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on 1 February 2006
The Source Book of Magic co-authored by Michael Hall PhD and Barbara Belnap M.S.W., is in my opinion, the best book Michael Hall has written. It contains all the NLP protocols and processes, known at the time of printing; though that is a generalisation and I'm sure there were, and certainly are others now.
This book is essentially the trail of techniques that stem from the attitude and methodology espoused by Richard Bandler, one of the developers of NLP. Although some of the processes originate from the early days of NLP, they are still very valid and worth adding to anyone's toolbox of change and influence.
As an NLP Trainer, and having taught full 120 hours contact time Practitioner courses, I know, that even after that length of time, there are still powerful, effective skills and processes that we cannot cover. This book provides the practitioner and above, with a ready source of tools and techniques to add to their already extensive repertoire.
For this reason, "The Source Book of Magic" is, and will remain, a recommended reference book on our courses.
I have an older edition of the book, and the one thing I would have liked included, is an index by process and originator of the various patterns; having said that, it is still clear, concise and accessible and possibly the best value for money NLP reference book available.
Alan Jones
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on 13 February 2007
I actually proof-edited the second edition of the book and really enjoyed reading again the numerous patterns collected together in one place. However, these are outlines of patterns that work in 'perfect scenerios' in my opinion and NLP is far too powerful to be messed around with using step by step guidance when you don't know what to do if something goes wrong. For example, I know of someone who, after using the timeline material (from another book) became sucidally depressed after loosing his future time line! I also know that given the working of meta-states you can understand why someone starts crying when you ask them to access happy experiences but not necessarily when you know just NLP. Don't get me wrong - I shall be reading this excellent refresher in preparation for my trainers training BUT I do not reccomend it for learning NLP per se. Go on a course or read Introducing NLP by John Seymour and O'Connor. Then get together in a practice group with a more experienced practitioner.
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on 17 January 2005
Those of you who missed the 1st edition of this excellent book, there is now a second chance to pick up this modern classic.

The premise of the work is that many NLP books are available that contain, within extensive "padding", only a few patterns, some books just one or two. Hall achieves his goal of separating the wheat from the chaff admirably with all the objectivity of a Haynes car manual leaving this pragmatic work refreshingly academic yet accessible. Like a cookbook it is reference driven allowing the practitioner access to these powerful patterns without the contingency of having to wade into battle against the author's literary aspirations.

What are these patterns?
Most of these patterns are primarily action orientated, simple exercises to be run through step by step with regard to specific ends. The other few are, more fundamentally, explanations of NLP assumptions, such as the principle of well formed outcomes.

Hall begins by introducing the reader to an overview of NLP and levels-of-processing that is indispensable, as within the instructions to the patterns he falls back on a few technical concepts with out further explanation, such as "test and future pace".

Then we come the patterns themselves, organised roughly according to their level of processing, the book allows you to easily select a pattern for your goal. Included patterns are; collapsing anchors, resolving internal conflict, chaining states, becoming intentionally compelled, responding to criticism, healthy eating, spinning icons.....

The second edition adds to the first; some simplification of the procedures and a little more detail as to the cognitive / behavioural mechanisms used in the patterns, and a deserved revision of the introduction. In the first (and second) edition Hall asserts that there may be as many as 200 distinct patterns and surely some that haven't been invented (or should that be discovered?) yet. So I was expecting some new patterns in the 2nd ed. but it's the original 77.
I don't know how I would start to define the distinction of a unique pattern (as opposed to a variant) anyway. I find it unlikely that at a computational - cognitive level there are 200 modes of action, so it's safe to assume the all of the building blocks are here for you. Hall hints that, a list of patterns touted as "exhaustive", would promote dogma and stagnate inventive development, through his legitimate assertion that all the patterns are largely prototypical and are easily extended and adapted.

Without being overly complex, this book is dense.How to Live in the Here and Now: A Guide to Accelerated Enlightenment, Unlocking the Power of Mindful Awareness
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 June 2009
I bought this book recently, and even working on the first pattern, I noticed a significant mental shift, when I ran the pattern through my own neurology. I have used that pattern many times, and just feel very calm. It could also be called the Law of Attraction pattern.

A complaint of many NLP books is that they are difficult to read or the concepts are difficult to grasp. I can assure that this book is not difficult to follow, if you have a basic grasp of NLP. I highly recommend it.

I hope you find this review helpful.
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VINE VOICEon 23 February 2008
The Sourcebook of Magic is more of a reference book that is best suited to augmenting other NLP works. At 380 pages it is comprehensive and if you're serious about NLP should definitely be on your book shelf, but I wouldn't recommend it as a starting point. It would be very difficult to apply the techniques in this book without reading the more accessible works on NLP. If you know what an NLP change pattern is, you should probably buy this book, if not, I'd go for NLP - The Technology of Achievement.
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This may be due to my own ignorance of the subject, and perhaps people more familiar with NLP knew exactly what to expect.

I thought it would be a description of metaprograms and how to identify these patterns in yourself and other people. Instead it reads like a sort of hynotherapy handbook, providing scripts that are apparently useful in therapy for changing unwanted behaviours.

Even assuming this is what you want (a series of hypnotherapy-type behaviour change scripts), there's a lot of repetition from one script to the next. I'd've thought the could've been truncated by about 200 pages if he replaced them with a single, "fill in the blank" type script, with a table telling you what to put in the blanks for particular behaviours.
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on 3 June 2009
for anyone who is already familiar with NLP and is looking for a recipe book of techniques then look no further than this one. Containing all the techniques you could ever possibly need it also explores meta-programme questioning and values. Very good and a must to anyone who is setting up as an NLP Practitioner
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on 29 December 2013
This book is not for the beginner. I bought it and read whilst new to NLP
and got very little out of it. Then I went on an NLP Master Practitioners course
and came back to the book, and it made soooo much more sense!

It's very comprehensive, and content rich. So, a great reference book for NLP councilors,
but not for someone who's just starting out in the field.
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on 20 December 2010
It is essentially a collection of NLP techniques. They are quite easy to understand and practice on yourself and others.
It is not a beginner's guide to NLP. I generally think that the techniques are the best thing about NLP as a lot of the theory seems to be just made up and also very "pseudo-scientific."
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on 13 July 2015
Excellent book, prompt delivery
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