Published on Monday, March 14, 2005 in , , , , , ,

Probably the biggest recent news in the field of memory work is the release of the e-book version of Dominic O'Brien's "How to Develop A Perfect Memory" from Lybrary.com.

For those who aren't familiar with Dominic O'Brien, he's the 8-time winner of the World Memory Championship. He wrote "How to Develop A Perfect Memory" back in 1993. It went out of print a short time later, and has been long sought after by those who wish to train and improve their memory. Before this release, the only way to find a legitimate copy of the book was to find a copy on eBay, and pay $150 to $200.

Lybrary.com also has many other titles that would be of interest to readers of this blog:

Roth Memory Course
Zufall's Memory Trix
Leo Boudreau's books: Psimatrika, Spirited Pasteboards and Skullduggery.
The Ultimate Magic Square

The Roth and Zufall books are courses. The Roth Course is a complete course from beginning to end, while the Zufall course teaches much about memory, while focusing more on memory feats. Bernard Zufall was a professional memory performer, and has some unusual and impressive touches for many of the classic memory feats.

The Boudreau books focus on one particular technique, and its various applications for mentalism. The technique itself requires only moderate work, and the results are clean, impressive and is probably as close as you can get to real mind-reading. For example, from the book "Skulldiggery", there's a great routine called "Murder Most Foul". You hand your subject a book listing 64 different aspects of a murder, including different weapons, victims, locations and murderers. The person silently chooses a complete murder scenario, and concentrates on it. With no further muss or fuss (no questions, nothing written down and so on), you reveal the complete murder scenario. Almost everyone of the routines in the Boudreau books are just as clean and impressive.

The Ultimate Magic Square is a great routine by Chris Wasshuber, who runs Lybrary.com. You have a stack of 16 cards, and ask an audience member to roll 3 dice (real or imaginary) to generate a random number. One by one, you quickly lay out the cards in your hand in a 4 by 4 grid. When it's finished, you point out that all the rows, columns, diagonals, pan diagonals, corners and many more directions all add up to the random number! The fact that the cards are never rearranged and laid out so quickly makes the climax even more baffling. The instructions are clear, and available in both English and German. The effect itself can be tricky at first, but it is well taught, and becomes easier to understand and perform with practice.

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