Paul Brook - The Alchemical Tools

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Postby tellemakko » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:13 pm



Really the best practical theory magic book I had read.

Many of concepts can be used everyday in the real life.

Being Paul Brook a tireless studious in that kind of subject and with the great success of this book, it is not ridiculous to expect a second book :lol:

buy it!!!!

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Postby cactus mx » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:37 am

I should track that book down..

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Postby Justin Saul » Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:40 pm

cactus mx wrote:I should track that book down..


You won't regret it, I have just started re-reading it and It is pure Gold!

If you are having trouble tracking it down try... http://www.paulbrook.co.uk/heknows/ :wink:

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Postby cactus mx » Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:28 pm

Haha yeah, thanks :)

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Postby monks » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:55 pm

Just ordered this on the basis of these reviews and also having Paul's excellent thought reader card which has proved very effective in tight situations, can't wait to get reading!

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The Emperor Has No Clothes

Postby Brainbuster » Wed May 18, 2011 6:40 am

I'll write a more thorough review soon, as I've only read half of the book now, but this book is so bad it makes me angry.

Don't get me wrong, there are some good bits hiding deep within the rest, if you have the patience to find them.

The errors in the book are not trivial, they are meaningful. I can only assume Paul Brook learned English as a second language. As you read this book, you feel like you're wading through tar.

In every paragraph the reader finds he must translate the text into something comprehensible. I can only assume by the glowing reviews that all the honest reviews are promptly deleted by a moderator.

I've noticed the reviewers on here compare this text to the classics, calling it a "modern classic." Apparently none of the reviewers have been exposed to Annemann or Corinda, or even the dozens of others who have contributed to mentalism.

Apart from the grammatical errors and misspellings littering every page (Paul must have put an ungaffed blindfold on before adding commas), much of the substance is subpar. The author makes many claims that may or may not be true, coming from NLP, sales training, various and nefarious motivational literature, and so forth, then proclaims them to be scientific; as though we, his readers, are his audience of naive and "ignorant" (as he calls them) "subjects" (as he calls his spectators).

Most of the claims he makes are not what made Paul Brooks a great performer. He may not even be aware of the specific behaviors that made him great, though I have my own conclusions. What I can say is that, in this book, he is right, partly, in parts--and dead wrong in parts. Maybe he is right by accident, when he is right. How are you, the reader, going to sort it all out?

If you don't want to believe this comment, then buy the book. You will benefit from it if you have the resolution to tirelessly work your way from one page to the next. When you read Strong Magic, by Darwn Ortiz, or 13 Steps, or Practical Mental Magic, it does not feel like you've slammed your hand down on the wrong styrofoam cup, when you read them. It is a joy to read such books.

Paul was right when he wrote that words are powerful. Every word that slips out of your mouth in your performance, is important...but of course it must sound spontaneous.

Maybe the reason there are so many glowing reviews is because the readers can't tell the difference between a book with obscure words and a book with timeless concepts. I'll be the first to say,
The emperor has no clothes.

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Postby Stephen Ward » Wed May 18, 2011 6:53 am

Paul is one of the great thinkers in mentalism and his products never fail to impress. This book has had great reviews from some top names in the business.

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Postby Ted » Wed May 18, 2011 7:27 am

I'll go so far as to agree that there are a significant number of grammatical errors in that book, but I didn't exactly spend nights sweating over the translation.

That said, I found Alchemical Tools to be a really useful and refreshing book that helped me focus on performance rather than specific effects. There are effects in there, of course, but I feel I benefited most from the 'persona' parts of the book.

Does it replace 13 Steps etc? No. Does it sit alongside them? In my opinion, yes.

T.

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Postby Tomo » Wed May 18, 2011 7:48 am

Page 301 is a particularly interesting and useful page... :D

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Postby Mandrake » Wed May 18, 2011 2:18 pm

Whilst we always welcome honest and open reviews, they also need to still be courteous and helpful rather than just critical. It would also be useful to have had some sort of introduction to help establish the reviewer’s credentials.

I've only read half of the book
It would be better to actually read it all and therefore give a full assessment.
I can only assume Paul Brook learned English as a second language

A simple bit of research will easily disprove that incorrect assumption.
I can only assume by the glowing reviews that all the honest reviews are promptly deleted by a moderator.
Now that’s an assumption to which we take great exception. Making asinine and totally incorrect assumptions as part of your first post here isn’t exactly going to endear you to anyone
Apparently none of the reviewers have been exposed to Annemann or Corinda, or even the dozens of others who have contributed to Mentalism
Another wide reaching and inaccurate assumption – you’re not doing very well, are you?
Paul must have put an ungaffed blindfold on before adding commas
No need to get nasty.
He may not even be aware of the specific behaviors that made him great, though I have my own conclusions. What I can say is that, in this book, he is right, partly, in parts--and dead wrong in parts. Maybe he is right by accident, when he is right
Yeah, right – whatever.
Apart from the grammatical errors and misspellings littering every page
Er, would you like to check how to spell ‘Annemann’ and ‘behaviors’ in your post?
Maybe the reason there are so many glowing reviews is because the readers can't tell the difference between a book with obscure words and a book with timeless concepts
Yet again, a wide ranging assumption which you cannot possibly prove - maybe they don't have an axe to grind like you do?

OK funtime over, this sounds very much like a deliberate hatchet job, perhaps inspired by jealousy? After all we have no information to say that the author has any skills or valid basis on which to criticise others. As I said right at the start, we welcome honest and open reviews, we certainly do not welcome hatchet jobs. No, we won’t edit or delete the review, we’ll deal with matters in quite a different way.

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Re: Paul Brook - The Alchemical Tools

Postby MatCult » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:43 pm

Not that I can add much to the glittering praise already (and justly) heaped on this book, but here's my review:

This is probably the most important book I've read on mentalism (although it should be said that the advice is applicable to magic or any performance for that matter). I wish I had read it before Corinda and Annemann. Not to take away from the "13 Steps" or "Practical Mental Magic" - as is often pointed out, these two works contain enough performance material for a lifetime, but they don't tell you how to perform, how to take the bare bones effects within their pages and turn them into breath-taking miracles.

"The Alchemical Tools" does just that. It breaks down, step by step, how to approach performance. The book takes you from building a convincing and coherent persona, to developing routines that fit this persona, to treating your audience with respect and drawing them into a world where maybe, just maybe, impossible things will happen and they will react like they saw REAL magic.

Don't get me wrong, I've read loads of posts on forums saying "Don't under-sell it", "Turn your tricks into miracles" and I'm sure that's enough information for some people, who are naturally gifted performers, to go out and make magic real. But for me, I had never read a clearly-expressed manual for how to make that happen, how to build belief and maximise spectators' responses, until "The Alchemical Tools". It's like a well-written recipe - you just know you'll be able to put it into practice and (with time and work and practice) start turning lead into gold.

And I don't think it would only benefit beginners like myself. I believe even seasoned performers will find something in these pages. They may not agree with all of it, some of it may just be "giving a name" to things they already know or do, but the book is so densely packed, so rich with wisdom, I'm sure they will find something.

This has fundamentally changed the way I think about magic/mentalism & performance. I think it will also change the way I answer "I want to be a mentalist, where should I start?" type posts on forums. I now truly believe "Alchemical Tools" and Bob Cassidy's "Fundamentals" are a better launchpad than "13 Steps" or "PMM".

In short: Brilliant, brilliant book. But don't take my word for it, it gets rave reviews from Jeff McBride, Colin McLeod and Todd Landmann HERE.

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Re:

Postby SpareJoker » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:58 am

storm01 wrote:Paul takes a lot of his NLP(Neuro Linguistic Programming) teachings, and shows how you can apply them to not only your magic but also life in general.

For anyone who has studdied NLP you will already know the depth and sheer volume of the subject. What Paul does however is break this information down into easily digestible chunks or "nuggets" of information.


Brainbuster wrote:The author makes many claims that may or may not be true, coming from NLP, sales training, various and nefarious motivational literature, and so forth, then proclaims them to be scientific; as though we, his readers, are his audience of naive and "ignorant" (as he calls them) "subjects" (as he calls his spectators).
Not that I wish to rush to Brainbusters defence, but he deos have a valid point about the veracity of NLP. The fact remains that NLP proponents make specific claims about how NLP works and what it can do and this compels providing evidence to substantiate these claims. To date there is a total lack of reliable experimental evidence to support its claimed effectiveness.

Whilst there may be room for improvement in Brainbusters' post, I really don't think responding with ad hominem attacks is the best solution (and from a forum Moderator, no less)

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Re:

Postby MiKo » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:09 am

SpareJoker wrote:Not that I wish to rush to Brainbusters defence, but he deos have a valid point about the veracity of NLP. The fact remains that NLP proponents make specific claims about how NLP works and what it can do and this compels providing evidence to substantiate these claims. To date there is a total lack of reliable experimental evidence to support its claimed effectiveness.


I agree with that, but apart from that he/she wrote a quite harsh review, admittedly from just a half read and with very few informative pieces, which in any way could have been stated in a much more polite way (which would be advisable, imho, in your first post).

SpareJoker wrote:Whilst there may be room for improvement in Brainbusters' post, I really don't think responding with ad hominem attacks is the best solution (and from a forum Moderator, no less)


I really don't see any personal attack on the part of Mandrake: he made a series of critical remarks on his post and pointed out that writing down such a harsh post is not the best way to step into a forum. Writing down a critical post in an otherwise generally positive thread without being known and implying censorship (which is what Brainbuster did) sounds dangerously similar to trolling.
I am the first to admit that usually there are not many critical reviews to published materials (usually if the review is positive, all the subsequent comments are positive as well) but in truth helped me very little with my choice or whether to but or not "The Alchemical Tools" and resulted, in my view, unnecessarily impolite.

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Re: Paul Brook - The Alchemical Tools

Postby Ted » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:56 am

I think that it is fair to say that there are grammatical errors in the book, but you don't need a degree in English to work out what the author meant. The earlier negative comments are, in my opinion, excessive to the point of ridiculousness.

Books like these, which are very specialised and cater for a tiny market that revolves around secrets, are often self-published. That is the approach that many of us take, including Paul Brook, Tomo, myself and various others. There's not much profit to be made at any rate, so reducing costs is critical - otherwise it's simply not worthwhile, or the price of the books would have to treble. This means that you can spend £40 on a book containing really great, original content but there may be a few spewling mistokes. That does not mean that the creative content is of low value.

It's also worth noting that Paul Brook's later books actually have been edited by a third-party (me), which means that they should be as free of grammatical errors as one might expect from a book published by a major imprint.

T.

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Re: Paul Brook - The Alchemical Tools

Postby Tomo » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:40 am

Looch is a very good case in point. The guy seriously knows his stuff, but reading S.A.D is a nightmare. Alakazam didn't edit the rough manuscript. They simply had it printed and bound.

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