Warning: I’m a bit of a butter-fingers today. I’m about to drop a name. Oops! There it goes. Damn, sorry Brian Brushwood! Let me just pick your name up off the floor here and dust it off a bit.
Brian is a friend of mine, so take this review with however many grains of salt you need, but he has just published his third book, Scam School Book 1 (affiliate link), as of this writing. And by just, I mean it released on Amazon.com, iTunes and other booksellers earlier today. As the name suggests, this is the book version of Brian’s popular Scam School web series produced by Revision 3.
I preordered my copy from Amazon for my Kindle. I’ve looked at it on my Kindle 3, on the Kindle Cloud Reader on both the PC and on the iPad, and on the Android Kindle app. Unfortunately Kindle is—for the time being—a little disadvantaged in displaying Scam School Book 1. Brian and his assistant Jon Tilton went to great pains to create something special in formatting the book, including in-line videos and audio commentaries, and Amazon’s Kindle format doesn’t handle all of that extra polish yet.
That’s changing though. Amazon announced some time back that a new version of the Kindle format will be forthcoming, and it will handle all of the new media content just beautifully.
In the meantime, the painstaking effort that went into formatting the book pays off in backwards compatibility; the text displays just fine, and while the audio and video won’t be seamlessly placed where it was intended, external links to the content make it easy to access until Amazon updates us all to the new goodness.
So what about the content?
Brian goes over 70 scams, from the Human Chimney to Tic Tac Toe Prediction. He revisits each of the Scam School show episodes, covering how the trick is done, and providing written reference on how each illusion or trick is accomplished. The audio commentaries give a personal touch to each one. Exactly what each commentary provides is unique to each trick. It may be a remembrance of the first time Brian did the trick, or learned it, or of shooting the episode of the show that covered it, or additional information and notes on it. It’s all well worth listening to.
These are brain teasers that he has demonstrated time and again in real bars with real people, getting real drinks out of the bargain.
Scam School Book 1 is clearly a labor of love. Brian and Jon spent countless hours writing, finding photos, creating videos and recording audio commentaries in order to give the reader a completely mobile reference for scamming free drinks at bars or just generally becoming the life of the party.
Highly recommended for anyone who loves magic, science, or just knowing how stuff is done … to say nothing of those who want to score free drinks at a bar.