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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
A beautiful collection of "Teaching-Stories of the Sufi Masters over the Past Thousand Years." This book is a gift, for its wonderfully-told tales, for its wit and wisdom. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Kevan
simple stories and fables in simple languages giving deeper insights.Published 6 months ago by ABHISHEK SHARMA
I liked the tales - some of them more than the others. They have interesting philosophical meanings and you'll like to re-read the stories after some time to better understand... Read morePublished 18 months ago by traveler
I like this book because it presents the teaching in a way that causes you to think about it indirectly. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Cheryl A. Stephison
Idries Shah is a master teacher and these books, all of them, are invaluable if you have had moments of "wakefulness" and wish to prolong those moments...Published on January 30, 2013 by Marianne Bindig
If you're not wondering what would happen if you gave away your possessions to the poor after reading this book, you should give this book to someone. Read morePublished on December 27, 2012 by Douglas Bass
This reading experience actually etches new circuits in the reader's brain, springing him/her from the ruts that have arrested further understanding about just about everything. Read morePublished on December 12, 2012 by Amazon Customer