Confidences by Roberto Giobbi

Review area devoted to Magic books, leaflets and other printed material

Moderators: Mandrake, bananafish, Lady of Mystery, support, nickj

MagicWorld Magic Shop for Magic Tricks Dude That's Cool Magic Aeternum Servare Secreta Manufacturer of modern & unique magic apparatus! Sorcery Shop - Home of the ITR Best prices around!

Confidences by Roberto Giobbi

Postby FTHO » Jan 11th, '13, 00:02

The Effect

From the Hermetic Press website:

You Can Have Full Confidence in These Confidences

Drawn from a Master's Repertoire—Taught with a Master's Ability

Roberto Giobbi, recipient of the Academy of Magical Arts' Literary Fellowship of 2012-2013, is known worldwide as the preeminent teacher of card magic. He is also one of Europe's most sought-after performers of close-up magic. In Confidences, he opens up his professional repertoire to teach eight of his prize routines. Each receives the in-depth, insightful coverage for which Giobbi is known. He seasons this generous selection with three impressive essays, one on the art of controlling cards, another on the correct approach and understanding for vanishing coins and small objects, and a third on Erdnase's classic, The Expert at the Card Table. In these essays, Giobbi reveals numerous insights and shares personal handlings and strategies for sleights, with practicality and deception being his highest priorities. Here is a sampling of the riches disclosed in these pages.

An unsent letter from Albert Einstein proves to have a strange connection with a freely named playing card.

Playing-card manufacturer A. Dougherty leaves explicit cues on his cards and card cases that lead to spectators locating the four Aces in a shuffled deck.

Giobbi explains his masterly opening sequence for the Cups and Balls.

The guarantee card in the deck assures, in surprising ways, that chosen cards will be located—even in the most difficult circumstances—not just by the magician but by spectators as well!

A chosen card materializes in a mirror—a very eerie and unusual effect.

Dai Vernon's “Trick That Cannot Be Explained” is given the Giobbi treatment, which produces a tremendously entertaining and impossible result.

This and much more is taught along the way. Each trick, routine and essay is a vehicle to share numerous lessons that contribute to expert, professional conjuring. Those familiar with his acclaimed Card College series and Secret Agenda will know what to expect: one of the finest and most revealing texts ever written on the subject of card and close-up magic. Reading Confidences is like having an ear next to Giobbi's lips as he whispers some of his deepest secrets to you. These are true confidences. Read them and be ushered through the closed doors of professional magic.

Confidences is a 275-page hardcover book, produced to bibliophilic standards, with color artwork, marbled endsheets, book ribbon, sewn binding and acid-free paper. A pleasure to hold, a revelation to read.


£32.99 from Alakazam (

View on the Hermetic Press website for previews of several full pages:

Difficulty = 3
(1=easy to do, 2=No sleights, but not so easy, 3=Some sleights used,
4=Advanced sleights used, 5=Suitable for experienced magicians only)


Never Judge A Book By Its Cover... – I do! This one is just the sort of cover I like, hardback without a dust jacket, and most importantly it has a ribbon. I really like ribbons in books.
When I received the book I was very surprised by the actual size of the book, a lot smaller than most magic books, probably smaller than most paperbacks too, this made it seem more personal – like Roberto was sharing his secrets with me. It also made it a lot easier to carry around.

Contents – There are 12 items in the contents page, all detailed essays or descriptions. I will detail some of them.

Preface – An enjoyable and intriguing preface that made me think about the importance in being concise and economic in magic, but equally consider the risks of not being too concise. Also reminded me of “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.” – The longest grammatically correct sentence in the English Language using just one word.

Deck of Missed Opportunities – A presentation for a well-known trick. Giobbi includes his method which is very good but most important is the presentation which is beautiful and could be applied to any method. There are many other interesting points discussed during the very detailed description of the trick.
I have an issue with the idea of telling my spectators that while looking through a flea market I found an old letter addressed to me... but if you can adapt or get past that then you have a great presentation.
Giobbi talks about adding substance to the effect – he inspired me to go away and look at my favourite effects and tried to work out ways to add more meaning and substance to those.

Essay on Card Controls – This essay was the highlight of the book for me. It is a wonderful, intriguing essay on how to have a card selected and to control it. Giobbi breaks the control down into seven steps and then provides a detailed analysis of each stage. This will take some time and study to fully make use of the huge amount of information and advice given here.
There was one piece of information that I found very easy to start considering and to apply – the idea of the “Law of Degrees of Freedom”. This was something I was already aware of, it is discussed in Card College and I had considered it from time to time but never applied it to my own controls. Now with a further understanding of it I have begun altering my control procedures to meet this idea.
Giobbi details some of his favourite card controls and breaks them down. I was lucky to discover a control very similar to my favourite control but with a closer “Degree of Freedom”, I have started to experiment with this.

Overture For Cups and Balls – I am probably not the best person to comment on this as I do not perform the cups and balls. I will share my thoughts anyway... Reading this was so fascinating, I really felt like I gained so much insight into Giobbi’s mind. I felt that I learned some important lessons on making a trick logical and how to use the logic of an everyday object to avoid suspicion etc. I’d like to try and apply some of the ideas explained in this trick to other areas of my magic.
The routine itself is essentially a way to introduce the cups and balls routine, Giobbi says that you can go into most cups and ball routines after this but he recommends Dai Vernon’s routine.

Coin Vanish Essay - There is an essay on vanishing a coin that was inspired by Giobbi’s cat. However this essay completely disagrees with my experience performing vanishes for my sisters dog... of course my experiments were probably biased by the fact that I was vanishing a biscuit (which she could probably smell) rather than a coin – the dog wasn’t interested in coins...

Erdnase - For any Erdnase fans there is a long essay on Erdnase which is very enjoyable and easy to read. Lots of information here, and hints at some of the hidden gems in Erdnase.
Giobbi also explains a lovely control that was seemingly lost in history but rediscovered recently. Will Houston recently demonstrated and taught this at The London Festival of Magic, I’ve been having fun with this control ever since, now it should reach a wider audience.

There are several other card tricks including Giobbi’s handling of The Trick That Can’t Be Explained. Most of the tricks don’t require advanced card technique and rely on subtle technique.

There were some tricks that didn’t appeal to me, however when I read every single section of the book I felt like they had at least one lesson that stood out to me as important for my magic. I learned something from each section.
I always read a magic book in one of two ways, and for the good books I use both ways:
1. I read them like a novel
2. I read them like a text book
Ideally for me I would read them like a novel and then later read them like a textbook and sit down to properly learn.
This book was different, I read it like a novel, but felt like I learnt more in this first reading than in any other book I’ve read this way. I think it was because I couldn’t stop thinking about each section throughout the following day. I also made lots of notes – I normally don’t make notes during the “novel” stage of reading... but this book really seemed to sink in.

Giobbi provides lots of details for each effect but also explains the reasons behind his choices, allowing you to apply the same logic to your own performances.

Highly Recommended.

Senior Member
Posts: 381
Joined: Jan 3rd, '11, 21:45

Re: Confidences by Roberto Giobbi

Postby philipsw » Jan 11th, '13, 18:03

Thank you for a great review. I got the book at Christmas and share your appreciation. He's a great and thoughtful writer on magic - a joy to own and study...

User avatar
Senior Member
Posts: 417
Joined: Mar 25th, '07, 20:15
Location: Farnham

Return to Reviews - Books and other printed formats

Playing Cards for Magicians Web Design for Magicians A web site set up to sell my book, THE STRIPPER DECK, and future magical/mentalism titles. Visit Magicbox for all the latest and best effects! Best prices around! UK's Online Magic Tricks and Jokes Shop offers kids and beginner magic tricks and jokes. World-Of-Magic, Suppliers of quality Magic Worldwide

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests