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  1. #1
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    Mystery By Association

    Hello all,

    I haven't been able to find any reviews on Kenton's Mystery by Association. It was mentioned in Craig Browning's Intro to Mentalism. I was wondering if it would be a wise investment for someone beginning to put some mentalism routine ideas together. I'm also a little confused on what it generally entails as far as showmanship and performing.

    Has anyone here purchased this? Is this a good investment? Why or why not?

    Thanks for reading,

    -Mark
    Last edited by MentalMark; 01-06-2015 at 11:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Craig Browning's Avatar :: Elite Member
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    Mystery by Association and several other of Kenton's books are wise investments for any aspect of magical work in that they help create subtlety that embellishes our effects, making them that much more impossible.
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  3. #3
    ChristopherThisse's Avatar :: Moderator
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    I haven't read this one - but I have read some of Kenton's other works. If anything, you can always revisit a book later and glean more from it.

    I just recently got gifted a copy of Pure Effect and having read it before, I found a lot more information that was relative to my current interests this time around. I've read someone else's copy before but it was too early in my studies to really appreciate the points.

    The same goes for Expert at the Card Table - Dai Vernon, I believe, said that no book would benefit the student more through constant study, and less through a single reading.
    http://www.ellusionist.com/boffo-pdf-by-christopher-thisse.html

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    Mystery by Association

    Thanks for the response gentlemen,

    Craig, I've been reading a few of Kenton's writings such as "Mind Reading" and "Secrets of Indirection" and I've only glanced at a copy of "Wonder Words." I've found quite a few helpful gems. They have encouraged me to discover some subtleties of my own. I suppose what I'm wondering is how does this book differ from the others?

    Chris, thank you, again, for your timely response. I have also read a copy of Pure Effect (I haven't been lucky enough to find a good deal to buy my own). During my first read, it seemed VERY out of my league, but it did get me thinking about how to frame my routines and what, specifically, I would want my spectator(s) to focus on. I recently did a second reading and noticed that I gleaned more from it the second time around. Thank you for reafirming this. I still feel, even the second time round, it's out of my league. Recently, I have been really invested in understanding hypnosis and suggestion and how to employ it in my routines. How heavily would you say you utilize things like "anchoring" or "suggestion" in your routines?

  5. #5
    ChristopherThisse's Avatar :: Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by MentalMark View Post
    Chris, thank you, again, for your timely response. I have also read a copy of Pure Effect (I haven't been lucky enough to find a good deal to buy my own). During my first read, it seemed VERY out of my league, but it did get me thinking about how to frame my routines and what, specifically, I would want my spectator(s) to focus on. I recently did a second reading and noticed that I gleaned more from it the second time around. Thank you for reafirming this. I still feel, even the second time round, it's out of my league. Recently, I have been really invested in understanding hypnosis and suggestion and how to employ it in my routines. How heavily would you say you utilize things like "anchoring" or "suggestion" in your routines?
    My fiancee got me a copy for Christmas.

    Anchoring is something I don't have a firm grasp of yet - but it's getting there. I tend to use it more with hypnosis than my general work but I could probably use it a lot more in general. I've been focusing on hypnosis and suggestion over the past couple years, really getting my head around that. I would say that at this point the majority of what I do is at least partially suggestion.
    http://www.ellusionist.com/boffo-pdf-by-christopher-thisse.html

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  6. #6
    Raymond Singson's Avatar :: Lead Forum Manager
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    I'm actually tempted to drop a couple hundred dollars on two fresh copies of Pure Effect and Absolute Magic. My current copies are ridiculously annotated, ear-marked, and highlighted. Both those books are filled with great, insightful theory. Every time I pick them up and review them, I find something interesting worth revisiting in a different way. Not many books have been so useful to me.

    Personally, Kenton Knepper's material has always been hit or miss for me. I always want to enjoy it and learn from it, but I often feel underwhelmed. My magic's changed a lot over the past few years, so maybe they're worth revisiting now that I have more of a grasp and understanding in mentalism and storytelling. The most useful resource of Kenton's that I actively study is his Wonder Words series-- both the manuscript and audio lessons he released. I actually find them really useful in various scenarios outside of performance art, which is interesting. I'm currently studying to become a teacher, and I found that a lot of his techniques are effective in gaining and maintaining students' attention as well as directing their attention toward key concepts of a lesson. It's easy to see how well such skills and techniques would translate to performance art.

    RS.

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    ChristopherThisse's Avatar :: Moderator
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    I would say that teaching is a kind of performance as well. You need to build rapport, maintain their attention, etc. You need to be likeable and charming so they want to listen to what you have to say. I use communication principles I've learned through studying magic and performance every day in pretty much every conversation.

    I usually find at least a few things I can use well from Kenton's work - but I have also felt kind of 50/50 on Kenton's stuff. I feel like he has good ideas but I haven't always been blown away by his work. That's not a slight on him - I also think maybe I just tried too soon to read his stuff. I recently got his new book, Hidden Influence, and I have high hopes for it.
    http://www.ellusionist.com/boffo-pdf-by-christopher-thisse.html

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    Re:

    That is a lovely gift! My first reading of Pure Effect, I got the gist of what Derren was trying to convey, but at the time it didn't seem practical for me (it still doesn't). I'd imagine it's the sort of thing that, in time, we just have to make second nature. Reading it a second time, while I'm more focused on presentation and performance - rather than just purely mechanics, I could see how anchoring would fit in nicely with storytelling.

    I like only a few things from "Secrets of Indirection," but I'll return to it throughout my learning. I saw his Hidden Influence on the website - almost bought it actually, but I had a feeling it wasn't what I thought it would be. Let me know what you think of it when you get it?
    I think it's the mixture of magic and mentalism, that "confuses" me and keeps me from being blown away. Having said that, I should probably revisit his works - maybe I have misjudged some useful stuff simply because it was too "magical" for my liking.

    Well, I just purchased Mystery by Association. If you'd like, I'll give a brief review after it arrives and once I've read through it. It shouldn't take too long!

    Very interesting, Raymond! That's a spot on description of what I'm hoping to cultivate. I may have to pick that up a few paychecks from now, but it sounds really interesting. It sounds like Wonder Words is the kind of thing that would help one fit mentalism into a context for spectators. From what I've read, Absolute Magic would be a little too advance for me. I'm curious though, it what ways would you say has it helped you?

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    Update

    I received Mystery by Association a few days ago and now about halfway through. Ironically, in the beginning pages I came across Kenton's advice on not getting discouraged from learning certain principles simply because the example is being applied to something like linking rings. I've realized my mistake and recently have begun correcting it. I returned to Darwin's Strong Magic -- only to find a lot more gold from just skimming through it. Kenton's little piece of advice has really changed my perspective. I have a lot of rereading to do now and don't regret it at all. It's really refreshing an invigorating. Thanks for talking with me guys and helping iron out some wrinkles in my progress. I will still do a brief review on Mystery by Association when I'm finished. So far, he's really made me question myself and encouraged me to really dig deep and focus on the little things that can and do turn your tricks into miracles.

    Thanks for reading

    -Mark

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