Friday, 22 July 2011

The Complete Cups & Balls by Michael Ammar

This is possibly one of the best books on the cups and balls for the beginner – or the book collector. Yes, there are other books on the subject that are considered classics but note that I wrote ‘for the beginner.’ What puts this book a notch above others (along with the quality of Ammar's text) is the layout of each page and how the illustrations are designed. It is not simply that there are plenty of photographs to illustrate each move; the design of the page clearly links relevant text to each illustration – sometimes using arrows to connect text to a particular area of a photo.  There is very little room for misunderstanding what is meant. That value of that point will make more sense if you have read earlier books or booklets that deal with the same subject. It is not unusual for the small number of badly drawn illustrations in them to confuse matters more than help.
Another point in its favour is it discusses timing and misdirection; which many other books on the cups and balls hardly ever mention let alone discuss the principles.
Finally, there is the sixty page bonus of brief essays from renowned practitioners of the cups and balls including Bob Sheets, Gazzo, Paul Gertner, Tommy Wonder and David Williamson.
A question that might sensibly be asked is how much do the DVDs of the same name by Michael Ammar relate to the book – and the answer is very much so. Anyone failing to learn the cups and balls by using the book and the DVDs together should consider getting a hobby or profession that does not involve using their hands. Or consult a neurologist to find out what is wrong with their hand/eye coordination. 
If I am to level any criticism about the book it is that the ‘complete’ used in the title is not deserved. I believe it would require an encyclopaedic publication to get even near deserving that accolade.  But with any publication from any publisher the title is not to be taken so literally; for anyone with a genuine interest in learning the cups and balls and who will truly see it through to the end, this book is as complete as it needs to be. 

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