Filled with tried and tested knowledge, wonderful tricks and expert words of wisdom, mentalism books are one of the very best ways to learn about the magical art.
From simple tricks to deeper techniques, psychology, body language and more, they cover all sorts of mentalism topics that you should absolutely know about and always in an enriching and entertaining way that shows off the author’s unique personality.
Although there are many of them to choose from, some are considered by the community to be essential and today we’re going to take a look at them.
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These are the top 11 mentalism books, in my opinion, that every aspiring or expert mentalist should strive to have in their bookshelf.
An absolute classic and easily one of the most popular mentalism books ever written, 13 Steps to Mentalism remains an excellent source of information to this day and an essential read for any aspiring mentalist.
While some of its references are outdated, which is completely understandable considering its release date of 1958, it is nevertheless a brilliant piece of magic literature that’s deeply comprehensive and ridiculously useful. Corinda’s witty and charming writing skills make it a joy to read as well. Highly recommended for both beginners and experts.
Author: Derren Brown
For the first time ever, he exposes his own methods and reveals a lot of the secrets behind his masterful performances and tricks. It’s impossible to put down just due to how much superb information you get and how good it is. Unlike many other books, this one delves into the psychology aspect of Mentalism which is an absolutely crucial part of the art that not many authors thoroughly explain. From facial cues to body language, from hypnosis to suggestion and misdirection, this book has it all.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything and if you haven’t read it yet, do yourself a favor and get it!
Author: Derren Brown
While this isn’t really a guide or tutorial for tricks, it’s a fun and deeply interesting look into the life of a mentalist. Written by the popular mentalist Derren Brown, this book is a joyride from start to finish, making you laugh and learn all the way through.
You get a slice of his life, a backstage look into his performances and even into his mind, giving you a great deal of inspiration and interest in the art. The witty attitude, expert guidance and cheerful outlook also add to the book’s quality. Like watching a weirdly entertaining movie about mentalism, Confessions of a Conjuror is a whole lot of fun.
Author: Ehu Segev
A popular bestseller, Ehud Segev’s book is a fantastic introduction for beginners that want to take a look into the psychology, influence and manipulation aspect of mentalism without going too deep into it.
It’s a breeze to read and the 9 steps exposed inside are all useful not only for magic performances but for your personal and professional life as well.
Simple but effective, this is a great read for casuals.
Author: Derren Brown
A vintage piece of literature and more of a look into general magic and not just mentalism itself, Pure Effect gives you not only insight and guides into a few excellent tricks and performances but also a lot of food for thought and some incredibly inspirational pieces.
It’s written in the author’s trademark flowery styled prose which makes it a pleasure to read and the concepts and ideas that he shares are even more valuable than the tricks he reveals. It’s very hard to find in print but it’s worth a read be it in physical or digital form.
Author: Theodore Annemann
Showcasing impressive tricks in a visual, easy to learn way, Practical Mental Magic has become a popular read since its 1983 debut. For aspiring mentalists that want a focused and effective look into what the art has to offer in terms of tricks and performances, this is a great and very entertaining choice that encompasses 12 categories of routines – all of which are deeply interesting.
Although expert mentalists can learn from it, its step by step format, clear style of writing and visual illustrations make it a fantastic read for beginners that want to build a solid foundation on mentalism. It’s also a true literary classic of the art so having it on your bookshelf, displaying its instantly recognizable cover, is reason enough to get it!
Author: Jon Thompson
From the invaluable statistical information that makes his unmissable forces so darn effective to how to apply them and prime a participant to ensure that you get perfect results, Naked Mentalism has already taken its place among the greats. A part I personally loved was his methods to turn misses into hits – making you nearly fail-proof – and his jaw-dropping tips on how to perform near-supernatural feats of mentalism.
A true “holy grail” of the art, I can’t recommend it enough.
Author: Max Maven
The highly popular Color Series of Mentalism by the great Max Maven gets re-released into its best-ever form with this new and improved book. Featuring its astonishing 53 effects, all illustrated by Ton Onosaka, and incredibly helpful, thought-challenging and inspiring short essays, it’s a wonder of a read.
Although both its vocabulary and concepts are aimed at proficient mentalists, a novice can also take mountains of knowledge from it with a little bit of effort.
It gives you awesome tips on performance, acting and theatrics while also showing you interesting and expertly crafted visual demonstrations of the acts. It’s a beautiful piece of work.
Staying true to its name, this massive and gorgeously illustrated Mentalism Encyclopedia offers you nearly 600 pages of essential information on the art. From step-by-step instructions and illustrations of tricks and feats to stunning write ups on technique, performance and psychology, this gorgeously written book is a true classic that cannot be beat.
Although it has had many releases, the latest one is the biggest and best one as it combines the full work of Corinda’s “13 Steps to Mentalism” (the most popular mentalism book ever published) and Rauscher’s “Mindreaders: Masters of Deception” (which details the lives of mind readers and psychics of the past and present) as well as adding fresh content and top-notch visuals. Even if you’ve read both of the combined works before, this stunning book is worth it for its visual prowess alone.
If you’ve never read the books though, this is as close to perfect as it gets when it comes to mentalism literature, making it a true must-have.
Author: Derren Brown
Like a double-down on everything that made Pure Effect great, Absolute Magic is a masterpiece. More focused, more tricks, more techniques and written at an even better level, this is one you can’t afford to miss.
Derren shares a wealth of knowledge about close-up magic in an extremely exciting and interesting way, making it an instant classic that I can’t help but recommend not only to mentalists but to everyone that’s even moderately interested in the art of magic and performance. Incredible.
Author: Joe Navarro
Former FBI agent Joe Navarro’s most popular work ever – What Every Body is Saying – is a fantastic book for any mentalist. Although it might not look like it at first sight, its contents are extremely useful and directly related to the art.
By now you already know that reading, analyzing and understanding body language, reactions, micro-expressions and other facial cues are all crucial in order to be a good mentalist and that’s exactly what this book’s about. It teaches you in a very straightforward way how to “Speed-Read” people, as Joe put its, which is basically how to quickly identify key physical giveaways in your “target” (aka your audience). This allows you to tell if a person’s lying or not, gives you insight into what they’re thinking and makes it super easy for you to “mind-read” them during a performance as they’ll basically scream the answer at you through physical cues.
It’s all about nonverbal communication – exactly what mentalism is all about. It’s an overlooked gem.
If you enjoyed this list, be sure to check out the others I’ve written about mentalism books:
Covering all aspects of mentalism and written by true experts of the art, these 11 mentalism books are the ultimate collection of literature that you should strive to own, read, learn from and enjoy. Even without other sources, these powerhouses of knowledge alone could take a rookie into expert levels of mastery – all that’s needed besides them is practice. Lots and lots of practice.
Thanks as always for reading and enjoy these masterpieces!