The long-awaited “big hardcover” (published by Vanishing Inc.) …


Doug Dyment’s

Calculated Thoughts

Calculated Thoughts

After more than twenty years of writing, producing, and selling his renowned assortment of slim, yellow, paperback books to mystery entertainers worldwide, Doug has finally been persuaded to create a magnum opus, a large, single high-quality volume that collects his works in more permanent form. Hence, Calculated Thoughts. This tome incorporates three types of content: previously-published material (updated and expanded in most cases), never-before-published material, and a hefty handful of contributed items (exceptional performance pieces that he has managed to wrest from the clutches of their creators, and which might not otherwise have seen print).

Consequently, this is a sizeable book (publisher Vanishing Inc. notes that it is one of their “biggest books in many years”). It measures 6.25 × 9.25 × 1.19 inches (15.9 × 23.5 × 3.0 cm), weighs 2 lb, 6 oz (1.07kg), and contains 398 pages with over 200 illustrations and, yes, 288 footnotes.

The Table of Contents is reproduced below. Individual summaries of many chapters can be found among the descriptions of the earlier, mostly-now-out-of-print books, along with copious reviews of Doug’s work, collected from around the globe.

  • Comments on Terminology
  • Foreword :: Ken Weber
  • Magic Squares
    • Flash Squared
    • Foundation Square
    • Square School
    • The Natal Square
    • Fair & Square
  • Full Deck Stacks
    • On the Ordering of Playing Card Suits
    • Hiding a Sequence in Plain Sight
    • The DAO Stack
    • The 4D Stack
    • QuickStack 3.0
    • SnapStack
    • The Q Stack
    • The Zenith Stack
    • The Chroma Stack
    • The ChroMem Stack
  • Card Capers
    • Menologue
    • PokerFace
    • PokerPlay
    • An Immoderate Deception
    • Major Arcanum
    • Couplet
    • Bob’s Your Uncle
    • ESPerimental
  • Quarto
    • Introduction
    • Evolution
    • Execution
    • Consummation
    • Contribution
  • Zenermancy
    • Introduction
    • Symbols: Introduction
    • Symbols: Interpretation
    • Transitions: Introduction
    • Transitions: Interpretation
    • A Reader Prepares
    • Reading Dynamics
    • An Abecedarian Adjunct
    • Coloured Symbols
    • Bibliography
  • Wordplay
    • Sign Language
    • Verbiage
  • Mystery Mélange
    • Penny’s From Heaven
    • Spoiled for Choice
    • FourSight
    • The Real Thing
    • The Vision
  • For The Toolkit
    • BikeMarks 2.0
    • Tick Tock Too
    • How to Construct a Forcing Matrix
    • Premise NV
    • Marker Cribs
  • Musings
    • On Performance
    • On Overthinking
    • On the Use of Props in Mentalism
    • On Extrasensory Perception
    • On Psychic Guilt
    • On Predicting the Future
    • On Cold Reading
    • On the Validity of Readings
    • On Being a Perpetual Student
    • Instant Cash: The Story of Bill
  • Borrowed Business
    • ABCDEFG
    • The BBB Peek
    • Design Duplicity
    • Psi Coin
    • C.C. Seer
    • Figmental
    • Bloodied
  • Acknowledgements
  • Afterword :: Richard Webster

::   R e a d   B e f o r e   O r d e r i n g   ::
This is a big, heavy book, thus expensive to post.

Consequently, unless you absolutely must have a signed copy, purchasing Calculated Thoughts directly from Vanishing Inc. or your local dealer might prove a more thrifty proposition.

Some detailed reviews:

  • not a review, but a video interview with Doug Dyment, in two parts, from Damian Jennings [UK]:  Part 1   Part 2
  • a video review in two parts, from Steve Faulkner [UK]:  Part 1   Part 2
  • a written review, from Madison Hagler [USA]
  • a video review, from Jeff Kowalk [USA]

Some readers’ comments:

“Absolutely love this … the best book I’ve bought and read for a long, long time.” — [UK]

“The title, Calculated Thoughts, is particularly apt for Doug Dyment’s magnum opus. The first word that comes to mind when I think of Doug Dyment is ‘brilliant’. But the second is ‘calculating’.

Doug’s ability to methodically analyze an effect or presentation, spot its flaws or potential flaws, then carefully rework the material to eliminate them, is a wonder to behold. That Doug’s routines are powerful is a given. But equally important, they are purposeful. Doug has the kind of mind that blends insight with method. Every component of an effect is chosen for maximum impact.

The material within Calculated Thoughts is as beautiful as you would expect from a mind like his. Some of it I was already familiar with, having used it in my own shows for years. His work on the center tear ranks among the very best there is. His work on card stacks has been my go-to since he first clued me in. ‘The Real Thing’ is the kind of ‘stage illusion’ sized mentalism I love. And again, I have relied on it in many, many corporate shows.

But there is so much more! Impossible mysteries with magic squares, billets, Zener cards, Zodiac signs. You will use practically all of it. Those few effects that you decide not to use will delight you with their thoughtful elegance and will provide inspiration for creative leaps of your own.” — [USA]

“Up until now, the intensely cerebral mind reading of Doug Dyment has been one of the best-kept secrets in mentalism. In Calculated Thoughts, his handlings of stacked decks and magic squares—as well as his thought-provoking presentational ideas—are updated and, along with generous helpings of brand new material, revealed to our community. Every working mentalist should have this on their desk. There are Calculated Thoughts in every presentation I do!” — [USA]

“An advertising executive once said, ‘There are no new ideas. Only old ideas with a fresh coat of varnish on them.’ This ad man never met Doug Dyment! Calculated Thoughts is literally a treasure trove of brilliant, original, high-impact concepts and effects for the working mentalist. If you crave material that is fresh, devious, and 100% undetectable, get Calculated Thoughts. I promise you, this book will not end up on your bookshelf. It will be next to your bed, next to your favorite chair, next to your dinner plate, in your briefcase, and anywhere you happen to be. It’s that good!” — [USA]

“A stunning and important piece of work. Real this and you will become a better mentalist, better performer, and probably a smarter person. Oh, and you’ll have some great material too!!” — [UK]

“Attention, événement ! S’il y a un livre qui fera date, c’est bien le livre de Doug Dyment. Si certains mentalistes dignes de ce nom connaissent Doug et ses travaux, il est inconnu de la plupart des magiciens.

C’est pourtant une figure majeure de l’art du mentalisme, du moins dans un milieu plus ou moins underground. Ancien président et member honoraire à vie de la très select et très secrete P.E.A. (Psychic Entertainers Association), Doug Dyment est aussi discret que ses créations sont exceptionnelles. On peut affirmer sans exagérer, que Calculated Thoughts est son Magnum Opus, ni plus ni moins. L’ouvrage réunit en un seul volume de quatre-cents pages presque l’intégralité de ses créations précédemment publiées et pour la plupart épuisées. Et si comme moi vous possédez quelques-uns des livrets originaux, ne faites surtout pas l‘économie de cette édition. En effet, ses routines ont été mises à jour et développées pour l’occasion. Le dernier tiers du livre est constitué de documents inédits qui valent leur pesant de cacahuètes, ainsi que quelques contributions de ses amis. Bref, vous avez entre vos mains plus de quarante routines testées sur le public.

Bien que ne s’adressant pas particulièrement au débutant, il doit être précisé que cet ouvrage est avant tout un livre de mentalisme et non de magie mentale. En plus de l’absence de disclaimer, cela signifie que tout est pensé, justifié, contextualisé et crédibilisé dans les moindres détails. Certes, à la lecture de la table des matières, vous pourriez penser qu’il ne s’agit là que de classiques et, de fait, passer à côté de cette « boîte à outils » extraordinaire. Grossière erreur ! Là où les autres s’arrêtent de penser, Doug prend ces classiques et les emmène plus loin et plus haut, beaucoup plus haut. Là est le vrai talent de l’auteur. Tout y passe : carrés magiques (et quel carré !), marquage de cartes à faire soi-même, chapelets, cartes Zener, center tear, Cold Reading, divination de signes astrologiques, reproduction de dessins, etc. Attardons-nous justement sur quelques-unes des pépites de Calculated Thoughts.

Si j’use et j’abuse des lames de tarots dans mon travail, je fais partie de l’école qui n’utilise pas de cartes à jouer en mentalisme. Trop associé à la magie et au jeu à mon sens. Cependant, si je devais utiliser un jeu classé en chapelet mon choix se porterait sans hésitation sur le fameux et non moins excellent DAO de Doug Dyment. Ce chapelet possède deux atouts majeurs : il possède à la fois l’avantage de ne pas être cyclique – ce qui évite de le repérer - tout en possédant celui de NE PAS avoir besoin de mémoriser une seule carte ! Facilité d’utilisation et efficacité. Cerise sur le gâteau : vous trouverez d’autres chapelets dans cet ouvrage, incluant des chapelets pour le jeu Zener, qu’il soit classique ou en couleur. Ajoutez le système de marquage des cartes exposé dans ce livre, et vous avez en main une machine de guerre !

Êtes-vous un adepte du center-tear ? Si oui, vous adopterez à coup sûr la technique de l’auteur. Connu des aficionados sous le nom R2-D2, ce center-tear a été optimisé et rebaptisé Quarto. Tout a été pensé en profondeur pour que les déchirements et le peek soient parfaitement naturels. Mieux encore, ce n’est pas un, mais deux peeks que Quarto vous permet de faire si vous le souhaitez.

La place me manque pour traiter de chaque chapitre, c’est pourquoi je terminerai par Zenermancy, autrement dit la pratique de la mancie avec un jeu Zener. Il s’agit de mon chapitre préféré. Si j’ai commercialisé mon jeu et ma méthode il y a quelques années, une fois de plus Doug emmène la chose encore plus loin. Il a eu cette brillante idée de mêler le jeu ESP à certains principes du Taoïsme (ce qui n’est pas pour me déplaire pour ceux qui me connaissent). En final, cela donne un outil de mancie très complet et très pertinent.

Vous l’aurez compris, ce livre est rempli de pépites. Le seul reproche que je ferais à Calculated Thoughts c’est que, dorénavant, les travaux de Doug Dyment vont passer de l’ombre à la lumière et seront donc portés à la connaissance de la communauté magique. Je l’avoue, j’aurais aimé que cela reste égoïstement dans le petit milieu des mentalistes. Bref, je prédis que Calculated Thoughts soit amené à devenir un classique de la littérature mentalistique. Précipitez-vous dessus avant qu’il ne soit épuisé et ne devienne un collector.” — [France]

“Thrilled with Calculated Thoughts and loving the DAO Stack. Thank you for writing this book.” — [UK]

“Part of me can’t imagine any serious performer without this book … the other part of me doesn’t want anybody having this book. Doug Dyment’s ideas can make even an amateur hobbyist look like an absolute master. He managed to achieve unsurpassed holy grails. I’m trying really hard to think of a single book that I can consider better, compared to everything that I’ve read in over twenty years as a performer … and it’s a frustrating task as I can’t name a single one. This is one of the very best books I’ve ever seen regarding mentalism and it’s second to none. To me, Doug is a true hero to the art and this tome is elite material.” — [Brazil]

“One of the best things about practicing this Art we called Mentalism is the wonderful people we get to share our passion with. People from all walks of life, who enrich our lives by sharing their experiences and thoughts. People who bring out the best in us and inspire us to become the best performers we can become; Doug Dyment is one of those people.

Calculated Thoughts is a hefty tome. Coming in at just shy of 400 pages, there is no fluff, no filler, every page is solid, covering a vast swathe of Mentalism routines with the level of detail and insight Doug is renowned for. It’s an encyclopedia of knowledge and wisdom garnered from decades of performance that I’ll keep coming back to when I need that little bit of extra inspiration.” — [USA]

“It’s clear that Doug is the kind of mentalist to obsess over his creations: each trick [and] concept is painstakingly described, with many variations and suggestions, details that you just don’t find in most magic books.” — [USA]

“I want to complement Doug on an extremely individual mentalism book. In fact, I doubt there is another one like it, past or present. Add to that — I doubt there will be another one like it, considering the work it took.

While most mentalism books may be full of effects, what they lack is a comparative, comprehensive approach to the fundamentals of what the effect is trying to achieve. Doug’s book is an academic, essentially scientific approach, creating a taxonomy surrounding basic effects. Each branch of the root effect is explored in detail. What this means is that, even if you have a ‘pet’ center tear, reading Doug’s book will help you to understand that there is more than just the center to a tear. That’s uniquely mind expanding.

Or, that magic squares represent far more than simple visual algorithms (and 99% of mentalists can not actually explain how they work, because they don’t know the theory behind them). Doug explains and demonstrates a universe of magic squares, such that the concepts of spatial geometry and mathematical symmetry can be understood.

In my opinion, if there were a university course in mentalism, this would be its textbook. It’s for the deep thinking, constantly curious, highly intelligent mentalist.” — [USA]

“I have almost all of Doug’s previously published books, but the prospect that this new one might have 1/3 new material plus many tweaks to older stuff was too hard to resist. Boy, am I glad I got his terrific, well written tome! Thanks, Doug, for publishing it and thanks to Vanishing for printing it.” — [USA]

“For those who’ve not had the chance to enter the mind of Doug Dyment … your time has come! For those in the know, it’s time to give thanks that all his material and much more are now available in a gorgeous hardcover book. I predict this will become a neoclassic of modern mentalism.” — [USA]

“Mit dem Magischen Quadrat kann man es sich bequem machen. Wer will, schafft sich eine Methode drauf und legt los. Was er dabei auf der Strecke lässt zeigt sich in dem ersten Kapital auf 60 der insgesamt 398 höchst lesenwerten Seiten in diesem Buch. Doug Dyment gibt so viele Tipps preis, dass man auch als Nicht-Mentalmagier Lust verspürt, mehr aus dem Magischen Quadrat herauszuholen. Das trifft auf alle Abhandlungen in Calculated Thoughts zu: Egal, ob Dyment sich dem gelegten oder markierten Kartenspiel (inkl. Symbol- und Tarotkarte) widmet, ob er uns seine Gedanken zum Center-Tear nahebringt oder sich über die Bedeutung von ESP-Symbolen auslässt: Alles ist trotz der Ausführlichkeit nie staubtrockene Theorie Hier schreibt jemand aus der Praxis für die Praxis. Es wimmelt nur so an lebendigen ideen, Techniken und Effekten. Allein Doug Dyment Herangehensweise an ‘Bank Night’ ist den Preis des Buches Wert. Da verwundert es, wenn uns Ken Weber im Vorwort verrät, dass Dyment mittlerweile lieber über Kunststücke nachdenkt, als sie selbst vorzuführen. Dass er Fan der Materie bleibt, zeigt sich im letzen Kapitel. Da trägt er begeistert einige zum Teil unveröffentlichte Routinen anderer Autoren zusammen. Vanishinginc verwöhnt uns mit einer gewohnt guten Aufmachung, die zur Steigerung der Leselust beiträgt. POSITIV - Eine Fundgrube an ideen Hintergrundwissen, nicht nur für Mentalmagier! NEGATIV - Nichts” — [Germany]

“Doug Dyment is one of the deepest thinkers in mentalism and Calculated Thoughts is his magnum opus. The depth to which he explores each of his chosen subjects is simply breathtaking. He shines a highly perceptive light into some of the darkest corners of mentalism technique and reveals insights that will remain with the art for decades to come.

A brand new approach to magic squares, new full-deck stacks, new billet technique, prop-less ideas, hard-hitting corporate mentalism, an analysis of giving readings. There is something for everyone in Calculated Thoughts, but more than that, Doug explores each of these areas to a depth that is very seldom seen in mentalism literature and the insights he reveals are truly staggering. I have no doubt that this book will make us all better mentalists.” — [UK]

“I’m not finished reading, but I didn’t want to wait ’til I was finished to leave my impressions for anyone on the fence about ordering this. This book is simply exquisite. It is by far the most beautiful magic book I’ve ever owned. So many thoughtful touches went into the design, and every page is printed in high gloss color on thick paper stock — like really nice magazine paper.

I haven’t been active on the Magic Café in a long time, but what I remembered from reading Doug’s posts there in the past was how deeply thoughtful and precise he was with every answer that he gave and the advice he gifted. The thinking and writing contained in this book follows in that same vein — so precise that sometimes you start to wonder if the amount of exactitude is truly necessary but then you realize that you're just making excuses for why you haven’t put this much thought into your own work. Doug’s thinking will challenge you to revisit your favorite routines and strive to approach them with a higher order of thinking. Doug clearly approaches mentalism as art, and you can feel his passion vibrating in the fibers of every page. I think this book is an unequivocal masterpiece.” — [USA]

“Anybody who loves mentalism should have this book in their library, and read it over and over. There is no doubt that Doug knows his craft and the material and thinking in here proves this. This is a gorgeously printed book with illustrations by Doug Dyment & Tony Dunn.

The first part of the book is dedicated to Magic Squares. I’ve been performing a version myself for years but this was a real eye opener. My favourite was a walk-around version called Flash Squared. This one is going in my act.

The next section is on Full-Deck Stacks and this includes using playing cards and symbol cards such as Zener cards, Rhine cards, etc. A lot of thought has gone into this and for the true mentalist this will be well worth learning.

Card Capers are performance pieces with playing, tarot, and Zener Symbol Cards. One of my favorites is his hands-off diary effect called Menologue. This version sacrifices the personal connection in the popular Cassidy plot, but makes for a more hands-off and repeatable result. I like the fact you can even do this using a borrowed pack of cards. The method uses something described earlier in the book. This is another I’m going to be performing as I love this plot so much. This section has effects using Tarot Cards including one called Major Arcanum which is a very clean prediction. This would be perfect for intimate performances. You could use this method also with an ESP deck.

Quarto is possibly my favorite part of the book. It includes what might be considered the best billet tear I’ve ever read. Somewhat of a billet ‘nut’, I couldn’t put this part down. Not only does Doug explain his handling, and more importantly the ideas behind it all, but there are bonus ideas by contributors. One idea using a train ticket by Iain Dunford I thought was just so smart. While it’s hard to pick one piece as a favorite I will say this was the one I first read and have started working on.

Zenermancy is divination using Zener (ESP) symbols. What makes this book so great is not only will you learn strong routines but you’ll get a great deal of insight into the history or beginnings of a lot of concepts. For example, here Doug talks about cartomancy, which started with traditional playing cards in the 14th century. This is a vital section for any mentalist to know as it is something they should all be aware of. This is probably the most important section of the book and one I found fascinating.

The next section, Wordplay, includes the very clever Sign Lqnguage, which allows the entertainer to determine a person’s zodiac sign, letter by letter, without anything ever having been written or recorded. It is what you might call propless mentalism, and a great example of what Doug calls the ‘ABC’ methodology, which can be incorporated into other effects. I’ve used the basic principle myself in the past and it’s always great to get another view on it because I am always learning a better way to approach it.

Mystery Melange is a collection of routines, including a fantastic Bank Night routine. Again, it’s something I love doing and also getting other views on. This is a very ‘clean’ version of the plot, with ordinary ungimmicked envelopes. This is such a clever take on this wonderful plot, using three winning envelopes. Greg Arce has a great bonus idea in here too. Whenever I hear that an idea comes from Ted Karmilovich, I always stop and read. The Vision is a remarkable routine with various plot ideas and a killer climax.

The final sections include For the Toolkit and Musings. Both are important reading for anybody doing or wanting to do mentalism.

This book ranks as one of my all-time favorites and certainly important works of the past few decades! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” — [Canada]

“Now you have the opportunity to discover what, up until the publication of this book, has been one of mentalism’s best-kept secrets; you are about to dip into the vast creativity of Doug Dyment, a true ‘underground’ genius.” — [USA]

Calculated Thoughts is authoritative, entertaining, and full of commercial material: essential reading for anyone interested in the art of mentalism. I’ve been friends with Doug for more than 35 years, so my views might be slightly biased. However, I use more ideas and effects from him in my act than I do from anyone else. It’s full of great material. Two thirds of this book were originally published as a series of small books. Now they’ve been published as a beautiful book, with a great deal of new material. I think this will be the mentalism book of the decade, and may well become a classic like the Annemann book. Every mentalist should have this book.” — [New Zealand]

“This is a brilliant book. Get it.” — [USA]



… Doug Dyment

www.deceptionary.com