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Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin: The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin Paperback – December 1, 1987


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 209 pages
  • Publisher: Octagon Press, Limited (December 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0863040403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863040405
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"... a rare gift: healing laughter." -- New Society, November 10, 1966

"... the vitality of this figure is shown by his capacity to spawn new tales in whatever culture..." -- Critics' Choice, Observer, December 16, 1973

"Extremely useful in teaching students about management and computers." -- Thomas Malone, MIT

"It presents a blueprint of the human mental structure." -- Robert Ornstein, Ph.D.

From the Publisher

"Perfectly designed models for isolating and holding distortions of the mind which so often pass for reasonable behavior." -- Idries Shah

Today we find him in a high-level physics report, illustrating phenomena that can't be described in ordinary technical terms. He appears in psychology textbooks, illuminating the workings of the mind in a way no straightforward explanation can.

Here, in three definitive volumes, Idries Shah takes us to the very heart of this mysterious mentor, the Mulla Nasrudin. Skillful contemporary retellings of hundreds of collected stories and sayings bring the unmistakable -- often backhanded -- wisdom, wit and charm of the timeless jokester to life.

The Mulla and his stories appear in literature and oral traditions from the Middle East to Greece, Russia, France -- even China. Many nations claim Nasrudin as a native son, the Turks going so far as to exhibit a grave with his date of death as 386. But nobody really knows who he was or where he came from.

According to a legend dating from at least the 13th century, Nasrudin was snatched as a schoolboy from the clutches of the "Old Villain" -- the crude system of thought that ensnares man -- to carry through the ages the message of how to escape. He was chosen because he could make people laugh, and humor has a way of slipping through the cracks of the most rigid thinking habits.

Today -- as they have for centuries -- the Sufis use these stories as teaching exercises, in part to momentarily "freeze" situations in which states of mind can be recognized. In these delightful volumes, Shah not only gives the Mulla a proper vehicle for our times, he proves that the centuries-old stories and quips of Nasrudin are still some of the funniest jokes in the world. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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Customer Reviews

Reading this book is an exercise that feels like indulgence.
af2887@wayne.edu
His views, often twisted, very often completely at odds with his surroundings, are also very pragmatic, and make perfect sense in his mind.
Mark Pollock
The stories are teaching stories, and they can be very amusing, thoughtful, and thought stimulating, all at once.
David

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
Each one of Idries Shah's three delightful Nasrudin books - The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin, the Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin and The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin - is not only the perfect gift for any thinking person with a sense of humor, but a fitting antidote to the stress, pressure and confusion of modern life. For beyond the laughter lie deeper levels of meaning that reveal themselves at their own pace and can help broaden our perception and increase our understanding. The bite-sized jokes center around Mulla Nasrudin, an age-old Middle Eastern teaching figure whose antics mirror those of the human mind as he juggles the roles of wise man, fool and our own self. Calling these jokes "perfectly designed models for isolating and holding distortions of the mind which so often pass for reasonable behavior," author Idries Shah notes that they have been used for centuries by the Sufis as teaching exercises. Other specialists - from physicists to psychologists - have employed them to illustrate concepts that defy more straightforward explanations. I've not seen anything like them anywhere else.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Booklover on January 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm just back from a trip to Turkey, where I discovered that Mulla Nasrudin is almost as popular as PEANUTS is in the United States. In addition to providing amusement, however, the Nasrudin stories are also used there as exercises for spiritual development with children and adults alike, since they externalize in joke form common patterns of human thought and behavior that need to be identified and understood in order for a human being to make progress. Thus, the Turks, and interested Western readers as well, can laugh
and learn, both at once, from these ancient Middle Eastern anecdotes.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is the perfect antidote for a mind that is caught up in its own world, ignorant of the possibilities that lie beyond its confines. The delightful stories bring to light those antics of the mind that distort vision. Once these inadequate mentations are exposed, the process of thinking becomes clearer and less muddled with speculation and confusion. I think any one who is interested in discovering within oneself the method for sifting fact from fiction will find these stories invaluable. In addition, the reader, freed from the strictures that bind ordinary thought, gets a glimpse of a greater world with greater freedom and greater potential.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ed Frierson on August 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
Idries Shah is the most articulate of those writing about the tradition and work of the Sufis. Should you read other of his books, you will learn that Nasrudin is much more than the town clown or the butt of the ordinary man's humor. In the Sufi sense that "wisdom is hidden" from those who lead somewhat superficial lives, Nasrudin's form of wisdom is especially obscure. You see, according to Shah, Nasrudin IS a joke! He is not the object of jokes nor the teller of jokes. Rather, as the Court Jester of another era, the FOOL is the only one in many situations who is able to see the "truth." By understanding Nasrudin, the seeker adds a deeper grasp of reality, the way things really are, to his or her own perception. Failing that, the reader simply has a ball reading these wonderful anecdotes. It is not Nasrudin who is revealed in this book. It is the reader. Because there are even better stories in other of Shah's books, I rate this collection "Four Stars" rather than five. Who knows, the laugh may be on me?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
Each one of Idries Shah's three delightful Nasrudin books - The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin, The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin and The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin - is not only the perfect gift for any thinking person with a sense of humor, but a fitting antidote to the stress, pressure and confusion of modern life. For beyond the laughter lie deeper levels of meaning that reveal themselves at their own pace and can help broaden our perception and increase our understanding. The bite-sized jokes center around Mulla Nasrudin, an age-old Middle Eastern teaching figure whose antics mirror those of the human mind as he juggles the roles of wise man, fool and our own self. Calling these jokes "perfectly designed models for isolating and holding distortions of the mind which so often pass for reasonable behavior," author Idries Shah notes that they have been used for centuries by the Sufis as teaching exercises. Other specialists - from physicists to psychologists - have employed them to illustrate concepts that defy more straightforward explanations. I've not seen anything like them anywhere else.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "bodymindbeyond" on July 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Mulla Nasrudin is akin to a Central Asian Charlie Brown or Dilbert. If you like humor that's funny, relevant and meaningful, this is for you.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark Pollock on July 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
The trend during the last few years towards stories about stupid people brought us such non-classics (but entertaining reads) as "The 776 Stupidest Things Ever Said", "The Darwin Awards", and others. But what few people know is that such stories were circulating 1000 years ago in the Sufi storytelling tradition.
These stories are the equivalent of our "Urban Legends". Oddly enough, as I read this, I wish that I could view the world in such simple ways as the Mulla Nasrudin, who is the character in all these stories. His views, often twisted, very often completely at odds with his surroundings, are also very pragmatic, and make perfect sense in his mind.
These stories are tremendous fun, and rather thought-provoking.
Enjoy!
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