Top 10 Mentalism Books To Add To Your Reading List

top 10 mentalism books

Looking for good mentalism books to read?? Despite the popularity of e-learning methods, nothing really beats the relaxation of curling up by a window with a good book while drinking tea or coffee.

Keep reading and we’ll recommend you the ten top mentalism books you should read this year. Note that these books do not come in any particular ranking order.

Which of these is worth reading is up to you and what you want to learn. It only serves as a good starting point for anyone who wants to read about mentalism.

1. Thirteen Steps To Mentalism by Tony Corinda 

13 steps to mentalism

What better way to begin than with the classics? Thirteen Steps To Mentalism was written by Tony Corinda and was initially published in 1961.

You may think it  looks dated but this old book is considered a classical text on mentalism by many mentalists.

Skilled mentalists such as Derren Brown, Larry Becker, Lee Earle, Richard Osterlind, and Banachek have all used Thirteen Steps To Mentalism as a foundation for their knowledge.

So what does it talk about anyway? Inside, the book contains details on how to practice well-known mentalism tricks like telepathy, precognition, telekinesis, extra-sensory perception, and even communicating with the dead!

Aside from those, the book also contained more practically applicable mentalist skills like cold reading and hot reading. It also provided information on how to create devices and props that help in mentalism performances. Definitely one of the best mentalism books written.

2. Practical Mental Magic by Theodore Anneman

Practical Mental Magic by Theodore Anneman

Another classic, Practical Mental Magic was written by Theodore Anneman, a famous mentalist and editor of Jinx magazine whose contributions to the field of mentalism helped popularize the discipline.

This extensive bible on mentalism contains a whopping 200 tricks, making it a must for any aspiring mentalist.

The routines explained in the mentalism book can be divided among 12 categories:

Effects with Billets and Pellets; Envelope Necromancy; Publicity Effects; Miracle Slate Routines; Dead or Alive; Money Mentalism; Book Tests; Blindfold Reading; Thought Foretold; Mentalism with Cards; Miscellaneous Mental Masterpieces; and Psychic Codes. 

Does it sound intimidating? Don’t worry- even though Practical Mental Magic has a variety of tricks from the most basic to the most complex, each trick is explained so clearly and simply that careful practice and following of each step ensures that you’ll soon become a mentalist master!

3. Mentalism: The Truth About Mentalism Magic by Julian Hulse

Mentalism: The Truth About Mentalism Magic by Julian Hulse

No body of knowledge just appears out of nowhere and mentalism is the same. In the book Mentalism: The Truth About Mentalism Magic, Julian Hulse carefully explains the history of mentalism.

He starts from the beginning, including mentalists practices from even before mentalism had a name and up to the modern day. Not only that, he explains the science behind mentalism (hint: it’s mostly psychology) as well as its effects on your audience.

Julian Hulse goes the extra mile in this book. He details the similarities and differences of mentalism compared to magic as well as explains the future of mentalism. This comprehensive book takes a holistically perspective view of a niche topic not usually in the public consciousness.

4. Psychological Subtleties Vol. 1 by Banachek

Psychological Subtleties Vol. 1 by Banachek

Banachek credited Corinda’s 13 Steps To Mentalism for his knowledge and he certainly built on its basis. Psychological Subtleties Vol. 1 is the beginning of a 3-volume series on mentalism.

This introductory book focuses on the more psychological aspects of mentalism, cementing it further not just as a performance art but also as a form of applied psychology. 

It should also be noted that Banachek is an accomplished mentalist himself who has performed many surprising feats on television. He initially rose to fame after participating in Randi’s “Project Alpha” experiment for which he was validated by the Parapsychology Department at Washington University as a true ‘psychic’.

5. Tricks of the Mind by Derren Brown

Tricks of the Mind by Derren Brown

A compelling figure on-stage, Derren Brown is just as charismatic in his book Tricks of the Mind.

In this book, Derren Brown lays out the structure and psychology of magic, explaining the psychological mechanisms that allow mentalism to work. Subtopics told under this are hypnosis, suggestion, and even ways to improve ones memory!

Tricks of the Mind is kept engaging and humorous by Brown’s personal anecdotes that keep you entertained while still coming away having learned something new.

This mentalism book will convince you that mentalism isn’t a practice of con-artist but rather is the realm of what are essentially psychological entertainers. This book will not just help you learn how to spot lies based on people’s demeanor but also how to tell if a magician, mentalist, or ‘paranormal expert’ is nothing more than a charlatan. This one is worth reading as it is one of the best mentalism books written.

6. The James Bond Cold Reading by Julian Moore

The James Bond Cold Reading by Julian Moore

Whether you’re an experienced mentalist or just a beginner who is starting out, you’ll no doubt enjoy this fresh take on cold reading.

Written by Julian Moore, The James Bond Cold Reading puts a twist on the old practice by boiling it down to its most fundamental principles.

No stock phrases here, just real knowledge applied in real time!

With this mentalism book, you’ll be able to effectively and naturally cold read people without fumbling over a mental script.

Like it says on the cover, it will teach you how to ‘convince total strangers you know all about them in 12 easy steps’!

7. What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide in Speed-Reading People by Joe Navarro

what everybody is saying - mentalist book

As you may have guessed from the title, What Every BODY is Saying isn’t a book written by a mentalist rather it was penned by Joe Navarro, a Cuban-born American who was a former FBI agent and supervisor. 

Cold reading isn’t just some gimmick like others may think when they hear it used in mentalism. It’s a real skill that’s being used in real life by many people.

We all cold read to some degree- it’s a common trade secret for fields like psychology and sales. But no other industry takes it to the extreme ends the way intelligence agencies do. 

In this mentalism book, Joe Navarro will walk you through the cues and subtleties that can help you tell what a person is really thinking and feeling.

He’ll also teach you how to suss out a person’s identity with the most innocuous signs. Joe Navarro isn’t the only author of this book either- he’s had help from Marvin Karlins, Ph.D.

Karlins is a professor of Information Systems and Decision Sciences Department at the University of Southern California. If anyone knows what they’re talking about, it’s definitely these two.

8. How to Be a Mentalist: Master the Secrets Behind the Hit TV Show by Simon Winthrop

how to be a mentalist book

Let’s be real- for many people, their first encounter with mentalism was through television. Many of us remember the sudden boom in magic-related shows on television a few years back.

Whether you were a kid at the time or even a full-grown adult, there was a part of you that wanted to know how to perform the tricks that weren’t explained.

In the book How to Be a Mentalist: Master the Secrets Behind the Hit TV Show, Simon Winthrop takes us on a behind the scenes tour of the hit tv show, The Mentalist. You should definitely add this to your list of mentalism books to read.

In that show, it isn’t hard to believe that mentalist Patrick Jane has actual powers – he is really good after all. But Winthrop, a skilled stage magician himself, reveals the secrets behind these seemingly supernatural abilities and promises that anyone who can hone their skills to that level can do everything that Patrick Jane did in the show.

9. Paramiracles by Ted Lesley

mentalist book - paramiracles by ted lesley

Another one of those ‘oldie but goodie’ kind of books, Paramiracles is a book from one of the top minds in German mentalism, Ted Lesley.

A pioneer of his time, Lesley pushes the envelope on what is considered to still be mentalism and brings it to a level of mastery that can only be called paramiraculous.

It covers a wide range of topics, starting with card-related tricks.

Under chapter one, you’ll find intriguing tips on how to make a three-way out envelope, revealing answers through Trivia Pursuit cards, and a superb idea on making a crib sheet for a pad.

A notable trick he teaches is what he calls Pseudo-Psychometry where he reveals a participant’s items. Though this could eventually grow boring and repetitive if done by a lesser mentalist, Ted Lesley teaches you how to do it differently each time, ensuring that it stays fresh both for you and your audience!

10. Mind Reader: Unlocking the Power of Your Mind to Get What You Want by Lion Suchard

mentalism book - mind reader

Mentalist Lior Suchard walks you through three sides of mentalism- the one the audience sees, the one the mentalist performs, and the one whose principles are grounded in academic studies.

In Mind Reader: Unlocking the Power of Your Mind To Get What You Want, you’ll learn how to influence people’s behavior in ways that won’t only make your performance better but can also be used in your day to day life. After all, who doesn’t know a difficult person they wish they could just give orders to? 

What’s really great about this book is that aside from what you learn, it contains entertaining anecdotes and stories from Suchard as well as actual scientific studies proving the veracity of his tips.

Magic may not be real but science sure is and given enough skill, you can make reality an unbelievable experience. If your looking for more mentalism books, you can definitely add this one to your list.


If you’ve ever dreamed of quickly mastering mentalism and magic at a level that blows away even hardcore professional mentalists and magicians… then check this out.

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