The New Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnotism by Ormond McGill
This book is truly an encyclopedia which includes not only a wealth of information about Stage Hypnosis but a whole variety of techniques and principles that are applicable to any hypnosis situation. This book includes information about how hypnosis works, hypnotic principles that apply to any situation, a whole chapter dedicated to 100 ways to getting someone into hypnosis, and it even shows you how to hypnotize a chicken. Note: Even those hypnotists who are not interested in doing any stage work should read this book! Take my word for it, it is one of the best out there.
Hypnotherapy by Dave Elman
Elman was a pioneer in the art of medical hypnosis, and this historical classic explores not only the Dave Elman Induction, but shows a wealth of other hypnotic techniques like using hypnosis as an adjunct to chemical anesthesia, as a tool for impotence and frigidity, and using hypnosis to eliminate stuttering. It’s worth it to read this book just to get inside the mind of one of the legendary hypnotists of the past, as well as learn a lot of useful techniques.
Uncommon Therapy by Jay Haley
This book quite simply blows my mind. Jay Haley provides a detailed account of Ericksonian hypnosis, and tells quite a few stories of how Milton Erickson performed his work. This is where you’ll find a lot of the examples of how to interact with a person, as well as information breaking down the structure of that communication and demystifying it so that you can use it. If you are a person who hopes to do any sort of therapy or coaching or to help people in their lives using hypnosis, this book is an absolute gold-mine of information.
The Ronning Guide to Modern Stage Hypnosis by Geoff Ronning
If you’re in for the par to learn stage hypnosis or want to be a professional stage hypnotist, I suggest checking out this book. Geoffrey Ronning has put together a very comprehensive guide on specifically how to perform a stage hypnosis show, how to get bookings, what happens if it all goes wrong, and tons of motivation. Although this book is mostly for stage hypnotists and it’s content is geared 90% towards that audience, if you do street hypnosis or even if you are just looking for a good suggestibility test to add onto your repetiore, this book will fulfill those needs.
Influence by Robert Cialdini
I do believe I’ve quoted this book about a hundred times in instructing various events and seminars over the years. Cialdini was a guy who always fell for scams; if someone showed up and gave him a fancy sales pitch, he had to buy it. He got very curious as to why he always fell for these gambits, and began a length research procedure which now has been very well documented in his book. Most hypnotists have probably already read this book, but if you haven’t, order a copy. It’s very interesting reading.
Applied Hypnosis and Hyperempiria by Don Gibbons
Probably my second most quoted book is this one, and usually I’ll just reference the book and tell people to go get it. This book by Don Gibbons is an accurate and realistic portrayal of what hypnosis is and what it isn’t. He talks about how hypnosis has been associated with sleep over the years, and how hyperempiria is actually the opposite of that, but that we use essentially the same process to get people into both states. As a bonus for this book, you learn how to take people into hyperempiric states of consciousness which can be very fun to play with. I’m always surprised at how many hypnotists haven’t even heard of hyperempiria or some of the other states that we have available to us. This is a must-read.
Reframing by Richard Bandler and John Grinder
Reframing is a critical part of working with people and yet some of us know so little about it. A caller’s objections or a client’s misperceptions both have to be reframed and put into their proper light. People who are talented in the art of reframing are perceived as smarter, they make more money, and their clients have better results. This book shows you how to do it, along with giving you lots of techniques and understandings. It is a transcript of a live seminar that Bandler and Grinder did, but do not be fooled, this is one amazing book. I highly recommend picking up a copy.
Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D., by John Grinder, Judith DeLozier, and Richard Bandler
Another great book by Bandler and Grinder, this one also by Judith DeLozier, is the book that introduced the concept of the Milton Model in NLP. If you’re not familiar, Richard Bandler and John Grinder spent 9 months studying Milton Erickson and watching his videotapes. The very core essence of his patterns, called the Milton Model, is now taught in 1 day in NLP practitioner trainings. There’s two volumes to the series, and they are both great, although difficult to get through. It’s not light reading, but I think it’s time well spent. Great book.
My Voice Will Go With You by Sidney Rosen
The subtitle of this book is “The Teaching Tales of Milton Erickson” and this one can be a lot of fun to read. These are some of the stories that Erickson used to tell people when hypnotizing them or before hypnotizing them. If you want to be fascinated with just how smart this guy was, read a couple of his stories and you might find yourself drifting off. Erickson was amazing at metaphor and relating concepts together, and Sidney Rosen does a fantastic job in this book cutting to the core of what we want to know. This should be in your library!
Trancework by Michael Yapko
Trancework is a comprehensive guide to learning the fundamentals of clinical hypnosis. Although Yapko is mostly an Ericksonian-style hypnotist, he provides step-by-step instructions for getting things done in hypnosis. The book is also grounded firmly in research and pragmatism, and provides a great introduction to the art of hypnosis which you should re-read every couple of years to find out what you missed the first time.