Dyment's method while harder, but is also much, much better.
There are also thinking articles as well as effect descriptions. Here you will find chapters with titles like: On Overthinking; On Psychic Guilt, and others.
This is a window into a man who is an incredible genius in the realm of effect and method.
I don't know what else to say beyond, "push order now" button. This may be the book of 2021. Don't let it sell out, get it now.



I have almost all of Doug's previously published books, but the prospect that this new one might have 1/3rd new material plus many tweaks to older stuff was too hard to resist. Boy, am I glad I got his terrific, well written tome! Thanks, Doug for publishing it and thanks to Vanishing for printing it. --Bob Killian

VI Monthly


In my top 5 favourite books.



Imagine a book for mystery entertainers written for adults by an adult. A book that has no hyperbolic descriptions, but rather takes as honest, academic, and fully annotated approach toward explaining and improving the art form. This is the book that evolves from and advances "13 Steps". A must purchase for anyone who wants to truly understand what mentalism is and can be.



This is easily one of the best books Vanishing Inc has put out. This book is full of phenomenal material and insights - If you have an interest in Zener cards, this book is gold. - In fact, it's such a good book, please don't buy it so only a few of us can keep it to ourselves



Wow, talk about a deep dive into mentalism methods.

Everything from Magic Squares, to Readings, to deck stacks, to secret markings, to billet tears.

If you're simply a collector of methods you will find an embarrassment of riches here. If you are a working pro doing magic, mentalism, or both, you will find high level professional secrets to add to your repertoire and to make you stand out from the competition.

If magic squares aren't your thing, this chapter might not change your mind, but it will at least give you a deep dive into the methods that is currently unmatched in the literature.


Laura Bautista

There is no doubt that this is a great book. One of those volumes that are part of any magician's reference shelf. It is true that it is very dense and certainly not very suitable for beginners or magicians with little experience in magic. There is a lot of mathematics involved within its pages and it will not be easy to assimilate, but I am sure that once you do, it will be worth it.



It is difficult to imagine the Magic Square and a wonderful way of stacking a deck (I learned the system in less than an hour) could ever be bettered. No agonizing memory work; one card "tells" you the card above and below it. Brilliant.

Be aware, tho. Stuffed with mathematics, charts and schemata, you may not need a degree in math, but it sure would help. And, in my opinion, waaaaay too much space is taken up with fake tricks for the would be psychic. Why anyone one would choose to lie to someone vulnerable, is beyond me. Tacky., tacky, tacky. It used to be said that "psychic" work is the dirty side of magic. No argument from me.

With that minor caveat, this is a book for your shelf.


Community questions about Calculated Thoughts

Have a question about this product? It's possible others do too. Ask here and other Vanishing Inc. Magic customers will be able to respond with assistance! Alternatively, email us and we can help too.

  • Lucia asks: Does the book contain new material, or it’s a complete collection of Dyment’s booklets?

    • 1. Craig answers: from the author "approximately two-thirds of Calculated Thoughts is comprised of (almost) every item from my eight previously-published books, updated and expanded for this new publication. The remaining third consists of previously unpublished material."
    Post an answer to this question
  • Maksymilian asks: Is this book for beginners?

    • 1. Brian answers: Yes and no. Material was aimed for experienced performers but much of the material can be easy to do. It’s worth getting and reading through it. I think it would be worth it to try it out! The DAO stack is easy. It’s a killer stack.
    Post an answer to this question
  • Daniel asks: Is this book aimed more towards Stage Mentalism or Close Up?

    • 1. Brian answers: There is material for both categories.
    Post an answer to this question
  • Hilal asks: What's with all the mathematical equations in the trailer video?

    • 1. Craig answers: I suspect the title of the book is a clue.
    Post an answer to this question
  • Michael asks: Does QUARTO follow Doug's twenty billet-tear evaluation criteria, just like his previous release "R2-D2" did?

    • 1. Doug Dyment (creator) responds: It does: it's actually a more highly refined/optimized version of one of the (eight) R2-D2 tears, the one towards which most practitioners have gravitated. The original R2-D2 book remains in print, though, for the researcher who absolutely must know the other seven.
    • 2. Doug Dyment (creator) responds: I would hold off on purchasing R2-D2. I expect that "Quarto" in the new book will satisfy your needs. Most of what's in the R2-D2 book is also in the new one (and more). You can always change your mind later if you feel the need for exhaustive research on the other seven variants.
    • 1. Doug Dyment (creator) responds: It does: it's actually a more highly refined/optimized version of one of the (eight) R2-D2 tears, the one towards which most practitioners have gravitated. The original R2-D2 book remains in print, though, for the researcher who absolutely must know the other seven.
    • 3. Michael answers: Thanks ever so much for your swift response, Doug. Most appreciated. Since I'm a huge fan of the thinking behind R2-D2 (which shamefully I don't own so far, but only read about on its product page), I guess I'm just going to order both Calculated Thoughts and R2-D2 :)
  • Kurtis asks: Hi What can I except to learn from this book ?is there any where I can watch some of the effect ? Thanks

    • 1. Jay answers: You can expect to learn a TON of stuff. You can easily figure out what you'll learn from looking over the table of contents and looking at different reviews online. However, I don't think you'll find any videos of any of the effects, at least none by Mr. Dyment. I had the opportunity to correspond with him about a different topic, and he told me this: "I'm not a fan of performing an effect as a teaching tool: I think it leads to copycat performances. I would rather readers imagine the routine in their own minds, and perform it as befits their character and inclination, rather than start by seeing how someone else does it." While I admit that I also sometimes like to see videos of performances, I think Doug is onto something here. The book is fantastic, and by studying and trying to do the routines your way, not just copying the way Doug would do it, I suspect you'll gain a great deal. And, if I'm wrong, VI always has that money back guarantee you can take advantage of. However, I can't imagine anyone interested in mentalism wanting to part with this incredible book.
    Post an answer to this question
  • Matthew asks: With the title and first chapter on magic squares (which I have a deep aversion to) I just wondered if the the book is heavy on the maths?

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: No, it's not. But, as ever, we offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. So if you're not happy - for any reason - you can return the book and we'll refund you or give you credit.
  • Jamie asks: When will this item be back in stock?

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: We are expecting to receive it back within the next month
  • Wayne asks: I am a big fan of Doug’s Genius and work but… Will the book teach how I can pack 2 weeks worth of stuff in a carry on bag? Now that’d be a good trick. ;-)

    • 1. Doug Dyment (creator) responds: Turns out that one can only pack so much into a book. For the rest, visit :)
  • thomas asks: Hello, Can you tell me if the content in this book differs from that of the Corinda book 13 steps? I'm wondering if it shares some of the same tricks? Thank you!

    • 1. Jan-Erik answers: This is a different book, by a different author. There is no duplication that I know of.
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