"... a collection of diamonds ... incredibly well-crafted, multifaceted ... likely to endure in the manner of the Koran and the Bible." -- Professor Robert E. Ornstein, Ph.D., Psychology Today, July 1973
"... challenges our intellectual assumptions at almost every point." -- The Observer
"... equal, and sometimes surpass, in relevance, piquancy and humour, the best of the spiritual and ethical teachers of the West ..." -- Kirkus Review, November 5, 1969
"... some really cracking tales ... full of wit, sophistication, irony and commonsense ... completely absorbing." -- Northern Despatch, October 20, 1967
"... these teaching-tales could become a permanent part of the reader's experience ..." -- Geoffrey Grigson, Country Life, October 26, 1967
"An astonishingly generous and liberating book ... strikingly appropriate for our time and situation ... a jewel flung in the market-place." -- Sunday Times
"Beautifully translated . . equips men and women to make good use of their lives." -- Professor James Kritzeck, The Nation
"For every decade we live, we will find another meaning in each story." -- Desmond Morris, BBC - The World of Books
As the urgency of our global situation becomes apparent, more and more readers are turning to the books of Idries Shah (1924-1996) as a way to train new capacities and new ways of thinking. Shah has been described as "the most significant worker adapting classical spiritual thought to the modern world."
Shah was educated in both the East and West, by private tutors and through wide-ranging travel and personal encounters - the series of journeys which characterize Sufi education and development. In keeping with Sufi tradition, his life was essentially one of service. His knowledge and interests appeared limitless, and his activities and accomplishments took place in many different countries and in numerous fields of endeavor.
Shah was Director of Studies of the Institute for Cultural Research, an educational organization sponsoring interdisciplinary and crosscultural studies of human thought; a founding member of the Club of Rome; a Governor of the Royal Humane Society and the Royal Hospital and Home for Incurables; and the founder of publishing house Octagon Press.
Shah's landmark book, "The Sufis", invited readers to approach Sufi ideas and test them out. The evident and common sense made it clear that here was a sane, authoritative voice in the wilderness of the gobbledegookish mysticism of the sixties. The lively, contemporary books on traditional psychologies, literature, philosophy and Sufi thought that followed established a broad historical and cultural context for Sufi thought and action. These have so far sold over 15 million copies in 12 languages worldwide and have been awarded many prizes. They have been reviewed by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Times, The Tribune, The Telegraph, and numerous other international journals and newspapers.
University and college courses throughout the world are employing Shah's books, or works based on them, in a wide variety of disciplines including sociology, psychology and literature.
In 1969, Idries Shah was awarded the Dictionary of International Biography's Certificate of Merit for Distinguished Service to Human Thought. Other honors included a Two Thousand Men of Achievement award (1971), Six First Prizes awarded by the UNESCO International Book Year (1972), and the International Who's Who in Poetry's Gold Medal for Poetry (1975).
According to his obituary in the London Daily Telegraph "it is impossible to assess his influence, and his legacy is incalculable".
He was, it is said, the Sufi Teacher of the Age.
"The most interesting books in the English language." Saturday Review
"A major psychological and cultural event of our time." Psychology Today
"One is immediately forced to use one's mind in a new way." New York Times
The instrumental function of Shah's work is now well established among people from all walks of life. Stockbrokers, scientists, lawyers, managers, writers, physicians, and diplomats have found Shah's literature for human development "extraordinary".
"It presents a blueprint of the human mental structure." Robert Ornstein, Ph.D.
"Extremely useful in teaching students about management and computers." Thomas Malone, MIT
"Idries Shah provides the unique perspective that allows us to assess real motivations and social biases in a more accurate light." E. Neilsen, Attorney at Law