The Show Is The Mother Of Invention Book

Advice On Packing Small, Playing Big, And Living Large

From Genii Magazine’s review:

The props for 2+ hours of stand up comedy magic are inside this carryon case. It’s my go to case for theaters, corporate events, and cruise ships.


“The Show Is The Mother of Invention was the book that got me fired up the most in 2023.
Steve Seguin

“When an experienced road warrior like Doc Dixon speaks, I listen. This book has so much incredible information about every aspect of performing. Not just how to pack and what to perform, but about how you present and perform more effectively. I have been a performing magician for over sixty years and I learned so much that I will be applying to my own performances. This could well be the most important, life-changing book you will read. It should be required reading for every magician planning to perform in the real world. Seriously, this is a tremendous book that made me think…a lot. This is pure gold!”
Marc DeSouza

“… the book — so good! (and well-timed as my beloved show bag bit the dust in the middle of a cruise and I’m in the process of searching for the next one and so a good time to step back and really think through how to make it my own and get it to fit my show)…also, Chicago Closer is phenomenal!
Nathan Coe Marsh

Love the book! Both routines are super solid, too!!”
Tim Hannig

“Hi Doc I loved your book and I loved it so much that I’m putting a new show together for carry on ! Both Adult and children’s show. I’ve been carrying a lafler table around for years and it’s starting to get too heavy lol … thanks !!”
Brent Smith

“I’m reading the Chicago Closer now and giggling at it.
It’s SO GOOD!”
Bill Cook

“The book is amazing, man. Everyone needs to read it. I honestly think it would shave off a lot of years of learning for a new act”
Matt Disero

“It’s a good book. Instead of doing the same store-bought routines as everybody else (dare I say the lazy short-cut) Doc talks about principles to make any trick play bigger.”
Ryan Pilling

“If you heard a weird sound this morning, that was me applauding after finishing your book. Scholarly works are nice, but it doesn’t replace the veteran who spit wisdom to the lesser experienced hanging out at a magic shop or elsewhere; it is sorely needed like your book did, and a it was a breath of fresh air. Great job again.
Al Hastings

“And magicians, Doc Dixon released a new book on packing small and playing big. I drove 4 hours to see his pack in a carry on, 90 minute show for 400 adults. He killed. This book is a gift to workers …my Mom was a librarian. I respect books and hold them holy from years of familial osmosis. But your book has sooo many gems that I couldn’t help dog earing pages for future reference. The problem is there are now fewer read pages without dog ears than with!”
Alyx Hilshey

Here’s a screen cap from the VERY FIRST blog post at Dixon Magic on January 13, 2020:

That wasn’t the last Dixon Magic post to touch on packing small & playing big. It’s been a topic that’s run through many of the posts on this site and two of our favorite routines – Reign Man and Maweege. Packing small & playing big starts with a show where all the props fit in a carryon case.

Back around 2010 I was performing my 90 minute theater show. I flew in for the gig and all my props fit in my carryon bag. One of the audience members was an amateur magician who told me a few minutes before the show he had done some magic for the group. He was gracious and affable. I asked him, “What kind of magic do you do?”

He replied, “Card sword. Zig Zag.”
“Nice,” I thought as I glanced at my prop case.

I do my show. It goes very well. I chat with the amateur magician after the show. He was gracious and complimentary. He looks at my prop bag, shakes his head, and says, “You killed. Ninety minutes out of that bag. Wow.”

Not knowing exactly what to say, I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Well, I have been doing this a while.” And I had and still do.

That happens frequently. Many magicians have a desire to, say it with me, “pack flat and play big.” Two hours of material that fits in a carryon case is the definition of that.

It happens online, too. I’ll post the semi-obligatory and self-promotional, “it’s off to be the wizard” pic, which for me is typically my hat perched on my luggage at the airport. I’ll mention my show props are in the carryon case. And in that thread or in a private message it’s not uncommon to see a question asking …

But many magicians want to “pack flat and play big,” but they don’t know how to start.

I’m not the only one to troupe a show like this, but I’m pretty sure I’m the first person to devote 108 pages and 40 chapters to exploring the topic and sharing in detail how to make that small case play BIG.

It’s not only about tricks. It’s about
magnifying & fortifying.
It’s gotta play to the back of the room”

It’s more than picking small tricks. It’s picking the props and routines that fit and doing things to magnify and fortify your performance.


5. Fewer props can play more venues.
It can fit in the smallest room. And with the lesson shared in this book, it can play to the biggest room. Flying to a show becomes a much easier option.

4. What the heck are these “magician tables” in real life anyway?
Some of these magician tables weigh as much as forty-five pounds …empty. That’s more than TWICE my carryon case FILLED. No disrespect intended if you use one or more of these, but there’s a better and easier path to take. This one case path will be a much better showcase for your talents.

3. It worked for magic greats including Emil Jarrow, Paul Rosini, Roy Benson, Harry Anderson, and the wonderful Scott Alexander.
And with effort and the smarts in this book, it can work for you, too. Playing to the back of the room isn’t about big props or a lot of props. After all, a great stand up comic just needs a microphone. It’s about planning, preparing and presenting properly. It’s about incorporating the methods and choices to make the show play to the back of the room. That’s what this book teaches.

2. Stairs and airports.
If you don’t understand this point, trust me, you will after your thirty-fifth birthday.

1. Less props can equal more YOU and a BETTER show.
Yes, you’ll learn how to present a better show from a carryon case.
More importantly, You’ll learn how to present a better show PERIOD.

“SO HOW??”

My new book,
The Show Is The Mother Of Invention,
shares the how.

A few of the topics inside:
Decide Why You Want To Do This
Choosing The Right Case
What To Pack In It
Your Biggest Prop
The Biggest Prop At The Venue
How To Magnify Your One Case Show
How To Fortify Your One Case Show
Resources For Your One Case Show
Pack small / play BIG routines
108 pages and 40 chapters

The Show Is The Mother Of Invention was written from over twenty years of professional experience, and is now available for your show.
In stock. Ready to ship.


Inside the book in the Resources page is a link to a video discussion with Michael Misko, good friend, talented cruise ship magician, and devotee of the pack small & play big lifestyle.

Recently, in a bunker 1000 feet below the Arctic Circle, fortified with only good bourbon and great beef jerky, Michael Misko, good buddy, talented magician, and brother in the world of pack small & play BIG, got together on Zoom with yours truly, for an insightful, and at times hilarious, discussion packed with verbs and nouns of all things pack small & play big.

It was scheduled for 30 minutes.

It went over an hour.

It’s like sitting in with two old road warriors (OK, one not so old — who likes to make cracks about the Old Man’s age, you punk …anyway …these two guys talk about what REALLY matters.)

This is not a speech or polished presentation. It’s some nitty, gritty, with an occasional moment of inspired smarts that even we didn’t see coming.



US orders The Show Is The Mother Of Invention is only $40 plus $7 s&h.  

International orders The Show Is The Mother Of Invention is only $40 plus $20 s&h

PS: While you’re here, be sure check out two of my favorite pack small & play big routines, Reign Man and Maweege.