Today is a great day because we’re talking all about Roberto Giobbi and as the author of the post! I’m happy to tell you that I’ve met the guy! So I can tell you from personal experience that everything you’ve heard is true!
(and if you want to hear our exclusive podcast with Roberto Giobbi -well over an hour-long- you can head here https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/of-sleights-and-men/id1531579762)
Unless it was negative… In that case, it was false…
To start this one off I wanted to go for something a little different from some of my other posts.
I wanted to start by quoting the man himself.
So here are FIVE of his MOST FAMOUS QUOTES:
(make sure to take the time to ponder over each one of them, otherwise, you’re sure to miss something, I know I always do!)
“The worst reason to do magic is the desire to display your superiority to your fellow humans.”
“Make things better than they have to be.”
“Take a favorite trick of yours and write a ‘gestures script’ how could you improve clarity [using gestures].”
“Pausing a few beats allows the spectators time to savor the experience of the miracle that has just occurred.”
Well… I think you can tell just from those quotes the calibre of magician that we’re talking about! However, just-in-case that wasn’t enough here’s a full bio I pulled from Roberto Giobbi’s website itself (https://www.robertogiobbi.com/site)
Roberto Giobbi History/Profile:
(In Roberto Giobbi’s own words from https://www.robertogiobbi.com/site)
I was born in Basle, Switzerland, on the 1st of May 1959, from Italian parents who emigrated from Piedmont. Although I started in High School with mathematics and natural sciences, I soon found out that my talents were in languages, so went to the University of Basel to study literature and linguistics.
This was an unintentional smart move, because it ultimately made me fluent in six languages, which turned out to be a great asset when in 1988, after winning FISM for the first time (1991 would be the second time), I turned professional. At that time there were only two or three people in Switzerland doing magic professionally; now, almost 30 years later, there are dozens, and several tell me that I inspired them to take that step. In 1990 the MRS (Magischer Ring der Schweiz) held their first national competition, and as the winner of all categories I was the very first to received their Grand Prix. This reminds me of a comment my friend Pit Hartling made after one of my lectures: “You speak like an old man, without being one.”
Author and Lecturer
In the announcement to his Genii Bash Convention in 2012 Richard Kaufman wrote: “Roberto has become one of the most sought-out voices on magic and his lectures have grown near legendary.” This certainly pleased me, because studying the underpinnings of magic, treating it as an academic discipline besides as an art, has always captured my fancy.
I’ve started giving lectures at an early age, with much innocence and naiveté, but always with lots of passion and enthusiasm. A recent count revealed that I’ve given more than fifty completely different lectures in the past forty years, mostly on specific topics. This won’t even include the many presentations I’ve given on the occasion of the Jornadas Cartomagicas de El Escorial, the yearly get-together of the Escuela Magica de Madrid. The latter was founded by Juan Tamariz, together with Ascanio, in Madrid in 1971, inspired by André Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto and to this day remains magic’s only Think Tank. I’ve been one of only forty members since ca. 1980 and am glad I could contribute over decades to their superb magazine La Circular.
In the meantime I’ve written essays and columns for over fifty magic magazines, of which fourteen consecutive years for Genii.
Most readers will probably know me for my five volumes of Card College, which have quite unintentionally become the most widely translated magic books in history. However, my heart is also attached to the several other books, which carry in them a part of myself. Meanwhile I face the reality of having over 80 publications to my credit, including their translation into eight languages; this comprises a few electronic works, such as E-books and DVDs, with quite a few more in preparation.
Although as of today I wish I could make a living from writing, lecturing and coaching, But, alas, not even being one of the few best-selling authors in magic allows this. I still enjoy performing very much, due to my linguistic talents mostly for an international clientele, and as such have visited over 50 countries around the globe. I’m glad I’ve always made it a point that my clients pay one or two extra nights, so I could see the place, visit with local magicians and enjoy a good meal in town, gastronomy being one of my interests.
Part of my life was captured in “Il giardino dei giochi segreti”, a 50-minutes documentary by Swiss TV, and you can find it on the Internet. As part of my work for laypeople I also give interdisciplinary talks and workshops for industry managers on creativity, communication, and presentation. However, I feel particularly honored that magicians from China, the New World and all over Europe are now coming to seek out my advice and taking coaching lessons.
Meaning of Magic
Awards to me have always had a subordinate importance, but they have told me that I’m on the right track, and they’ve been a true encouragement to pursue a path, which requires a lot of work and dedication, without really being financially rewarding. In this sense, I was pleased when in 2012 the Academy of Magical Arts in Los Angeles gave me their Literary Fellowship, along with a lifetime membership of their uniquely wonderful Magic Castle, and in 2014 the prestigious Magic Circle of London bestowed upon me their John Nevil Maskelyne Award for Literature. Recently, in 2015, at the FISM World Congress of Magic in Rimini, they gave me their lifetime achievement award for “Theory & Philosophy”.
Dai Vernon used to say that in order to become good at anything, you have to devote your life to it. When at age fourteen I pulled that magic book from the public library’s shelf, and immediately fell in love with magic, I certainly didn’t realize that this was the door to my future. I have indeed dedicated my life to magic, without ever planning to become what I have become, but maybe because of this, things have turned out fine.
Card College by Roberto Giobbi
Obviously, Roberto Giobbi is famous for his world-renowned series of books called Card College– in fact, if you’ve ever heard of Moritz Mueller that was exactly how he got started in magic! His father (also a magician) gave it to him when he decided to take up magic as a major hobby.
And just to give you an idea of how much of a big deal Card College is, here’s a quote:
“The Card College books are the modern cornerstone of all of card magic.” (Gordon Bruce, 11th JAN 2015)
Many people debate whether or not it’s better to start with The Royal Road to Card Magic or Card College and in fact, EXCLUSIVE INFO INCOMING Giobbi gave us a definitive answer in an exclusive audio training where he said (paraphrasing): “They don’t even compare, Card College is far superior for anyone learning modern magic.”
In fact, he continued to explain that even when it came down to things such as the correct name for parts of your finger, Card College had The Royal Road thoroughly beat.
And we have to say… here at The Daily Magician we tend to agree with him.
Here’s a quick description from Roberto’s website on what you can expect to find in just volume one of Card college:
Card College Volume 1 as the first volume in this landmark course sets the groundwork for the rest of the series, beginning with a clear terminology, lessons on the proper ways to hold, deal and shuffle the cards, then progressing through many basic sleights and techniques, including perhaps the most thorough and revealing discussion of the classic force ever offered.
Along with the classics of card magic, Roberto Giobbi includes original ideas and refinements from his own repertoire, guaranteeing every reader, no matter how experienced, fresh techniques and insights into the performance of professional caliber card magic!
Some of the topics covered in Volume One include:
The Tools of Card Magic
The Overhand Shuffle
The Riffle Shuffle
The Double Lift
The Hindu Shuffle
The Spread Cull
The Top Change
The Key Card
To buy Card College head here: https://www.robertogiobbi.com/site/product/card-college-volume-1/
We hung up on Roberto Giobbi?
(This was taken from our email sent December 24th)
Last week, we had one of the most influential and respected magicians in the world—Roberto Giobbi—on an audio call.
Roberto is the author of the iconic Card College series—the most widely translated series of books in the history of magic.
Well, we were interviewing him for our podcast, Of Sleights and Men.
The only hiccup was…
…our ‘tech stack’ was seriously playing up!
We were midway through asking Roberto a deep, thoughtful question, when he interrupted us with the bone-chilling line:
“I can’t hear you. You’re breaking up.”
For whatever weird reason, the podcasting platform we were using was just having a real rough time of it.
We tried to figure it out between us, but the connection was just too choppy.
There was nothing for it…
…we braced ourselves, and told Roberto we would end this call and start up another one.
Man, that was scary.
We had potentially THE most respected magic author alive on a call with us…and we were hanging up on him??
Sure, he’d given us the go-ahead, but it still felt wrong.
Thankfully, to our absolute relief, our podcasting platform decided to play nice the second time around.
We were so grateful to be back on air with Roberto, that we tried our level best to ask him the most thought-provoking, interesting questions possible.
The result is the latest episode of our podcast—nearly 1 and half hours of fascinating discussion with Roberto Giobbi.
You can listen to this episode of the podcast either via your favorite podcast app. See the links below…
Roberto Giobbi Interview Transcript
Just for your pleasure, I decided to upload a brief transcript of the beginning of our podcast with Giobbi! (it was transcribed by a machine so there ARE mistakes…)
Hello, welcome back to Of sleights of men, uh, we’re very excited to have a special guest with us today, um, who I’m sure everyone has heard of. And that I think Benji is going to give, uh, a little brief introduction before we get started. Yeah. And then thankfully, um, I only really need to give a brief introduction because once I say this guy’s name, I’m pretty sure most of your brain’s going to light up and you’ll know exactly who this is.
We’re speaking with, um, gob, uh, who is, um, the author of the current college series. Um, one of the most widely published series of books in magic, definitely the standard for. Approaching and someone say mastering God magic. Um, but that’s not the only work. He has a love of, uh, incredible books. They don’t have switching decks, a secret agenda.
I’m sure we’ll get into some of these with Roberto in a minute. He’s also won Oh, waltz from FISM. The Academy of magical arts is, uh, is pretty much a, uh, how do I say giant in the magic oil world? And we’re very excited to ask him a few questions, um, which I think we’ll get into now. Yeah. So, uh, what’s uh, um, I want it to start quickly.
I saw, I read about how you, you know, you borrowed that book off the, um, the shelf in the library when you were 14 and that kind of started your magic journey, but I was interested, um, you, I read also that you, you, you studied, uh, kind of linguistics right at university. And so I wanted to ask what was the moment you knew, right.
That you needed to do magic full-time. So obviously you’ve gone to university, you’ve done extensive studies, but what, what was the moment where you decided that. Magic needed to be your, your primary passion. Good. You start with a big question. Both of you, Jacob and Benja hello. Everybody who listening to us.
Yes. Well, I certainly at the moment when I was 14 years old and pulled that book out of the public library shelf and looked at that hand with the four billiard balls that’s, uh, opened the door. Uh, to my future, but I did not know. Uh, so when did I know this is, was a progressive thing, because there are different terms for the, are you still with me because this is getting, yeah.
Okay. All right. So, um, uh, I became what you will probably call it a hobbyist. That magic was just, first of all, it was a hobby, very intense hobby. I must say that was a burst here. So when I was 14, 15, 16, 17, I already spent five, six hours a day. At least, at least that’s what my memory, uh, doing all kinds of tricks in these books, you know, that was smaller illusion.
Close up and using cups and cards. It was not yet a specialized with, with cards as an instrument. And then I, I would, you know, maybe when I was 18 or so I had my first, uh, uh, performance, little performance in a church Bazaar. So. I go to the state of maybe of amateur magician still. I would never dream of, uh, earning my life magic then, uh, you were in the, these I already got so, so here in the us, I finished my, what we would call high school at about age 19, uh, government and university, uh, about, uh, what you call college in the U S right.
Like 90, you should the end of nineties. So, uh, and then I get, get some small, serious, uh, um, Performances, you know, which were a little bit better paid. So I could say, I find and start to find finance part of my studies with magic, but still not thinking of doing magic. And then get you get to this part that Jean Anderson call or go call this.
The part-time professional, which is a term I liked a lot. Now I’m sure about it. Uh, as max Maman once said, would you like to have your T’s made by a part-time dentist almost assured by that term, but let’s keep, uh, keep that, keep that term to explain that. Then then in 1984, I finished my studies, which were in linguistics and literature.
In a, in a, in, in a, in a Italian, French, and, um, the English, I already spoke Spanish and German. So I have my five laptop. That’s right. So I stopped that’s when I started to work in a software company until 1988 and in 1986. That was two years into that job. I was, uh, uh, I was with a sunny, uh, software company who was a market leader at that time.
It was called Autodesk and they, they were the inventors of AutoCAD, which a few of our listeners will know is still. Must still be one of the leading cat com uh software’s you know, drawings. Yeah. At that time it was two dimensional then. Uh, and that’s when I first went to my boss in 86 and said, well, uh, Rudolph, that was his name.
I think I have to quit. Uh, because I, you know, I, I think I need to do magic. And he said, well, why don’t you stay with. For four days instead of five days. So you have an extra day in your, during the week and we can leave you when you have to go to conventions and have weekly make arrangements. So it stayed another two years and, uh, Yeah.
So th that was quite transitional, isn’t it? So it was not a decision from one day to the 1988. I participated at Faisal in the Hague and, uh, I’d won a prize in, uh, in card magic. And that, you know, in the small country of Switzerland, it’s easier. Yeah, no about you. So I got into, uh, The most important Saturday evening TV show.
Uh, it was not enough to make me famous because at that time it was already a lot of TV channels. So. The time was over, you know, 10 years before or 15 years before in Switzerland, there were only two TV channels. You went on to a show. You will be his famous next day, 98, 88. It was not, but, but it did. Uh, deter make me, you know, increase my determination.
And I went again and I said, well, I have to go. He said, all I knew, and that was the, do you know where I still have the option? You know, I still said, well, how is it going? You know, because you can never know when you do this fantastic step in hindsight, it’s not, but at the moment, and I have a safe job earning for my age, a very good salary, or than, than most of my colleagues who had finished the study with me.
I was just lucky though, because not because I was good, it was just, I was lucky because it was the software. Seeing which at that time, you know, like eight floppy disks and the handbook for $8,000,
it was quite incredible. So, so I said, well, even if I don’t get one, uh, one performance, one gig
for a year, I can still make a comfortable living. And then they will take me back, you know, because I was. Good enough with what I was doing. And I like let people like me, but the moment I made that step, I really never looked back. And that’s now what’s that? That’s now 33 years, right? 88, 21 that’s uh, 33 years.
And, uh, I’ve started out as just performing. And then I started to do it, you know, being interested into academically in magic about, uh, you know, it’s 90% below the ice, you know, the iceberg, if you look from outside, you see 10%, but if you are in the profession, You’re you’re busy with the 90% underneath people.
Don’t see. So I’ve already at that time, but I didn’t have that metaphor. I was interested in that. So I started to do two the lectures or the copy too. So I started to writing to write a few articles, you know, for magazine. The first lecture though, my first book was that in 86, I think in German. Um, what’s called cart.
Perfect tip. Cause at that time it wasn’t software. You might remember, but maybe you’re too young. It was called word. Perfect. You remember that? There was a software like word today though, but it was a desktop, the desktop publishing, uh, just, uh, How do you call it the writing software? You know, like, yeah.
So it was called effect and it had this peculiar spelling with capital w and dub capital P work. Yeah. So I sold, I buy, I write the book called cart. Perfect. I like it. It’s just an additional 500. That was my first book. Yeah. Wow. That was a long question to show that.
No, it’s interesting. I had no idea you’d worked in a software company. What was your cause? It’s not quite what your mind jumps to when you think of robots. Adobe is a software company, but, but now you’ve got an interested, what was your role in the software company? Because it seems like going from linguistics and literature to software is an interest in germs.
Yeah, the thing is even more curious if you think that, uh, I had no talent whatsoever for natural sciences and math and chemistry and physics and I, my college was mathematical natural science. Saying, you know, which was between I sort of wasted of my time. I really never understood really most of the things they will be telling me I was very good at languages.
So, uh, but that was the, the wrong high school. But at the end of the high school, uh, I picked up this linguistics study, which of course was very difficult because at that time that has changed now, but you required Latin as that. Re and Latin and I did not have it because I had this, uh, thing, uh, this mathematical.
Right. Well sciences. So I have to pick up Latin again. And, um, and then for some reason I changed it to translate through and interpret the school and just finished my studies there. So in the software company, I did the translation. So that was it wasn’t because in an area that was not familiar to me, however, practically everybody in that company.
Well, it’s not familiar with that because at that time, you know, we talked to Nate, 84, very few people have the clue. Uh, it was an up and coming business. Cat cam was, they all came in. Even the programmers had no idea about that. They have to learn, everybody was learning. Everyone was learning a different sort of language.
Right. So I was concerned with translation. My first job was to translate the darn thing from, from English to. Two German. Of course, you know, the, the instruct the handbook was all red, black screen pages. That’s a very specialized vocabulary as well. It’s when you, you know, you come from your studies, your studies like six years, almost all the thing.
And then you are, you’re there like in a desert and you say, God, this is, I have to learn everything from scratch. These words exist them. I have to make up. You know, we ate the terminology.
The, you know, my books, I called college, uh, being translated in Korean and Japanese and Chinese and my Chinese publisher TCC said, well, we have to invent some signs because if you take the. The one, actually the Japanese, any of the Asian languages additions, you will have proper names. Like , uh, recommend that in Latin letters and not letters.
So I’m not in day or in their own writing because they don’t exist. So that’s, that’s very funny, but when I received, I think it was the Korean translation. I find I found 21 typos and I write back and I said, I found 21 tighter. So the guys thinks, but you’re joking. You can’t read our language in the proper names, you know, in the title
thought I wouldn’t be surprised you did just then around unsafe. Yeah. So to answer your question. Yes, I was, uh, I was doing the, the linguistic part of, yeah. Yeah. When I left at 19, when I came in, we were seven people. And when I left in 1988, we were 90 people, this to the back. Wow. So you were writing on the top, you understand how much more difficult it was for me to leave?
So it was really. Not a decision, uh, where you, you know, if you get hassled and your job is lousy and you get a little pay, it’s easier. I quit. But every seat was very good and I quit nonetheless. So, uh, that’s, uh, that’s the best move I made in my life. But again, you know, I’m being asked by so many young, younger people.
And now it’s with 61, you know, I’ve been asked a lot in the past decades, should they become a professional and things like that. Right? Cause that’s, that’s a difficult thing to answer because it’s, the economies are so different. Uh, as we know, uh, in every country, So, did you become a professional in the USA or become a professional in Finland or become a professional in Switzerland is a
I don’t know which country you pick, you know, can be a totally different thing. But we are in a totally different topic, but that’s what is nice about magic? It’s so incredibly network, they have a metaphor for magic is that’s like a, uh, a diamond, you know, diamond, diamond has faceted facets facets. Yes.
Yes. Every facet of the diamond links to a topic of real life. And it’s really, we talk about anything and we will find that it reflects itself, you know, that this topic be it architecture of psychology filmmaking or whatever you like is reflected in magic and magic is reflected in those, uh, topics as well.
You know, it’s like, uh, the fractals. The moms abroad set, you know, the fractals were one element of the fractal contains the whole advice in infinitely. Yeah, I love that. Actually. That was one of the quotes that I’ve actually wanted to bring up with you. So thank you so much for jumping the gun with me on that one.
I actually, I have a quote from you right here. Yeah. And it’s basically what you just said, and I wanted to actually want to ask you about it. Cause I think it’s super interesting. You said I’ve come to appreciate the magic is like a multifaceted diamond. Every facet connects to a discipline of life, regardless of whether you look at other arts, psychology, sociology.
Uh, the craft SKUs denomination, gardening architectures teaching, or have you, it is reflected in magic, similar to a fractal, like you said, the reflects a pattern of the whole in every detail. So I thought that was a beautiful quote. Um, and I wanted to know kind of. Um, can you elaborate basically? I mean, I don’t know much that might make it easier for both.
So if I phrase it this way, so one of the things we’d like to do when we have the guests on is, um, we asked them about, uh, maybe a hobby of theirs or a pursuit in their life that. They, uh, has nothing to do with magic, you know, so when we had Andy Gladwin on the other week, we asked him about his career in programming.
Um, and let me ask, is this, you picked up while you were doing programming that you’ve been able to help give you this kind of unique advantage in the way you approach magic. So we’re both, you know, we’ve talked a little bit about linguistics, uh, academia, philosophy, translation. Um, we could go into any one of those, but let’s say for example, translation.
Is there anything that you learned by the process of translation that then when it came to any aspect of my Greek word, rich write new books, you know, translate an ideas real mind onto the paper performance, you know, stuff you were able to borrow from that I think, um, in harmony with the quote you just use before you really learn something from everything and from translating, of course, it’s, uh, um, You learn the academic approach.
First of all, that’s an advantage if you, if you go to the college that is looking at the taxonomy, looking that things have categories and subcategories and sub sub categories and that they need to be named. So there is terminology. So that certainly is something, but that’s. Independent of the subject use you studying the particular thing of, of linguistics of course, is that it has to do with interpretation.
So you use is a way of, uh, actually when you, when you, uh, when you were writing translation, let’s say you have a, you have an expression, typically are metaphorical expressions. If you say the English says, this is not my cup of tea, the Germans would have say, this is not my beer. Right. Okay. So you urea you realize that, uh, and this reflects itself in, for instance, in humor.
If, if, if you are using a line in your. In your, in Iraq and you change culture, or you do it in another language at the same line might not get the same reaction that LA because totally different connection. People have emotional and cultural way to this, uh, to this particular line. So the translation of teaches you that, uh, Every reality, the person creates in his mind is a personal one and does not necessarily coincide with the truth.
Which is actually what we are doing when we are doing matching. You know, if I trapped a Corrine in my left hand using a French drop or something, I know exactly what I’m doing. I have a reality, but the reality I have to construct in the spectators mind is a completely different one, which would be.
Eventually lead or we hope so lead them across the rainbow to use another metaphor by Tamariz or leads them into Wonderland or across the mirror, whichever metaphor you want to use. And that’s of course that’s also a translation, right? Because you have translation is transformation. A transformation is the basis of, uh, of.
Of everything of every moment you perceive, you hear or see something, you are transforming it, you’re translating it in your mind because you want to understand it, that create the reality. So you see, you would get into actual psycholinguistic, which is a specialized branch of linguistics, but really it’s a, yeah.
So at that time, and of course the best thing was that, uh, That of course having access or mastering six languages gave me access professionally speaking to many types of shows. All those could not do, but you imagine you have a Swiss bank Russ with chemistry car, uh, enterprise. They would, they would have an international convention as very hard to, uh, A book, a dance band because 95%, I think still nowadays are men.
So it couldn’t dance. There was very difficult to book a comedian because a comedian would speak. You know, and then so most people wouldn’t understand it because they come from from different parts of the world and I could do what, uh, well, corporal Tassie has done before me very successfully, or Danny Ray do mom, my show in five languages.
So that, that was a very practical, uh, coincidence in a way that gift they was given. Because I did the studies.
There truly isn’t much to say other than that we affirm that this man is the living legend people prescribe him to be!
Go check out his work and make sure to learn at the feet of a living Magic Master!
Our hats go off to you for all your work Roberto Giobbi and as one, we thank you 🙂