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  • Writer's pictureMadison Hagler

Less is More: Beyond the Book - Ben Earle

Less is More: Beyond the Book is a project that takes you through all of the Less is More book, (read my review of the book here: Then, as the title says, it goes beyond that. The project was filmed over the course of two days and is broken down into six sessions.

Session one is all on Evolving with Simplicity. This session focuses on Henry Christ’s Original Four Ace Routine and then simplifies all of the process over the course of three variations by Ben. Thanks to Henry is a slight evolution which adds a simplified and more consistent losing of the aces and creating a reveal which has a better, more modern build to it. Henry in Isolation makes the losing procedure even cleaner and more casual and keeps the same revelation sequence in play. Henry Topped eliminates the need to lose the aces into the deck in the beginning and keeps the same revelation sequence.

Session two focuses on Technical Simplicity. This session teaches various ways to have the deck shuffled by the spectator all the while secretly keeping control of the cards you need. There’s immense value in this session. You’ll learn palming, culling, the Any Game Card Control, shuffle hold outs, a shuffled Ose cut, spectator shuffle hold outs, the Deep Slug Control, Ben’s favorite false cut (The Sting Cut), and one of the best false shuffles in existence: The Real Optical Shuffle. Any of these techniques can be used far beyond the concept of ace cutting, and can be implemented in virtually any routine you already do to increase the impossibility and all while maintaining simplicity.

Session three is all about Skillful Simplicity. Here you learn two version of Clean Cutter which is a fully in the hands ace cutting routine, you’ll learn the Backroom Demo which is a simple demonstration of shuffle stacking. You’ll also learn three different flow productions. These flow productions were especially helpful to see in real time—reading them in Less is More, it can be a bit tricky to understand the timing of the productions, but when you see them performed, you understand just how deceptive they truly are. You’ll also learn Shuffle Hacking which is a routine that was not included in Less is More. In this routine, you apparently shuffle certain cards into certain positions, an act of skill which is simplicity itself.

Session four is on Classic Simplicity. This session revolves around Stem Cell which is Ben’s routine that with one method, opens up a plethora of routines simply by varying the presentation. You also learn The Resourceful Professional which is a simple gambling demonstration, and you’ll learn No Motion Aces which is Ben’s take on an ace assembly.

Session five is Gambling with Simplicity. Here you’ll learn The Exhibition Card Control. This control was not in the book, but it is very powerful. It is perhaps one of the most deceptive controls of a stack of cards I've some across. If you perform this for your fellow magician friends, they will be absolutely convinced that you have no control of a single card in the deck. You’ll also learn the psychology behind Real Ace Cutting and see how beautiful it looks in Ben’s hands. You will also learn the By Proxy Control which is one of the most hands-free controls of a block of cards that you could do. It is one of the most casual holdouts there is, and that makes it so disarming. This session ends with Roleplayer which is a routine where the spectator shuffles and produces the four aces in their own hands. Its a fun routine with a lot of spectator involvement.

Session six is Ultimate Simplicity. This session aims to demonstrate how you can use simplicity beyond ace cutting routines. This starts with a look at a card control that is deceptive thanks to its simplicity. This is followed by demonstrating how one method can again be expanded into an array of routines just by changing the presentation. Here, the simple trick is a card change, but that plays as a mucking demonstration, a thumbprint reading effect, a time travel demonstration, the power of real magic words, and culminates in an examination of the Unreal Transposition which is an effect from Ben’s upcoming book “Inside Out.” The Unreal Transposition is such a wonderful effect because it happens fully in the spectator’s mind, and it creates a feeling for the effect which is utterly separated from all of the presentations seen previously. This glimpse into the next book truly excites me—if Inside Out is filled with subtle presentations like this, it will be a hit in my book.

If you have Less is More the book, this is a great companion project as it brings the pages to life. If you never purchased Less is More, this project is a great alternative especially if you learn better via video than reading. It is always a joy to watch Ben work—this project is no different.

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