Dying to Change, Larry Hass, 2019
- Larry Hass tells the story of how he transformed from Philosophy Professor to Professional Magician.
- Detailed lessons about what is required to be a full-time magician in the world today.
- Volume 4 of the celebrated book series, ASTONISHING ESSAYS, from Vanishing Inc. Magic.
In 2006, Dr. Lawrence Hass did the unthinkable. He left his job as a tenured professor to pursue magic as a full-time profession. Against the odds, his magic career is thriving, and his is overjoyed with his second career.
"I've learned a lot through this life change, about myself certainly, but also about magic as a pursuit and a profession," Larry says in his introduction to Dying to Change. "I have ideas to share about what magic is as an entertainment and as an art form, and about what is required to perform it successfully."
Magic books usually deal with card stacks and finger positions for sleights. Dying to Change is about magic, but it is also about life.
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As someone who shares an uncannily similar path with Larry (e.g. we both felt a calling to a different art form when in our mid-30's, yet wishing to bring parts of the old with us), it was inspiring to read his story. To know that, as an artistically creative person, you're not alone in rumbling with finding purpose and meaning through your art. Re-defining our identity as either a philosopher, magician or artist, is a time of painful transition and Larry's story describes this in brutal honesty.
I read this book in one sitting and immediately began scribbling pages of notes; nuggets of gold sprinkled through these pages. As a philosophy teacher, Larry's writing is clear and always begs you to stop and question your own beliefs.
I cannot rate this small treasure of a book highly enough. It found me at the perfect time and whether you're a semi or full-time pro, an enthusiastic hobbyist or occasional performer, you'll find so much in this book to make you reflect on your own journey as a magician. I'd say it points to things higher still and asks us to question where we find our own purpose in our lives. This is not a constant, as Larry's story makes clear, so revisiting and redefining our goals, our meaning, our purpose and even ourselves, is a necessary duty as we continue to grow on the path of the magician.