Have you tried Oyster yet for your iPhone? It’s like Netflix for your book habit and, while I’ve only been testing it for a few days, I’m loving their book selection and clean design.
The first book (literary pearl?) I rocked out on Oyster was Harry Houdini‘s 1902 book The Right Way to Do Wrong: An Expose of Criminals. Houdini wrote quite a number of pamphlets and books on magic, performance and mystic debunking – cooler still, he was an avid reader and book collector essentially living in a giant library (dream house, hey oh!).
The book was originally written as a way to alert everyday people of the ways that criminals operate, but starts out as a how-to for magicians and performers of all kinds:
- Never tell the audience how good you are; they will soon find that out for themselves.
- Don’t drag your tricks, but work as quickly as you can, bearing in mind the Latin proverb, “Make haste slowly.”
- Always have a short sentence ready in case a trick should go wrong. One magician, who has the misfortune to blunder often, says, “Ladies and gentlemen, mistakes will happen, and that is one of them.”
On dealing with critics and media:
- Constructive criticism is wonderfully helpful. Imagine having a great big newspaper man watch the performance and then write a criticism free of charge. Why, it is a wonderfully beneficial thing as I look at it.
- If you were to engage a critic to correct your performance he would charge hundreds of dollars; so, instead of letting the criticism go to waste, or becoming antagonistic, the newspaperman’s correction of your performance should be gratefully accepted.
And even insights into the superstitions of burglars and pickpockets – apparently there’s nary a more paranoid profession:
The cries of an infant warn the marauder that misfortune awaits him in the neighborhood. He will not stay in a house if he finds a clock stopped, a broken mirror, or an unframed oil painting; these are infallible omens of disaster.